Doug Jones, who played Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy, offers advice to the next actor to play the comic book character in an exclusive interview with Screen Rant. Jones appeared alongside Ron Perlman, who starred as the titular hero, in del Toro’s 2004 adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic. Jones, Perlman, and del Toro returned for a sequel, 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but the followup wasn’t as successful as the initial film. As a result, the director and his cast weren’t able to get a third film in their Hellboy series greenlit. At the start of 2017, del Toro tried once again to push a third movie forward, but talks fell through and the director announced Hellboy 3 “100 percent” would not happen.
A few months later, a Hellboy reboot was announced with David Harbour (Stranger Things) set to star as Big Red. With Neil Marshall set to direct and Mignola working closely on the new Hellboy movie, fans of the comic character are excited to see what comes next. Plus, a first look image of Harbour as Hellboy helped to hype up potential viewers. But fans of del Toro’s Hellboy, including Perlman’s take on the character, have also wondered how the upcoming reboot will compare. Though little is known about the new Hellboy movie, original film star Jones offers his take on the reboot.
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In an interview with Screen Rant to promote the home release of the Academy Award-winning The Shape of Water, Jones spoke about the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Jones praised Harbour and revealed Abe Sapien may not appear in Marshall’s film. Jones said:
I’m told that Abe Sapien doesn’t really show up in this first reboot movie, so for a minute here I’m kind of – I’m OK with the fact that I don’t have to watch somebody else do that role just yet. I’d love to see the first and how they set up now with David Harbour, who is a brilliant actor and sweetheart of a guy. We met at Comic-Con last year and we hugged it out – really nice to make that Hellboy connection with him.
Though Abe is one of Big Red’s most famous partners in the comics – and in del Toro’s film, thanks to Jones’ performance – the character hasn’t officially been cast. That doesn’t necessarily mean Abe won’t appear in the upcoming film, especially since the B.P.R.D. is confirmed for Hellboy, but Jones undoubtedly skirts the line between confirming whether or not the character shows up. The actor does seem to be under the impression Abe Sapien won’t be in the reboot. Further, Jones went on to offer advice to the next actor to play the character, imploring them to respect the comics. Jones said:
If and when Abe Sapien does enter the storyline in subsequent movies, I honestly would not have any advice for anyone besides have patience with the make-up, but otherwise make the character your own. And, also, anytime you take on a comic book character you must know your source material. The fans depend on it, the fans will want to ask you about it. It’s an injustice to the fans of the source material if you don’t know it going in. And it will help inspire you performance on film if you know the comic books that you’re coming from.
Jones’ comments on knowing the Hellboy comics and respecting fans’ feelings toward the source material are good advice. Hellboy has a devoted fan base, and many were pleased to hear from Mignola that the reboot sticks close to the comics. Whether Abe Sapien joins the new Hellboy film, or appears in a potential sequel, remains to be seen, but fans of del Toro’s movie and Jones’ performance will no doubt compare a new actor to the character’s previous portrayer. Thankfully, Jones has some good advice for that actor, whoever they may be.
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The Shape of Water is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD.