Wizard World: Los Angeles "Hellboy" Panel

Sun, March 21st, 2004 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

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Fans greet the "Hellboy" gang of (L-R) Mike Mignola, Ron Perlman, Guillermo del Toro and Selma Blair at Wizard World: Los Angeles Saturday.
An all-star panel of luminaries greeted a near-capacity crowd of fans on Saturday evening to talk about "Hellboy." Creator Mike Mignola, director Guillermo del Toro, and actors Ron Perlman and Selma Blair were on hand to field fan questions and discuss their experience making the movie.

Mike Mignola discussed how happy he was with virtually every aspect of the movie. "I feel like I won the lottery," he said. "I tried to fit everything I like into one package, and that ended up looking like 'Hellboy.' I tried to draw a human paranormal investigator, and I knew I had a very short attention span, and I wanted to do something fun for me to draw. The personality of Hellboy that I put on the page is on the screen. I'm very happy about that."

When asked why he decided to do this project, del Toro said, "It's not a decision, it's a ... compulsion. When I was shooting 'Mimic,' I derived enormous pleasure from reading 'Hellboy,' it saved my sanity. I was thinking, 'I wanna be Hellboy when I grow up!' If that was happening to me, that late in the game, I need to make the movie."

del Toro is already anxious to work on the sequel. "Mike and I when we were meeting in Prague, saying 'What is gonna happen? We should come up with storylines and some ideas.' Then we were like 'what about opening here and doing that,' and five minutes later we were like 'then, then, then ..." We'd have heads in a jar, lobster johnson, whatever form of madness we can do."

"We'd have to make the second one crazier," Mignola added, "which would be raising the bar quite a bit."

Perlman talked extensively about what's becoming a career in makeup. "The events of my career are absolutely and unexplainably coincidental. You start off your career putting on prosthetic makeup, and things kind of snowball out of control from there. You start being thought of as someone who will tolerate four hours of being poked and prodded. I can't answer the question, it mystifies me. This was kind of high water mark. This was far and away the most powerful, compelling, fierce, yet vulnerable makeup I've ever had."

Speaking more seriously, Perlman continued, "I had an epiphany, this is inspired by Guillermo explaining his undying thirst for portraying monsters in movies. In portraying monsters, which are always compelling and interesting to look at, is where one finds real humanity. It dawned on me after so many years that there is a very strong feeling I had about the monstrous things in me, growing up, that those were the things that defined me. There's something about exploring the qualities that transcend that i find very interesting and resonate within me very deeply. I am very grateful for having another opportunity to play in that field."

Selma Blair really became absorbed in the world of the film. "Being on this set with these people that make it so much fun," she said. "I started reading. Neil Gaiman Sandman stuff, all of that. Nothing so beautiful as nihilist noir stuff." del Toro shouted out that Blair married a Hellboy fan, so there's hope for everyone.

"Guillermo and Mike really set the bar so high," she said, "and after being on the set of Hellboy, my passion for this really rubbed off, and I'd like to again, hopefully with Guillermo. What got me into doing this movie was Guillermo. I fell in love with him, he thrust the hellboy comics into my hands, and they were so strong. It was a really easy decision." When asked about how she got into her character, Blair said, "To get in character for Liz, I just torched a lot of sh*t. Liz is a misfit, as am I, I'm told. It was easy [getting into her character]. I'm real talkative just like Liz." After saying that, Blair said nothing for at least a dozen minutes.

del Toro talked about the possibility of an animated Hellboy series. "We are meeting in two weeks with the Japanese company Gonzo and we're planning to do, if everything goes creatively right, we're proposing to do thirty minute episodes of 'Hellboy,' and do short stories like 'Pancakes.' That's what's in the works. I'm doing a feature with them that will be perverse, sick, disgusting and fun."

Finally, fans asked Blair about rumors of her chasing after Clark Kent as Lois Lane in the proposed new 'Superman' film. "Maybe you guys can make that rumor a reality, I don't know how. I don't know what's going on with that right now. They're starting from scratch right now."

 
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