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Hellboy’s Doug Jones

Jones on The Hobbit, Silver Surfer and playing Abe Sapien

Hellboy's Doug Jones

At last year’s Saturn Awards, Doug Jones accepted on behalf of Guillermo del Toro for Pan’s Labyrinth. This year, del Toro was there himself, so Jones just presented in a DVD category. With all the Hobbit talk going around, it was a natural starting point for del Toro’s regular go-to creature guy.

Crave Online: You’ve read the book, what do you think you could play in The Hobbit?

Doug Jones: I don’t think I can speculate that. There are a couple of choice elf roles that I would lean toward but he’s got more ideas of what I can do than I do. He knows my potential better than I do so I really have to trust Guillermo’s artistic vision always first, before my own.

Crave Online: But at least you know he has something in mind for you?

Doug Jones: I will quote Guillermo del Toro, and that is, nothing official to report yet exactly on what role that is or what he might have for me, but he said, "If I direct a hemorrhoid commercial, Doug Jones will be in it." So I think that’s a wink wink, nudge nudge that there is something for me in The Hobbit but I don’t know what yet.

Crave Online: Are you looking forward to going to New Zealand?

Doug Jones: I’ve been to Wellington, New Zealand, the home of Weta. I was down there for a comic book convention oddly enough last year and absolutely fell in love with the place. The people are delightful. The landscape is gorgeous. So to go back there for a while, oh no, this is like I want to go, I want to go.

Crave Online: Is there going to be another Silver Surfer?

Doug Jones: That’s the question of the day. I can tell you that I’m contracted for three pictures and I’ve got two more to go, so they have the option to use me two more times if they so choose. A script has been written by J. Michael Straczynski but that was over a year ago and it sits at the studio right now, so I’m not sure what happens from here, honestly.

Crave Online: Isn’t that a call you’d get after opening weekend?

Doug Jones: Yeah, and that’s when the call happened. That’s when they got J. Michael Straczynski on board and they started having him write when Rise of the Silver Surfer did well at the box office. I think that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer did just less than the first Fantastic Four at the box office though.

Crave Online: Yes, only $50 million this time.

Doug Jones: Yeah, I know, but that might be what makes them a tad leery doing a standalone film for the Surfer maybe.

Crave Online: Could it be some of the issues with the voice?

Doug Jones: I don’t think that would hold them up. I don’t think the studio would be held up over a voice issue at all.

Crave Online: Would you be held up? Would you agree to do it with someone else’s voice?

Doug Jones: I already have. I’ve agreed to whatever terms the studio decides. I would love to have the voice of the Surfer back again. I would love for the fans to hear the voice that I lent to the Surfer the first time around which I was very happy with. And I’m not always happy with my performing.

Crave Online: How about a special DVD where we can choose?

Doug Jones: Well, that would be nice but then what happens if… No, they’ll never release that I don’t think.

Crave Online: Have you read that script?

Doug Jones: I have not read the script yet, no.

Crave Online: Do you want to do another one?

Doug Jones: I’m hopeful that he comes back because he’s a character that I just adore. I loved crawling into his skin and inding his heart and soul. I would love to do that again and explore him more. Whether or not we get the chance to do that is up to 20th Century Fox, so write in and say, "Hey, we want to see more surfer."

Crave Online: What did Guillermo push you to do in Hellboy II?

Doug Jones: Oh my gosh, he made a blue fishman mutant a leading romantic male and that’s something I never thought possible. He pushed me also when I did Pan’s Labyrinth. I didn’t know that I could spit out reams of Spanish dialogue in a language I don’t speak while wearing a five hour makeup and costume with jimmied up legs and clumping around on stilts. I didn’t know I could pull that off and he said that nobody else could do it but me and that’s something I did not know for myself.

Crave Online: Are we talking full frontal Abe here?

Doug Jones: It’s not R. The romance is very innocent. It’s like you have two very innocent lost souls finding each other, Abe Sapien and Princess Nuala who is the twin sister of our nemesis, Prince Nuata. She, my love interest, is played by Anna Walton, beautiful actress who is so good, I called her like Cate Blanchett good. The fanboys will fall in love with her and the fangirls will swoon over this entire relationship. I think it’s really going to be a nice addition to the film.

Crave Online: What’s Abe’s pickup line?

Doug Jones: His pickup line is denying that he’s been following her. She’s like, "Why are you following me?" "I wasn’t." So there you go.

Crave Online: Is she del Toro-esque too?

Doug Jones: Wow, we were all del Toro-esque creatures in this. Even the humans are. The thing about del Toro-esque creatures are that no matter how bizarre we look, we all are dealing with very human issues that any human being can relate to and she does represent very much a young woman who has a family that’s falling apart and she needs to run away and find exile somewhere. That’s a story that a lot of young women can relate to, so yes.

Crave Online: Do you get to be an action hero too?

Doug Jones: I get to carry a weapon and I fight bad guys. I got buddy buddy brother time with Hellboy. I’ve got brother sister time with Liz Sherman played by Selma, so there’s a lot going on and there’s a lot of funny. There’s a lot of humor in this movie too. Guillermo wrote a very funny script and he let us play so I think whatever he cuts together always turns into some beautiful sculpture.
Crave Online: Guillermo got his lifetime achievement award tonight. What can you say about him?

Doug Jones: Guillermo is unlike any director I’ve ever worked with. When he writes and directs a piece, you know it’s going to become a beautiful work of art. I can tell you, when I read the Pan’s Labyrinth script knowing that he wrote it, it brought a tear to my eye and I knew that under his direction it would be exactly what I envisioned and it became even more than that. With Guillermo del Toro, I feel that I’m in the best hands possible. And when you’re doing extreme characters like I do, you need to be doing them in a safe place. And Guillermo creates a playground that is very, very safe for me. It’s got padded edges but there’s a lot of toys in the middle that can hurt you but the edges are padded. He’s very careful with us. As a director, he knows more about the actors than we ourselves do so he pushes us, pushes our limits and he knows our capabilities and our limitations more than we do and directs each of us very individually that way. So I love him dearly.

Crave Online: Has he talked to you about a third in the Devil’s Backbone/Pan’s Labyrinth trilogy?

Doug Jones: He hasn’t talked to me about it yet but again, if it’s a hemorrhoid commercial.. So yeah, I don’t know. He pretty much keeps information to himself until it’s necessary to share it with me. So I don’t know what he has in mind for me always but I can expect an e-mail or phone call that says, "Doug, read a script by 11 o’clock tonight" which has happened before. I’ve dropped everything and went, "Okay, okay, love it, as usual, thank you." That’s what’ll happen.

Crave Online: What else do you have coming up?

Doug Jones: I have been the cameo kid this year. Honestly, I did a cameo in a movie called Quarantine, a Sony Picture Screen Gems release that’s coming in October, theaters near you. I’m kind of at the end and I’m kind of like, "Oh, it’s him. Oh yeah, yeah." That’s all I’m going to say.

Crave Online: Not in a costume?

Doug Jones: Well, there was some makeup involved but I’m human. I also did a cameo in Super Capers, a superhero spoof movie. I played a knockoff of Agent Smith from The Matrix if you can picture this. I had a ball crawling into that one. And I just did a cameo in an epic end of the world apocalyptic story called Legion with Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany and Tyrese Gibson. I did a cameo in that as the ice cream man. It’s an ice cream man that’s kind of like a clown with a knife in his hand. What a happy thought that is but wait and watch. Then I’m really happy to report that I just finished an episode of the new show on NBC called Fear Itself if you’ve seen that at all. What a fun show this is. My episode was directed by Larry Fessenden who directed Wendigo and a litany of other films. He’s a wonderful director, good friend of Guillermo del Toro’s as well and he came looking for me to play this role because the title of this episode is called Skin and Bones. Can you see it? Can you see it? I don’t know why they came looking for me. So I have that to look forward to airing sometime in late August we’re guessing at the moment.

Crave Online: What’s the episode about?

Doug Jones: I play a wealthy ranch owner who has been missing for 10 days in the mountains on a horse run. He, at the top of the show, returns home 60 pounds lighter than when he left and possessed with something of a spirit from the mountains. We’re not sure what it is but oh my gosh, it turns into The Shining. But by the end of the show, you’ll not only be afraid of me but you’ll also be sympathetic towards me because it was such a well written script and a character that’s really, oh, it was so delicious to play. But it’s a human being.

Crave Online: But when you’re a human being, you seem to be the bad guy.

Doug Jones: Well, here’s what I found out a long time ago and what I discovered. If you’re not Matt Damon or Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise, which this is not, you have to be scary or funny. That’s just kind of one of the rules of Hollywood I think. So I’ve had a career of scary and funny. That’s kind of how it’s worked out.

Crave Online: Will there be any more Hellboy animated movies?

Doug Jones: I believe so. I think there was a third animated film that just Ron did. Selma and I were not involved because it’s Hellboy going on his own adventure. Hopefully they keep selling and hopefully they keep making more. That was really fun to do the first two so hopefully we’ll get to do more of that. The Hellboy video game just came out too, I just saw finally, The Science of Evil. I voiced Abe Sapien in that.

Crave Online: Will you be at Comic Con to show any of this?

Doug Jones: Well, during Comic Con this summer, I’m going to be back in Indiana filming an independent film in which I play a human being again. It’s crazy. It’s the year for crazy. In that I’m going to be playing the role of Jerry in a movie called My Name is Jerry. I’m a middle aged white guy going through some coming of middle age crises and I kind of try to reinvent myself as a punk kid once I get acquainted with that culture. So there’s some funny there.

Crave Online: Is it weird for you to miss Comic Con?

Doug Jones: I can’t tell you how much I miss it. Comic Con this year especially because Hellboy II will have just come out and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of excitement over that movie, I hope, I hope. Please go see it and get excited about it. The other thing is the Super Capers movie I told you about, they’re going to be doing a panel discussion down there. I also have a little webisode called Sock Baby Part IV that will be having a little premiere and panel discussion down there. In Sock Baby Part IV, the whole world of the internet is new to me. I don’t get the worldwide web exactly but this webisode, it’s number four of a series of silly, silly, short vignette things. In this one, I’m doing a cameo as myself. I play Doug Jones in it and also in it is Jon Heder and his twin brother Dan Heder. So I had a romping good time with this. So that’s going to be down at Comic Con. I think there’s more. I voiced a character for an animated thing called Quantum Quest that’ll be showing in Imax theaters and they’re doing a little promo for that down there. So I have a lot going on at Comic Con this year that I have to miss unfortunately. It does pain me in my soul. I’ll tell you about the comic book convention world I love the most though honestly is that the fans turn out and for me to be able to get close enough to the people who buy what we do, who buy tickets to what we do, who tune into our shows on the TV, that really means the world to me, to be able to reach out and touch them and go, "I love you, thank you so much for all the years of watching and supporting us." Without them, I don’t have a job.