Horror Month: Interview with Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hocus Pocus….)

Horror Month – June 2015

IMG_0725We spoke with actor Doug Jones; known for his iconic and unique roles in films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Ape Sapien in the Hellboy franchise, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (as the Silver Surfer) & Hocus Pocus and many more as well as various TV roles including a recurring role in Falling Skies.

“……I find such escape in the romantic comedy, feel-good movies that I don’t get to do quite as often”


What inspired you to become an actor?

Well, I kind of look like a circus clown, as it is, so it seemed natural.  I’m only half joking.  I was indeed a goofy, tall, gangling child, so I became a class clown in school to make sure I knew why other kids were laughing at me.  I found inspiration from other goofy characters I saw on my TV, like Gomer Pyle, Gilligan, Barney Fife,  Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, anyone from the Carol Burnett Show, and anything Jerry Lewis or Danny Kaye did.  They were proof that there was a good reason to look and act goofy.

You have played many roles over the years – which have been your favourite and why?

I love all my characters, much like a father is supposed to love his children without favorites.  But the stand-outs are Billy from HOCUS POCUS, The Silver Surfer from FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, The Fawn from PAN’S LABYRINTH, my beloved alien Cochise from the last three seasons of FALLING SKIES, and perhaps the one who is most like me, who may be the favorite, Abe Sapien from the HELLBOY movies — I adore his intellect mixed with innocence when it comes to relationships and street smarts.


You have acted in many different genres which do you prefer?

Another that’s difficult to pick a favourite in, having loved all the sci-fi, superhero, and some of the horror if it’s handled with a redeeming storyline.  But for me, I find such escape in the romantic comedy, feel-good movies that I don’t get to do quite as often.  One of the more fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had was making an indie darling, MY NAME IS JERRY.  While I think the most perfect movie ever was PAN’S LABYRINTH, as it was so many genres rolled into one, including history, war, relationship drama, fantasy, horror, fairy tale, and coming of age.

You portrayed Abraham “Abe” Sapien in the Hellboy films – what was it like working with director Guillermo del Toro?

After working on 5 films and a TV series with him now, I find he’s exactly what you would expect when working with an absolute genius.  I trust his every decision and all his guidance.  Yet he’s also like hanging out with your college buddies, with his delightfully self-effacing humor, and shared fanboy love of all things creepy and crawly.

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, (aka HELLBOY 2), Doug Jones (second from left), Ron Perlman (third from left), Selma Blair (far right), 2008. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Will there be a Hellboy 3 – us fans are desperate for it ?!

Well, I’m desperate for it, too, along with my co-stars Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, and Jeffrey Tambor, as you may have seen in some recent Twitter activity.  Ron put out a call to the fans asking for them to get the hashtag #HellboyIII trending.  Selma, Jeffrey, and I all chimed in with out support, and the fans took it from there.  It was trending within the day, and has stayed active ever since.  This was simply Ron’s way of wanting to show the studio system that the fans are there and waiting to buy tickets.  But the bigger storyline expected to complete a part 3 in this trilogy sounds like it would need to be a bit more budget than the first two films, and that might be where the studios are unsure.  We can all do our part to let them know the audience is ready with that #HellboyIII hashtag in all your social media portals! And thank you all for such overwhelming support!

One of your TV roles was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of the terrifying Gentlemen (which is one of my favourite episodes) – how did you find working on the show? 


Buffy creator Joss Whedon is yet another of those genius minds who is such a thrill to work with.  The HUSH episode we did was his baby from the start, as he wrote and directed that episode, himself.  The stealing of voices I did, which rendered half the episode with no spoken dialogue, was quite a daring risk that the network was unsure of.  But Joss proved everyone wrong when the audience was riveted, leaning in to their televisions, not wanting to miss one beat of visual dialogue as we Gentlemen politely terrorized Sunnyvale.

Many of your roles have involved heavy make-up and prosthetics – do you find this challenging as an actor?

Of course, wearing a 5 hour make-up application and trying to emote through layers of latex foam is everything challenging you would think it might be.  It’s hotter than you want, sometimes heavier than you want, your senses are dulled, the days are incredibly long, but when I see the finished product, all that labor makes perfect sense as I have had the privilege to play such a wide array of characters I could never do with just my own face.

Who has been your personal favourite actor to work alongside? 

Again, hard to pick one favorite.  But my actor co-star stand-outs have been the whole HELLBOY team (Ron, Selma, Jeffrey, and my creature brother Brian Steele who played Samael and Mr. Wink in part one and two).  I also love Camden Toy, who was my right hand Gentleman partner in BUFFY, and the entire cast of FALLING SKIES, lead by the gracious Noah Wyle, have all become like family to me over the past three years.  I’ve also had some terrific love interests in the iconic Sherilyn Fenn in RAZE, Katlyn Carlson in MY NAME IS JERRY, and perhaps my favorite screen wife ever, Molly Hagan from our Skin & Bones episode of FEAR ITSELF.

What is your favourite movie of all time?

Hopefully you are including films I’m NOT in.  If so, and if I was banished to a desert isle and could only take one DVD with me, it would be SOMEWHERE IN TIME with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  Such a beautiful time travel romance.

 Do you have any upcoming projects?

Aha!  Thank you for asking!  Our final season of Falling Skies (season 5) begins airing here in the USA June 28, Sunday nights at 10pm/ 9central, and I return as the leader of the Volm aliens who are friends to the humans, fighting back the bad aliens who have taken over Earth.  I’m also in a couple episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s TV series THE STRAIN, including the season 2 opener, reprising my Ancient Vampire role, along with another vampire in the opening flashback scene of season 2, where you’ll see how The Master became The Master.  And I’m also in Guillermo del Toro’s newest movie as two pivotal ghosts in his gorgeous haunted house story, CRIMSON PEAK, coming to North American cinemas October 16, 2015.

Get involved with Horror Month!

Take part in our Survey for a chance to win some horror goodies and tickets to HorrorCon UK 2015! Contest details here.

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