You can't keep a good demon down, as the return of Hellboy in a new film reboot proves. David Harbour, best known for his role as Stranger Things' Police Chief Jim Hopper, assumes the role originated by Ron Perlman in 2004's Hellboy and its 2008 sequel, *Hellboy II: The Golden Army." And, as we can see in the first image of the actor in full make-up, he looks, uh, remarkably like Perlman did as the character... which is a good thing. However, the interpretation could be somewhat different.
Here's what Perlman had to say about the role when he played it:
"What we have in Hellboy is someone who is kind of ambivalent. He's a devil by nature who has been socialized to the more heroic aspects of the use of one's time on Earth. The way it manifests itself is that he's got this sick sense of humor and he's constantly putting people on; he doesn't take anything seriously. Even when he's fighting something 175 times bigger than he is, it's all just a game, because he knows he's indefatigable. He's very blue collar, he doesn't fight pretty. He's a brawler. He's a guy who rears back and punches you as hard as he can with his right hand, which happens to be made of granite. That's Hellboy. He's a beer-drinking, cigar-chomping, pizza-eating underachiever who has been charged with the rather important task of ridding the Earth of all extraterrestrial intruders."
Not to duplicate Perlman, but, instead, create his own spin on Hellboy, here's what Harbour told MTV about the differences and similarities between his take on the character and Perlman's:
"Hellboy is the same character from the comics, and from what Ron did. There are certain things that are the same thing. But there’s a different approach. Ron sort of embraces this machismo in himself and in Hellboy, that kind of is his thing, and I really like it and I think it’s super fun and it’s a super fun performance. But I think Hellboy has a certain psycho dynamic where occasionally he has to prove that he’s the lion and has to roar, but I think he struggles with his own masculinity... I sort of think that for me he’s a little less skilled at constructing that persona.”
Hellboy was originally constructed by writer/artist Mike Mignola in the pages of Dark Horse Comics. Looking back at the character's creation, he explains that, beginning in the sixth grade, he had become fascinated with horror, yet when he first began working in comics, he drew mostly superhero material.
"I finally got to a point where I wanted to take the stuff I was reading and make a comic book version of that," he says. "Because I have a very short attention span, I didn't want to make it something as dry as a human occult detective investigating haunted houses. I needed to amp it up so it would be fun for me to draw. So I made the main character a monster. It was taking everything I've ever liked and sticking it in one package. I never thought I'd be doing it all these years later."
Wikipedia describes the character as follows: "A well-meaning half-demon, Hellboy was summoned from Hell to Earth as a baby by Nazi occultists (spawning his hatred for Nazis). He was discovered by the Allied Forces; amongst them, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who formed the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). In time, Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned adult with a tail, horns (which he files off, leaving behind circular stumps on his forehead), cloven hooves for feet, and an oversized right hand made of stone (the "Right Hand of Doom")... Hellboy works for the B.P.R.D., an international non-governmental agency, and for himself against dark forces including Nazis and witches, in a series of tales that have their roots in folklore, pulp magazines, vintage adventure, Lovecraftian horror and horror fiction."
The Hellboy reboot — which sees the character go into battle against a medieval sorceress to protect humanity — is being directed by Neil Marshall (Game Of Thrones, Constantine, Hannibal and Westworld), and also stars Ian McShane (currently on Starz' American Gods), Milla Jovovich (the Resident Evil films) and Daniel Dae Kim.
The film is scheduled for release on January 11, 2019.
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