What a difference a week made for Ron Perlman.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army racked up $34.5 million in its opening weekend to take the top slot at the box office not bad for a sequel that had been nixed by the first film’s original studio (despite “Hellboy’s” modest profit in theaters and major success on DVD), only to find a new home at Universal Pictures following the critical and commercial success of director Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.
And just like that, the demonic paranormal investigator created by writer-artist Mike Mignola that Perlman so relishes portraying (despite enduring a layer of heavy prosthetics) is a film franchise superstar.
ComingSoon.net caught up with Perlman just days after “Hellboy II’s” hit debut, and he gave us his insight on its success, a possible third film, and even the chance of another collaboration with del Toro on the fertile ground of Middle Earth.
CS: How gratifying was it to see the success of the film in the opening weekend after going to a different studio? Do you feel somewhat vindicated?
Perlman: Incredibly gratifying. I mean, that’s rarified air. When you get to be my age you realize that it’s not only something that you never take for granted, but a tiny little fraction of those of us who throw in to this adventure ever get a chance to experience something like that. It’s so overwhelming that I can’t even or haven’t even begun to take it in. Luckily I’m doing “Sons of Anarchy” and I jumped right from the frying pan into the fire. Yesterday we shot six scenes and so I didn’t have time to think about much, but learning my lines and delivering them. But I can’t tell you how vindicated we all feel and what a tough struggle it was for Guillermo [del Toro] to get the movie made with me and seven years of struggling. We got the first one out to modest success and we got a second one out and the stories you could fill volumes just talking about the stories of what it took to get that movie made and here we are. The world has given us this cosmic hug. It feels really good.
CS: Is there a third one that’s in the offing? Has that been talked about?
Perlman: Well, I certainly think that it’s not without the realm of possibility at this point. I can only imagine the discussions that are taking place in some other dark room right now.
CS: Del Toro is going to be busy with “The Hobbit” for a while. So what’s that mean if they want another “Hellboy?”
Perlman: I know Guillermo has a very compelling idea for how to end the trilogy and I hope that he gets a chance to tell it and I hope that he gets a chance to do it exactly as he wants to do it. That’s all I can say to that. I’m not privy to anything because we didn’t want to start counting our chickens before they hatched. So none of those discussions have ever been had. We just talked about what we were going to eat when we got together and had dinner and stuff like that.
CS: Has he talked to you at all about being in “The Hobbit?”
Perlman: No. He has not, except to say that when I first saw him after it had been announced that he was going to be in New Zealand, I said, “I’m going to miss you, pal.” He goes [imitating del Toro] “Oh, no you’re NOT!” That’s all I know [laughs].
CS: At Universal there’s an exhibit of memorabilia from their classic movies. They put Hellboy along there with the wonderful Universal Classics. Is that a source of pride for you to be up there with “All’s Quiet on the Western Front” or “To Kill a Mockingbird?”
Perlman: Oh, my God. It’s almost tripped out to even take in for me because I’m such a movie freak. I’m such a devotee Clearly, I don’t think that there’s anymore noble art form than cinema. I’m just such a fan. The people who have come before us in the ’20s and ’30s and ’40s and ’50s and ’60s and ’70s and ’80s and ’90s and the first ten years of the 20th century, those are amazing artists. So if you’re saying that we now have something that takes a place in that quilt, in that history then wow. What kid wouldn’t dream about that when he’s been pounding the streets of New York with a picture and resume in his hand and having doors slammed in his face? What kid wouldn’t dream of that?
CS: Right across from Gregory Peck in “To Kill A Mockingbird” is Ron Perlman in “Hellboy.”
Perlman: My God. That must be a mistake.
CS: How has your career been because you’ve been around a long time?
Perlman: Well, it’s had its moments. I’ve had these very, very high high’s and very, very low lows. I’ve gone sometimes two and three years between phone calls and then when the phone call came it would be something so unbelievably tasty and phenomenal like “Name of the Rose” or “Enemy at the Gates,” things like that which were really classy and incredibly intelligent and smart with distinguished filmmakers and great roles. Then that would be over and the phone didn’t ring for two or three years.
CS: Were you anxious during that time or did you wait to see what would happen?
Perlman: It’s a combination of both. I wait as long as I can until I start feeling anxious and usually that has something to do with the mortgage. When the money runs out then I start panicking and I’ve had a lot of that in my sorted history, but at the end of the day I’m having a good week right now!
CS: And we’re going to see you next on FX’s series “Sons of Anarchy?”
Perlman: I’ve been basically working without a day off now since the beginning of April and before that I was lying on a couch hoping to recover from “Hellboy II” which took me about six months, catching my breath. That was the hardest shoot that I’d ever participated in.