Hellboy Interview Doug Jones August 18, 2008 Doug Jones certainly earns his money in Hellboy II, playing three different characters. Read the first of our Hellboy interviews here Many have called Doug Jones the muse of Guillermo Del Toro. The cult director certainly is a fan of the actor and has used him in four of his movies so far. In the latest Hellboy movie – ‘The Golden Army’ Del Toro has called upon Jones to play three different characters, each wildly different from the other. Here Jones plays Abe, The Chamberlain and The Angel Of Death. How did he juggle three roles in a summer blockbuster? Read on… Q: You’ve worked with director Guillermo four times now. What’s the secret to why the two of you work so well together? I don’t live at his house and cook his breakfast for him which many people think now (laughs). But we have a director/actor language with each other that requires very few words. I understand his crazy, insane mind and he understands my capabilities and my limitations as an actor more than I do. When he was doing Pan’s Labyrinth and doing his sketches of Fauno and Pale Man he had me in mind, period. He called me up to say ‘No-one can do them but you. You have to do this movie. Read the script and tell me what you think but you have to do it. When he told me no one could do it but me that was extremely intimidating. That’s because I feel nothing but my shortcomings and limitations. I’m very insecure, as most actors are. He sees potential in me and he really knows what I’m capable of. By the end of filming, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I think he was right!’ I was terrified of the Spanish in that one as well. He gets me. I love the way he writes. He touches on heart nerves and he also touches on laughter, soul, and our funny bone so much. His story telling is flawless to me. He is truly a genius and when a genius has an idea of what he wants you don’t question it. You just say ‘Yes, sir.’ Q: You play three characters – Abe, The Chamberlain and The Angel of Death in the Hellboy sequel. How was that? Well, I’ll tell you two things. One, I have never been as depleted, exhausted and spent and missing a piece of my soul as I was after doing this film and two, I’ve never been as fulfilled and satisfied as an actor. Being able to reprise a role in a sequel is something I’ve never done before. I’ve been in sequels, but as a new character. It was a treat to get back with the family with Guillermo del Toro, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Ron Perlman. Guillermo is like the dad of the family. If he asked me to jump off a cliff backwards I would do that, knowing it was going to be something which was going to look beautiful and become art on film. Q: What did you think when you heard you had to play three characters this time around? When I read the script the first time and saw how expanded and beautiful Abe was on almost every page of the script and then, wait, two more characters as well? I thought I am not going to sleep much am I? That’s why I came home more exhausted than ever before. I was very, very tired. I had fewer days off than anyone else in the cast. I did actually work more days in make-up than anyone else because I had three characters to do. When Abe Sapien had a day off, the Angel of Death didn’t, when the Angel of Death had a day off Chamberlain didn’t. That was the part that was a little bit testing on my person, but I got to play three delicious characters. Q: What was it like to play Abe again? Abe Sapien is beautiful. It is been amazing to grow with him in this movie and see so many different levels of personality come out now. We saw some more badass Abe. He was holding a weapon and smashing tooth fairies in his hands and at the same time, having more buddy buddy on screen time with Hellboy. He had more brother sister time with Liz and that for me too was a treat. Q: How tough is the schedule when you’re playing three different characters? Of the 128-day film shoot, I was in make-up 108 of those days. On the first Hellboy I was in make-up 17 days so this was a league beyond what I’d ever done before. I’ve done a lot of movies in a lot of make-up in costumes, but this was six days a week, 18 hours a day. Q: What was it like being in the costumes and prosthetics? While the smell of glue was going up my nose I kept wondering ‘How many brain cells am I killing here? I’m proud of myself for living through it (laughs). Q: How long did it take to physically transform into Abe? There are different stages of becoming Abe. It depends on how much blue fish is covered up. The more of him that’s showing, the longer it’s going to take. In the first movie, it took seven hours because I had a bunch of prosthetic pieces that were glued to me – it was seven hours with three people doing it. This time, we got it down to five hours. It’s nothing (laughs). This time, though I could slip on the legs instead of having prosthetic pieces glued. Q: And how long does it take to remove all the make-up and costume pieces? Usually it would be anywhere between one to two hours with four people on all limbs trying to get me out of there as fast as they could. Q: Do you prefer doing work with prosthetics or without? I don’t have a preference to be honest with you. If you had asked me that a couple of years ago I might have said that I would love to phase out the prosthetic make-up one day and retire using this face. Now though, with recent successes, I’m feeling like I can bring some dignity to this style of acting that came from the golden era, like Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney – if we can have that kind of a world to act in then I will wear rubber on my face until the day I die. Hellboy II : The Golden Army is at Irish cinemas this week!