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Saturday, April 3, 2004

HELLBOY MOVIE: DOUG JONES

The Hellboy movie was definitely a first for Doug Jones.

"It's seems I've been a lot of creatures before, but I've never been a fish," said Jones, who plays Abe Sapien in the film that opened on Friday.

Jones, whose credits include Men in Black II and Mimic, has been just some pretty bizarre creatures in his career, including an alien, a kangaroo, a cockroach and a large mosquito.

"I've been anything with a tail, basically. I've never been a fish before, however. This is new to me. Full head-to-toe gig. But curiously, he's one of the easier creatures I've played because they used so much of me. Parts are glued on to me but itšs not like I'm wearing a big suit with a giant head on going 'Arrgghh!'"

"I wanted him to look like a fish-man, but also a very intelligent creature," said Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro. "So we combined the body of a swimming athlete, the forehead of a dolphin and the face of a fish. We created this very, very beautiful hybrd."

In costuming Abe Sapien, designer Wendy Patridge worked hand-in-hand with Spectral Motion to make sure her costume worked around the fins they created, which stick out of the character's back and legs. Sapien also has a mechanical respirator with wiring that had to be concealed within the overall design. Fortunately the costume shop and the prosthetics department were across from one another.

"So we went back and forth to do fittings and make sure that all the pieces worked together," Patridge said. "In the end it was not only practical but pretty cool-looking as well."

The sequences in which Abe Sapien is under water, are a combination of special effects and stunt coordination.

"Since Abe spends so much time under water, trying to do it physically would have taken weeks of shooting for just a few seconds of film. That was logistically impractical," said stunt coordinator Monty Simons. "However, we did have a couple of scenes in which we hung Doug upside down and filmed him 'dry for wet.' It appears that he's in a tank, when actually he's behind a two-sided wall of glass with water in between."

Abe's voice is dubbed in by David Hyde Pierce, best known as Niles from NBC's sitcom Frasier.

Like in the comics, Hellboy and Abe Sapien have a strong bond.

"I love the relationship between Hellboy and Abe," Jones said. "Hellboy's the brute with the heart, but he's a brute. And Abe is like the calming influence and the intelligence behind it all. And they work very well together."

"Abe and Hellboy both possess incredible appetites to enjoy the world, but are forced by their limitations to live in a sort of confined world," said Ron Perlman, who plays Hellboy. "So this brings them together in a way that's profound."



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