Hellboy star David Harbour on undergoing physical transformation for the role, and working with Ian McShane
The new Hellboy movie, set to release on 12 April, will see Stranger Things star David Harbour takeover from Ron Perlman as the titular character. Neil Marshall’s film will follow Hellboy as he battles with a medieval evil wizard who is hell-bent on destroying humankind. Milla Jovovich will star as the Blood Queen and Ian McShane as Professor Broom - the scientist who adopts the titular demon child.
Here are excerpts from an interview with David Harbour.
It seems you had to dive deep into the plot to nail the character. Tell us more about the experience playing the impetuous Hellboy.
“I talked a lot with Mike (Mignola, creator of Hellboy) about what all the things in this belt he wears are. Mike said that, as a paranormal detective, he’s going to have to fight all kinds of creatures, vampires, witches. So, he carries stuff like garlic and silver bullets. But in a way, he really doesn’t know what he’s doing. He might throw a bunch of garlic on somebody and then realise, ‘Well, that didn’t work.’ But he shows up and goes in, pretty much figuring he’ll just have to knock somebody out. He just goes for what works at that moment.”
How was the experience working with your co-star Ian McShane?
"He’s just an incredible actor. He is someone I have admired my whole life and so to be able to work with him in this movie and have scenes with him is overwhelming. I sort of pinched myself. I was like, ‘I can’t believe it’. When he signed on to do this, I was so excited.”
How did you manage to get into Hellboy’s look and the bodysuit every day of the shoot?
“I would show up clean-shaven, put on a special tank top and go into makeup, they would put a bit of lotion on my face, a bald cap over my hair, glue it down and then apply the ears. After that, I would put in my headphones, lie back and listen to music. It was the weirdest part of the process, my arms were covered in K-Y Jelly, and I was slided into this complete suit that zipped up the back. I just ended up walking around with a red hand (laughs). Looking like, I don’t know, David Bowie, or someone who’d been in an accident.”
How did you prepare for the physical demands of the role?
“I couldn’t really slim down much, I still had to eat a lot, because the prosthetics were fitted to my shape at the time. But I did get a lot stronger and a lot more limber and more powerful. Once I showed up though, I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is beyond what I thought I would have to do!’”
Tell us about your experience working with the veteran stunt coordinator Markos Rounthwaite?
“Stunts are not my favourite thing to do, I don’t have a lot of machismo about it. If the stunt guy can do it and the camera is not too close on his face, I would rather let him do it because I think he does it better than me. People have jobs because they do those things better, so I’m very happy when the stunt people can step in. Also, one of the qualities I like about Hellboy is that he’s kind of messy as a character; he is kind of a brawler, not really a trained martial artist.”
Updated Date: Apr 09, 2019 12:47:13 IST
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