STACK chats with the new Hellboy, David Harbour, and the film’s villainous Blood Queen, Milla Jovovich.
The two previous Hellboy iterations (2004 and 2008) were directed by Guillermo del Toro, while Neil Marshall – who cut his teeth on horror movies Dog Soldiers and The Descent and has since gone on to direct episodes of Game of Thrones and Westworld – helms the 2019 reboot.
But that’s not the only major difference in this new, R-rated interpretation of Mike Mignola’s comic book character.
Inheriting the iconic filed horns from Ron Perlman – who played the half-demon hero in the previous outings – is Stranger Things’ David Harbour, who gratefully received his predecessor’s blessing before going into production on the new Hellboy.
“I had dinner with Ron before,” says Harbour when STACK meets with him in Hollywood. “But it was less about the actual project itself, and more about my admiration of him as an actor and of his career; his presence in the world and who he is. So I just wanted to talk to him first of all, as a colleague, but also just as a guy, to sort of express my admiration for him.
“His films with Guillermo were really great, so we talked about the passing of the torch and what all that stuff was. He was just really gracious and kind. Just a lovely guy and very supportive.”
Harbour also put himself through a torturous ten-week boot camp with New York trainer Don Saladino to prepare for his action stunts – encased in a 40lb suit and tail.
“Beneath the suit, I was very strong and I did do a lot of power training. Honestly, it was hard and difficult – and really annoying. I don’t like physical pain, that’s my biggest fear.”
Hellboy’s action-fantasy realm is familiar territory for Resident Evil veteran Milla Jovovich, playing the villainous Blood Queen, Nimue – described in the film as, “A 5th Century witch who wants to bring the curtain down on London and the world.”
Jovovich was grateful for the role, coming in the aftermath of her sixth and final chapter of the Resident Evil franchise in 2016.
“I was in a dark place after finishing Resident Evil,” she tells STACK. “I kind of felt like Jim from The Office, who was like, ‘What do I do with all this useless information in my head?’ Because I have so much experience doing action films and can bring so much to the table with wire work or helping the visual team and in post-production. But after Resident Evil, I was like, ‘It’s done. My franchise is over. My career as an action hero is over. What am I going to do with all this useless information in my head now, because I can’t use it for anything else but another action film?’”
Hellboy was a lifeline: “I was so happy when it came up, like, ‘Yay, I’m back in business’. This is a genre I know so well and I enjoy so much. I also really liked that the part is so different from Alice [in Resident Evil]. She’s a real woman. She’s sexy, sophisticated and a real femme fatale, but also has these really endearing qualities.
“She’s smart and has these big ideas to bring the monsters and humans together to live in peace. She’s such a great character because she’s not just the villain. She gets betrayed, gruesomely. She talks about her progressive ideas and gets speared through the heart and decapitated and buried alive by King Arthur and Merlin.
“I was like, ‘Oh, you know what? A lot of women are having problems today too.’ It’s like the ’60s all over again, so I relate to her. You bring a progressive idea to the table, you better be careful because you might get buried alive,” she laughs.