I caught up with one of my favorite people, actor Doug Jones, a couple of weeks ago to talk with him about his upcoming DVD movie, the remake of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. [Photo of Doug and me by John Zander.]
Look for that very lengthy interview to be posted here soon (along with some insights from the fanciful film's director and producer), but in the meantime I know the Hellboy fans will want to read the following:
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: Don't you start shooting Hellboy 2 pretty soon?
Doug Jones: I start shooting Hellboy 2, I'm leaving in mid-May so I'm going to miss all the premiere hoopla for Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Staci: So I won't get to see any of your special gymnastics on the red carpet?
Doug Jones: Not this time, sweetie. At the Hellboy 2 premiere we're going to have some fun, okay? August the 8th.
Staci: You use your speaking voice this time in the movie, right?
Doug Jones: I'm very excited about this, yes.
Staci: Me, too!
Doug Jones: Awww …thank you for saying so. I love David Hyde Pierce for [doing] the first go 'round and I love him even more because of the gentlemanly thing that he did for me in keeping the character a 'Doug Jones thing' and he didn't need to do that. But out of just the goodness of his heart, he wanted that character to be mine so he declined taking the credit in the film, he declined doing any interviews or any press or didn't show up at the premiere, and kind of just had a great low profile about that.
I still haven't met him. I want to one day so I can tell him and kiss him on the cheek and tell him I love him, but that was very, very sweet and kind of him to do. I kind of had a hankering that he was doing it for my benefit and sure enough, he was quoted as saying, "That was Doug's character and he wanted to leave it that way". So sweet, and when he was offered the voice of Abe Sapien for the animated features that we just finished, he politely declined. So, it's because of that declining, that they gave it to me.
My friend Ron Pearlman was one voice who said, "You know, what Doug did on the film was… he and David are virtually the same person, so I don't know why they just didn't have him". That's when Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola and Tad Stone and everybody was like, "You know what, let's get Doug". So it was a nice turn of events to have the voice come back to me after I had done him on set for the first movie. And again; I loved him [in the movie], but no one wants to see half their performance taken away.
Staci: You're right. I think that would be really weird because in Hellboy obviously you're in makeup and prosthetics, you're underwater in a tank and everything — but imagine like how Andie McDowell felt in Tarzan with Glen Close's voice, because that is not, you know, a character- or comic-type performance where it might flow more easily for the actor… that had to hurt, she seeing herself but with another actor's voice.
Doug Jones: And Andie has a lovely voice. She has a very unique sound, so celebrate it. I think celebrate the differences, don't try to cover it up like, "Oh she has a southern twang, we can't have that". Bring it on. So I am very happy to have a voice now in the franchise and to have the character in his entirety back in my arms. Because the characters that I play become babies to me. They're babies I want to take care of and coddle them, and so I do I feel like Abe is back in my arms entirely and that really makes me feel good.
Staci: And Abe's going to have a little bit more of a story?
Doug Jones: He's got more story-line. Yeah he's got more to do in this film. I'm very excited. I read the script and it was jut like goose bumping and tearing of the eye… it's a great character. He has a love interest for the first time in his entire life.
Staci: How nice. Does she have fins or not?
Doug Jones: I'm going to say she's not exactly 100% human, right, because that probably wouldn't do for Abe. But yeah, what I love again about Del Toro films is that he often and always touches on the human experience and often times the young human experience; childhood, adolescence. Hellboy is an adolescent character isn't he? He's a big lumbering teenager and even though he's got an older soul and is wiser and very intelligent and clairvoyant, there are certain parts of life he hasn't experienced yet.
He's never been in love before, and now in this film here he gets to experience like the little crush, a little something going on and does that affect his decision making, does that affect his contribution to the team? We'll have a look and see because you know when you're an adolescent in love for the first time, your decision-making ability is altered a tad.
Staci: Hmm…So what does a woman have to do to attract Abe Sapian?
Doug Jones: I think it's got to be because he's been alive for a long, long time and he's seen lots of female beings over his lifetime. But I think it takes someone with a certain special… uhhh… hummm…Of course, a physical beauty that's unmatched and a beauty all of her own, not in the classic sense perhaps and also perhaps it would take a bit of tragedy on her part that he can help her somehow. I think that there is a… you might see a little bit more of the hero in Abe come out when dealing with his love.
Staci: And then working with Guillermo again, I mean, isn't it a dream come true for an actor because he's such a nice, giving, kind and very intelligent person. What's it like day to day on set with him? Does he ever have a fit or…? You know…I can't imagine… He seems so evolved!
Doug Jones: He gets frustrated like anybody does, but I've never seen him irrational and take it out on the wrong party. He never lets his anger or frustrations go to the wrong place. And his relationship to his actors always stays very pure and very creative and artistic and he never wants to bother us with business matters or with if he's having a problem with is producer that day or a studio head that day, it never trickles down to us. And I do love and adore him for that because that's not our job. We're creative and not supposed to worry about all that and neither should he to be honest but at the helm of a ship like that, he has to working with it unfortunately.
Staci: So, where are you guys are shooting?
Doug Jones: Budapest, Hungry.
Doug Jones: Far, far from home. It will be roughly 5 to 6 months.
Staci: Oh, that's not fun, is it?
Doug Jones: I don't know. I've never been to Budapest before, so we'll see how it goes. The Mrs. will be coming over a couple times. They've given a couple of tickets for her to travel back and forth, so I am happy.
= = =
We're happy, too. Can't wait for another Hellboy movie!
Stay tuned for much more from Doug on playing the sinister somnambulist Cesare in David Lee Fisher's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, coming to DVD on June 5, 2007.