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Sunday, March 21, 2004


With the release of the Hellboy movie two weeks away, director Guillermo del Toro, stars Ron Perlman and Selma Blair and character creator Mike Mignola continue to aggressively promote the film, appearing at Wizard World Los Angeles on Saturday.

The quartet signed autographs and then held a panel for more than 1,000 people.

Follow are highlights from the panel's question-and-answer session:

* Del Toro said doing Hellboy wasn't a case of making a decision.

"It was a complusion," he said. "You can't help liking what you like. When I was shooting Mimic, I was deriving enormous pleasure from reading Hellboy. It sort of saved my insanity.

"I felt very much that, even though I was 33 and about 400 pounds, I wanted to be Hellboy when I grow up. I had that pang of joy that you feel as a kid."

Del Toro said the fact that he held on for six years to do the movie how he wanted was a testament on how a powerful hold the character had on him.

* Perlman on his Hellboy makeup: "This was far and away the most powerful, compelling, fierce yet vulnerable, sexy kind of makeup I've ever had. I think I'm damn sexy!"

* Del Toro said the movie wasn't altered to meet the PG-13 rating.

"The movie was always decided to be PG-13. There's a lot of violence, but it's monster-to-monster violence," del Toro said. "We submitted the movie, and they came back and said, 'Send us the effects when you are finished.' We sent it back a week later and they gave us the rating. There's nothing extra on DVD that will be gory."

* Blair on doing more movies in the comics world: "Guillermo and Mike really set the bar so high with such a great story. It wasn't something that I knew anything about, this world. But after being on the set of Hellboy, their passion for these kinds of stories and this fantasy world really rubbed off on me. And I would love to do it, preferably with Guillermo."

* Asked how he felt about giving his character away to the Hollywood system, Mignola said: "I never felt like I gave it away to a Hollywood system. I did let them option it. I thought, 'Well, it will never get made.' I actually thought this was sick. They're going to give me money, and there's no way in hell it's ever going to be made. So I really thought I was scamming them.

"And when Guillermo became involved, it was basically that if I was giving it to anybody, I was giving it to him. I knew it was in very good hands. I told him in our very first meeting, 'I love what you do. Do whatever you want with it. Make it yours. I've done my version of it. You do yours.'

"And he assured me he wanted to make my version of it. And in the end, I think we ended up making a really interesting combination of his version and my version. So I feel like I won the lottery."

* Blair on rumors she might play Lois Lane in the new Superman movie: "That would be amazing. I don't know what's going on with that."

* Mignola on Perlman as Hellboy: "It's funny because I spent about five years saying that I'd believe it was happening when I saw Ron Perlman in red makeup before the cameras.

"Early on, Ron was sitting in the makeup chair at Rick Baker's shop. He wasn't getting made up but he was holding court, telling stories about the Island of Dr. Moreau and doing Brando imitations. And I started laughing because he was already Hellboy. He was so perfect, just Ron being Ron.

"So when he walked out of the trailer on a very cold morning in Prague in makeup, it was just very normal. Of course, he's Hellboy."

* Blair on Liz Sherman: "Liz is a misfit, as am I, I'm told. I'm real talkative, just like Liz."

* Perlman on the monstrous side of Hellboy: "Portraying monsters, which are always incredibly interesting to look at, is where one finds honesty. And it dawned on me, after so many years, there's a very, very strong feeling I had about monstrous things growing up. That those actually things that defined me, by surpressing those feelings or by trying to overcompensate for those feelings or by trying to circumvent those feelings or by trying to make peace with that person. Ultimately, it was defining the uniqueness.

"There's something exploring the qualities that transcend the thins that hold you back, I find incredibly interesting and resonates with me deeply. And this was probably as good of an examples for me as an actor that I've ever had the pleasure of participating in."

* Asked if she was interested in comics early, Blair said: "No, it wasn't really part of my world so much. I read Batman. But being on this set with these people that make it so much fun, yeah, I started Neil Gaiman's Sandman stuff. But really Mignola's stuff, I have a soft spot for that."

* Del Toro on the possibility of an animated Hellboy: "Yes, we are meeting in two weeks with the Japanese company Gonzo. What we're proposing to do is 30-minute episodes, taking care of the short stories of Hellboy, even the short, short stories like 'Pancakes.' And adapt them completely, 100 percent in the Mike Mignola style. That's in the works."

* Mignola on a sequel: "Guillermo said, 'Well, we'd have to make the second crazier.' That's raising the bar quite a bit. The one that's out there right now is pretty darned crazy. But I think he could do it."

* Del Toro on if he had to make compromises in making Hellboy: "This was the first Hollywood experience in my life where I don't do any compromises. We were actually pathologically stubborn about making this movie the right way.

"The reality is that if anything would have been compromised in this movie, it would have been a huge risk because it's a very delicate property."

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