Hellboy Interview Ron Perlman

With Hellboy 2 out on this DVD this weekend, we talk to the man himself: Ron Perlman!

They first worked side-by-side on ‘Cronos’, ‘Blade II’ and again in 2004 on ‘Hellboy’. And now, this weekend, Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman re-team for the fourth adventure on Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, out on DVD this weekend. With bigger muscles, badder weapons and even more ungodly villains, Perlman returns to the role of the cigar-smokin’, kitten-lovin’ anti hero Hellboy, who continues to save the world in his own nonchalant way.


Here, Ron fills us in on what it’s like to play the  rough and tough superhero with a heart, Hellboy.


Q: How was it coming back for the second time?

It was a total groove, man. The fact that the first experiment worked on a comic book character that was even a secret to comic book aficionados and with a cast that didn’t include anybody but fringe, independent, low-budget actors was pretty cool and then, to be asked back for a curtain call? It feels triumphant.

Q: Why does the kitten-loving superhero with anger management issues hold such appeal for you?

There are tons of characters I want to play, but none more so than Hellboy. You can’t tire me out when it comes to his evil deliciousness. Plus I get to work with Guillermo del Toro who is one of the most brilliant men in film today.


Q: What do you think it is that separates Hellboy from all of the other comic book based movies?

I think partially it’s Hellboy’s lack of earnestness. He’s a complete underachiever who takes very little seriously. Even when he’s in the middle of a life-threatening situation, he’s still not serious. He’s trash talking and wisecracking because he just doesn’t care that much. He doesn’t care about the stuff people tell him he needs to.

Q: You’ve worked with Guillermo del Toro in four films now. What is the reason the two of you work so well together?

It’s always great. I’m sure there are people who might think they are bigger fans of Guillermo than me, but I don’t think so. I’m a huge fan of his. He appreciates the approach I take to stuff too so there is mutual affection for one another’s process. In Hellboy II, this was the most specifically he ever directed me because he had some very idiosyncratic, kinky way that he wanted this material regarded. I hadn’t thought of it that way and nor would I have thought of it like that in a million years. But Guillermo does and therein lies his brilliance. We both have such an enthusiasm for Hellboy and when we work together, we’re like two ingredients that work well in a salad.


Q: You’ve said in the past that you relate Hellboy in many ways. What similarities do you share with him?

I’m a slob. I’m pretty self indulgent, a hedonist and I’m pretty undisciplined. I like to mix it up with the guys and I like a little trash talk now and again. I’m pretty cynical too. I’ve got that New York thing happening because that’s where I grew up. Maybe that’s where the similarities end, but that’s plenty (laughs). That’s a good foundation to build off.

Q: How physically exhausting is it to play Hellboy?

This was physically very hard for me. It was six months, six day weeks, averaging 17 to 19 hour days. It was a challenge, which went to all of our cores, but for some reason at this point in time when it’s all done and we’re riding in limousines to premieres, all of it has melted away. I only remember the good stuff now.

Q: How long does it take for you to be transformed with make-up and costume?

Not that long and in no way shape or form is it burdensome. I regard it as being adorned and for me; it’s an honorable transformation out of which comes the better self. By the time I finish up lacing up that last shoe and I’m walking onto the set, there’s a power that comes with having all that paraphernalia in place. You feel invulnerable.


Q: You sound like you genuinely enjoy the process. What’s your secret?

Well, the reason it works for me is there is nothing I enjoy doing more than sitting around doing nothing and that’s what you have to do when your make-up is being applied. When I’m doing nothing, that’s when I’m happiest. That’s why Hellboy and I are so intertwined – lazy, underachievers (laughs). Nobody bothers me when they’re putting the make-up on me and I like that.

Q: If there is a Hellboy III, what do you hope happens?

I hope I’m able to walk (laughs). Guillermo is supposed to be going off now until the year 2013 to do The Hobbit and if you do the math and you know how old I am, it’s a real concern as to whether I’m going to have to do the whole thing from a chair or even an iron lung. We’ll see. But as long as Guillermo is making Hellboy movies, I’ll be there.

Hellboy II : The Golden Army is released on DVD in Ireland on December 5th 2008.