Nobody is better at playing bizarre creatures of the imagination than Doug Jones, who's probably Guillermo del Toro's most frequent collaborator. We asked Jones the secret of bringing creatures to life, and whether we'll ever see Hellboy's Abe Sapien again.
We asked Jones the secret to playing a memorable non-human, and whether this was different for a hero character versus a monster or an evil character. He responds:
Acting is acting. That means that you take on the character — his wants, his needs, his loves, his desires, his fears. And if it's an evil character, those people have the same issues in life that normal good people have. They don't know they're evil. They don't wake up in the morning and do this every day. [makes mustache twirling motion] 'How can I be evil today?' They wake up with their own issues. But they're skewed, not realizing that their objectives can be evil. So I take on a sympathetic look at any character I play, and if he's evil, I don't want to know that I'm evil.
Some characters may try to put up a scary front in order to scare people off, but Jones says that if you overplay that, it can quickly turn cartoony. We also asked if getting made up for a particular creature helped him get in character, and he said that sitting in the makeup chair definitely gives him the feeling that "I'm becoming something very different right now. It does help you find the heart and soul of the character." But finding the heart and soul of the character also "helps you push through all that rubber makeup."
Here are some of the other things we discussed with Jones:
On Guillermo del Toro:
Jones tells us, "I would be in anything [Guillermo del Toro] ever made. And he's said, bless his heart, he's said before that if he makes a hemorrhoid commercial, Doug Jones will be in it." We ventured the opinion that a hemorrhoid commercial directed by del Toro would be epic, and he agreed: "A hemorrhoid commercial directed by Guillermo del Toro? That would be epic."
Guillermo del Toro announced at SDCC that his next film project is The Haunted Mansion for Disney, so his Frankenstein film will have to wait until after that. There's no timetable for when Frankenstein will actually happen, but del Toro has told reporters in the past that Jones would be his monster. "That would be the pinnacle of my career," says Jones. "That would be a dream come true."
Even if recent reports are accurate, and Hellboy 3 isn't ever happening, Jones says that doesn't mean other projects in the Hellboy universe couldn't take off. He points to the success of spin-off comics like BPRD and Abe Sapien - and hints that his character could have a solo film at some point. "My character could stay alive even if the rest of the team doesn't. There are options. And I think that those options are being discussed, but I have not been a part of that discussion." His main hope is still for Hellboy 3 to happen, with everybody coming back, but if that proves impossible, he'd love to continue playing Abe Sapien in some other property.
On Universal Dead:
He says the feature film version of the webseries he's been appearing in should start filming by early next year. "The webseries is kind of a teaser for what should be a feature film," he says. "So that's what it was always meant to be."
On being a Gay Robot:
Jones also says he'll be appearing in seven episodes of the new Comedy Central sketch comedy show Nick Swardson's Pretend Time as a character named Gay Robot, and that starts airing in October.