Actor Luke Goss has established himself well in the world of genre films, after playing the mutant vampire Jared Nomak in Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II over five years ago and appearing in a series of independent horror films since then. He continues his run of comic book movies by reteaming with Del Toro to play the role of Prince Nuada, the main antagonist in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the prince of the elves who comes to the surface in order to recover one third of a crown that will bring back the Golden Army, something that puts him into conflict with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. Superhero Hype! sat down with the actor at a fancy restaurant in Budapest where we spoke to Goss and the Prince’s twin sister and better half Princess Nuala AKA Anna Walton. (You can read our interview with her here.)
Superhero Hype!: You worked with Guillermo before. Did he come to you directly for this role?
Luke Goss: He did actually. It was one of those “I wish” situations and it bizarrely happened. I didn’t personally get a call, my management didâ€¦ from Jeremy in London, the casting guy, who said, “Look, we have a script for Luke from Guillermo, the ‘Hellboy’ script, and he wants to know what Luke thinks of this script.” Which is ridiculous becauseâ€¦ “I don’t like it Guillermo, I’m sorry.” (laughter) Give me a break. So I read it and we had some back and forths and then I hadn’t heard from Guillermo for maybe three months, four months, maybe more even, then I was in my car in L.A., expecting to get a phone call telling me that he was going to call me at some point. He calls me, and goes “Hey!” and I’m like “I know who this is”, and he’s like, “Motherf*cker!” So that was his first piece of grammar I’d heard from him in three months. I was like, “Fantastic!” and he said, “I’m glad you responded to it.” I said, “I didn’t respond to it. I was just like a kid in the candy store, like I was watching the Academy Awards crossing my fingers for you and you’re sending me a script.” It wasn’t about responding to it, it was about being like a kid and dying to have the opportunity to work with him again.
SHH!: When you got the script, did you know that the Elf Prince was the role that he was looking for you to play, or did he just send it and say, “Just tell me what you think”?
Goss: I knew it was the Elf Prince, I knew it was the nemesis. I knew that for sure.
SHH!: Can you give us some background on your character?
Goss: Yeah, this is one I have to think about without spoiling the plot. His father is the king of the Unseen Realm, as much as he’s the Elf King, he’s still the king of the Unseen Realm, and as his son and heir, I’m potentially the future king of that realm. My father has some ideas that I don’t particularly believe in, and the great thing about Guillermo’s idea of a good guy/bad guy is that I think you get a lot of that stuff for free, you get a lot of the situation takes care of who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. When you got a great actor like Ron Perlman playing Hellboy, then they already know what’s going on, they know who the good guy is. You got a father-son issue here again–without going into detail–that just gives it a great three-dimension to the story. Like everything Guillermo does, he’s not afraid to bring in sentiment and pain and family and issues to a genre media. I love it because all the purists out there that kind of poo-poo the genre movies have to get over it, because Guillermo is directing the movie, which is great, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.
SHH!: Did you see the original “Hellboy” when it came out or did you go back and watch it again after you got this role?
Goss: Yeah, I was doing a movie with Samuel Jackson and Eugene Levy in Canada and it came out, and I was up there with my wife, and we’re like two Del Toro groupies. My other manager was up there at the time, and we said, “Let’s go and see the movie” and he went and had cocoa and my wife and I just managed to catch the midnight showing in Toronto the day it came out, just because everything he doesâ€¦ he’s been responsible for a lot of opportunities I’ve had in film and as a producer and as a writer, and to be truthful with you, I owe him, and I’m a big fan of his work, and I love the fact that he in a childish genius clever modest and very confident (and every combination I can think of) way, he’s showing people that to put a film like this together, it’s not about just having a big studio behind you or a load of cash. You really have to know what you’re doing, and with “Pan’s Labyrinth,” I love the fact that I’ve now been baptized by fire as far as being a kind of genre geek, which I definitely am. I say “stylish geek” just to make myself look better, but I’m definitely a geek. I think that Guillermo has said, “Look, grow up and enjoy the medium of film, whether it has the audacity to be successful or not,” so yeah, I most definitely saw “Hellboy 1.”
SHH!: Were you familiar with the comic books at all?
Goss: I was, because of “Blade.” I mean, if I hadn’t had done “Blade,” I probably wouldn’t have been. You come up to speed real quick, and you get a genre fan come up to you and say, “Tell me, why did you do this?” And he looks at you with a blank stare, he doesn’t even blink for an hour, and you have to think really quick, because if you don’t have the response to a genre fan, they will burn you alive, I mean literally. They’ll hate you, they’ll blame you right there and then, so yeah, I read a few. Actually, what I did was the very first bunch of graphic novels that Mignola did, I used that as my reference to “Hellboy” rather than the movie. I was like, “How would I know about Hellboy?” so I said, “Okay, I’ll treat the first one like it was a story that I heard at dinner with my warrior friends and my father, and we were drinking wine, and I heard this interesting story,” so I read that as my anecdote about him. And I’m like, “I’m curious. I’d like to meet him one day.” And we do, but I thought, “How do we put something in there that’s my reference to him.” So when I do meet him, he certainly doesn’t live up to my expectations, like when I was doing the fight stuff with my stunt team, I said, “My main emotion is disappointment, it’s not arrogance.” I’m not like beating this guy. He didn’t live up to my expectations because of this story I’ve heard, so I said, “Let’s run this first encounter with disappointment opposed to arrogance and superiority” So I used that first Mignola graphic novel as my education of “Hellboy.”
SHH!: You’ll be wearing make-up again like you were in “Blade II” so is that a lot more involved this time?
Goss: No, I’m slightly working my way to my (own) face with Guillermo. (laughter) I don’t know what it is. I’m trying not to take it personally but that’s my problem. Really, the make-up this time is more to assist some scars I have. Have you seen any of the images? There’s a scar across my face here and like with a lot of scars that are not so good, they’re kind of convex out and to achieve that, you have to raise the surface of the skin slightly to create an effective scar. It’s more really to create some scarring and issues like that, and it photographs really well, rather than just taking care of this bit, Guillermo’s like “No, cover his whole face up.” And lenses and teeth, but it’s very human.
SHH!: Do you wear pointy ears?
Goss: Of course. I’ve noticed though that women love pointed ears. (laughter) Really. I definitely get a lot more “Hey” with my pointed ears than without them really, and it’s not actually a joke, it’s real.
SHH!: Are you having a good time playing evil, because the prince is pretty hardcore?
Goss: You’re right. He is hardcore, but you know what? He’s not driven by the Dr. Evil aspect of “one million dollars.” It’s issues, his people, he’s part of what he truly believes. I don’t think really he’s so deluded. I don’t not get his point of view. I really do understand the premise. If I was him for real, I think I’d probably do what he’s doing, so it’s not so much a stretch on how I can possibly play evil. It’s not “Silence of the Lambs” or serial killer. This guy is driven by an ethic that was instilled by the person he has problems (with), his father, and inevitably, that leads into the conflict with him and Hellboy. And again, like with all Guillermo del Toro movies, there’s twists that don’t fit neatly in the box of good guy and bad guy. It’s like, “Sh*t, that’s courageous.” Not really, truth is king. I just did a movie recently in the desert, which is a thriller, and there’s no difference between the process of this thriller I did there, it’s a two-man kind of story, and this. Truth is what prevails, and it’s a reflex, and Guillermo is all about reflex.
SHH!: Can you say something about the dynamic with your sister? How’s that work? Is it as simple as her being the good side to your evil?
Goss: It’s not as simple as that. For me, it’s really a great dynamic. Even as Luke considering the dynamic or the Prince considering our dynamic, I don’t get it as far as the choices, which is great, because it’s just a conflict, but there’s a dynamic there we’ve made sure as far as I admire her, revere her almost, but there is an incestuous relationship that’s not maybe overly obvious to everybody, but some people hopefully will pick up on the fact, certainly from my direction towards her. She’s the recipient most definitely of a very appreciative brother. (laughter) Cause she’s bloody gorgeous, you know? And there’s no one else, so I’m sure it’s allowed.
SHH!: Was she cast to look like you, because they’re supposed to be twins?
Goss: I would hate to say this because I wouldn’t want anybody to look like me (laughter), but I think they wanted somebody who certainly could look related for sure. Absolutely. And she’s tall. If you take me out of the equation, she’s a beautiful lady, so I don’t know how they made it work but they did.
SHH!: Have you enjoyed visiting the “Hellboy” universe?
Goss: I’ve been doing a number of things in my life. 12 years acting and the truth is it’s an evolution. You grow and you learn and you watch. To be a part of something that’s familiar as a punter, as a viewer, and to be in that world you’ve already established and think to yourself, “I know these characters, I like these characters.” And you can see it way more evolved in ways that I think are a lot smarter than the first movie. I clearly think that’s because of creative choices that an Academy-nominated director can bring, and a great studio like Universal. They know what they have, they know what they’re doing, and they’re utterly proud of it. Their presence has been great, so you know, to be a part of that world, it really isâ€¦ you’ve heard it a thousand timesâ€¦ it’s like being on a ride. You can do what you do and you don’t feel like you’re being naÃ¯ve when you have huge amounts of enthusiasm. You know it’s justified and founded for many reasons. I feel just really lucky. I’ve been here nearly seven months, six months, because I was training before.
SHH!: Training for what?
Goss: Swords and spears, fighting, things I couldn’t do before.
SHH!: Does your character actually get into hand-to-hand combat with Hellboy?
Goss: Not really. Obviously, Hellboy is a lot bigger than I am, ’cause he really is. And I think the sword or the spear is the way that I will prevailâ€¦ I can’t say much more than that without killing things. Heh.
SHH!: So you can’t say if you continue into Part 3?
Goss: No, I can’t. I can suggest it to (Guillermo). (Laughter)
SHH!: Have you done a lot of green screen stuff for the movie where they’ll be adding CG creatures in later?
Goss: That’s a great question because no, I haven’t. Like I can’t think of any movie, like ever, where the things you read on the page and you think, “Okay, that’s going to be CG”â€¦ none of it’s CG. They created it. It’s right there. I mean, my bodyguard in the movie, and my brother in arms in terms of the backstory is eight feet tallâ€¦ no more details because I’ll get a slap on the wrist. He’s right there and he moves and he’s radio-controlled. He’s fluid as a face, and just when you think you’re used to it, another thing walks on set and you’re like, “What the bloodyâ€¦?” It’s silly. Sometimes it’s so fantastic and unbelievable that you think this is amazing, but no, I haven’t done a lot of CG. There’s environments that are assisted with green screen, so we got a set that’s already the size of an arena, I mean literally, one of them. Its size, which is not fathomable is assisted by green screen. Say like “Gladiator” where the visual effect is like assisting what’s there. For me, it’s the way it should be used, as opposed to be depending on it completely, which we’re not.
SHH!: So is Doug Jones playing most of those creatures on set?
Goss: Doug’s the blue guy right? (laughter) He makes me feel like a really heinous human being. He’s so polite and nice.
SHH!: Do you find your performance has to be broader or more theatrical to fit in with the fantastical world of “Hellboy” around you?
Goss: I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of theatrics with bad guys, because I think there’s a danger there. Listen, I’m still learning. I hope what I’m achieving is a man who has beliefs. His actions are bad relative to the story, but I would imagine if I was to play a bad guy thinking I’m a bad ass, it would be really nasty. I think he has absolute resolve in his choices. I don’t know if I’m really conscious of the Hellboy environment, because if I do that then I’m still a punter. The more unaware of it you are, or the more powerful you seemâ€¦ I think if I’m jumping around like a peacock with this big thing than it’s like, “Will someone shoot this guy in the head?” If you see that this man has been surrounded by this his whole life and the other character is like, “What the f**k is this?” and I’m somewhat disdainful of him (being a) peasant, then it seems like that’s all that he knows. I think that goes with the “Hellboy” thing. Don’t get me wrong. I still really get off on it. I’m a big kid, and I’m never going to lose it for my own personal reasons in my evolution of being in different mediums of entertainment. Finding one that I feel completely at home at, I’m always going to be a little in awe of being in the film industry, I think until the day I die. I think I’m always going to be like “How did this happen? How did I manage to be this fortunate and have these kinds of opportunities?” I don’t think that’s ever going to chance. I’m really stoked about it.
SHH!: What differences have you seen between Guillermo then on “Blade” and now? Do you see any difference or is he exactly the same as he was then?
Goss: You see moments of him, where he’ll always be that big kid, and he certainly gets distracted by something that is so stupid and ridiculous. For a man that’s so bright and so capable, he’s such a big kid, and there’s things that have changed thatâ€¦ I said to him, “I guess you’re like the Clooney of directors right now.” He looked at me and he didn’t disagree. He didn’t say “no”, he didn’t say this, but he had a little smile, and I thought, “You really kicked ass” and sometimes, you can see his choices and his direction, he’s most definitely aware of his current success, and it’s not arrogance. It’s just that he’s like, “I had to put up with people underestimating me. I had to put up with people not realizing what I was capable of doing” and I’m speaking for him obviously from a perspective point of view, but I definitely see that he’s rightly so, he’s a much more confident director. Saying that, he always credits you with having an idea based on the fact that you are that guy. You are the guy or female role that is bringing to life, and because of that, you have the right to say things, and he always listens. It can be a very short conversation sometimes, but there are other times, where there’s dialogue or ideas I think I’m really challenged by and I don’t likeâ€¦ It’s a communication, which is still alive, so after his success, to have a conscious communication still, it’s a great, great environment to work in. It keeps you safe. I have to say as an actor, it keeps you safe.
SHH!: Have you had any discussions or contact with Mike Mignola on this project?
Goss: I haven’t had anything to do with him. I don’t even want to speak to the guy. (laughter) No, he was here. He was hanging out with Guillermo. The two of them are like brothers, two kids. I don’t know who appreciates the other more. They’re kids, and he was here for a couple weeks, two or three weeks and on set every dayâ€¦ and he saw me with my shirt off, and I know he loved that. (laughs) I’m just joking guys. He’ll probably like (Doing an impersonation of Mike) “Luke, did you say I liked seeing your bare chest?” (laughter)
SHH!: I know that your movie “Unearthed” finally came out as part of the After Dark Horrorfest, but you have this other vampire movie “Dead Undead,” is there any word on when that might come out and whether it might be at festivals?
Goss: I don’t know. At this stage of my career, it’s the stage where you get movies that you know all about and there’s the other side of the movie where they’re trying to get distribution, they’re trying to get it sold, they’re trying to get it finished. I have a movie “Unearthed” coming out, also “Bone Dry” is coming out. I saw a cut of “Bone Dry,” a finished locked picture of that three nights ago, because the director is here right now, he came to hang out from Texas, and I loved it. It’s with Lance Henriksen, it’s a real edgy thriller, they’re comparing it to “Dune” and movies like that, which is kind of cool. It’s a mixed bag of projects that are trying to get off the ground. There’s films that I have production involvement and back-end and you have a number of reasons why you want them to succeed, but it comes to a point where you have to try to make the best choices you can, and there’ll come a point where that clichÃ©â€¦ I think it was Anthony Hopkins or someone said, “At the beginning of your career, your roles choose you and you eventually end up choosing your roles.” So hopefully, I’m heading towards having more and more choices and more answer to thoseâ€¦ I know they’re trying to get it released.
SHH!: When you did “Blade 2,” did you do the whole Comic-Con experience?
Goss: I haven’t done that yet, and that’s like the next level of genre geeks, which I’m sure that’s my next phase.
SHH!: Guillermo rules over there.
Goss: I know. I’m going just so I can feel good about myself. I’m definitely going to go there next year. (laughter)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens on July 11.
Source: Edward Douglas