After garnering rave reviews (and two Emmy nominations!) for playing Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, David Harbour hoped to achieve similar success on the big screen in 2019, when he appeared as the title character in Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot. Sadly, the movie didn’t meet Harbour’s expectations…or anyone else’s, for that matter. The film was torn apart by critics and fans, with many comparing it unfavorably to Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy films with Ron Perlman as the demonic superhero. The negative reception, combined with a paltry worldwide gross of just $55.1 million, made Harbour’s movie a flop in the purest sense of the word. Faced with a personal crisis, Harbour turned to someone who had been in his situation before.
Harbour briefly discussed the fallout from Hellboy in a recent interview with GQ. But surprisingly, he also shared that he reached out to Ryan Reynolds for advice on how to handle things. Reynolds, of course, starred in not one, not two, but three — don’t forget Blade: Trinity — subpar superhero movies before eventually hitting his stride with Deadpool. So if anyone could lift Harbour’s spirits, it was probably him.
“I know [Reynolds] a little bit,” said Harbour. “I called him and I was like, ‘Hey man, I just need to know something. You know Green Lantern? Huge flop for you. What the f**k is that like, because I think I’m going to hit that right now. Am I gonna be okay? Am I gonna survive this?”
Fortunately, Harbour says that Reynolds was “sweet” during their call. But it sounds like he still wishes that Hellboy could have been a better film.
“It was a very difficult experience because I wanted a lot out of it,” added Harbour. “I really like [Hellboy creator Mike Mignola], I like that character. And then immediately when it began, even when it was announced, I realized that people did not want that character reinvented. I was very naive and optimistic about what we were going to do.”
Needless to say, Hellboy didn’t cause any lasting damage to Harbour’s career. He even joked about the reboot’s shortcomings while hosting a 2019 episode of Saturday Night Live. And in 2021, he dipped another toe into superhero waters when he played Red Guardian in Marvel’s Black Widow, which earned much stronger reviews.
Do you think Harbour’s turn as Hellboy gets a bad rap? Are you happy that Reynolds was able to cheer him up? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Hellboy Universe: The Secret Histories
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