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Doug Jones Considers Hellboy‘s Abe Sapien His Best Friend

Hellboy‘s Abe Sapien His Best Friend” width=”560″/>

Doug Jones has a rich speaking voice — but you probably haven’t heard it. The actor frequently labors under mountains of monster-face which renders him mute or raspingly guttural (both, in the case of dropping these hints for quite a while — but is the world ready for the sight of this, um, transhuman coupling? Jones has no doubt, “I think the fangirls will look at Abe and sort of tilt their heads and say, ‘Awwww,'” he says. “Because he’s a bumbling idiot when it comes to love, and he hasn’t really dealt with that part of his life.”

This character has been expanded on other fronts as well. Mike Mignola’s Abe Sapien miniseries, The Drowning, wrapped up just this past week, and it’s certainly new terrain for Hellboy fans. “Mignola wrote the story himself rather than working with a co-writer, and the artist did an amazing, haunting job of bringing that story to life,” says longtime Dark Horse editor Scott Allie. “It’s nothing big and earth-shattering like Hellboy II is going to be. It’s just a nice, creepy, weird horror story.” The miniseries has come too late to inspire Jones’ performance, but the actor still can’t wait to get his hands on all of them, and learn more about his character, explaining, “Guillermo [del Toro] had plans for three all along, I think. He’s got ideas, but I haven’t heard all of them yet.”

Though Mignola’s comic may have influenced del Toro’s version of Abe,
according to Allie, it’s not a two-way street. “Guillermo wrote him as
a different character than he is in the comic, so what they do in the
film doesn’t influence us,” he says. He does, however, credit del Toro
with bringing new interest to the original characters and with helping
to turn the tide against crappy comics-to-movies adaptations in recent
years. “Hellboy was kind of the leader of the pack,” says
Allie, “Unlike filmmakers who are handed something and think, ‘I can
really turn this into something,’ Guillermo really liked what he found.
He wasn’t trying to fix anything.”

As for Abe, Jones has far more immediate concerns when getting into
character. “Once you’re in makeup, you can’t see as well, you can’t
hear as well, you can’t taste as well,” he comments. “You become like this nursing home patient, and
your makeup people are the ones who stay with you all day and take care
of you.”

Riding a wave of comics convention appearances in anticipation of Hellboy II, Jones finds that his fans (many of whom have penned their own versions
of Sapien’s exploits) are pretty much the same kind of people he’s used
to hanging out with in the makeup department. “Really creative people,
really funny people, and very well-read people — and crazy
people who drew demons in their notebooks when they were supposed to be
in math class,” he says, “You find yourself in really fascinating
company. And it’s amazing how many of these people have contacted me on
Facebook or Myspace or my own website, asking me, ‘I want to do what you do. I’m an aspiring makeup artist, can you give me any advice?'”

There is a strange serendipity to Jones’ presence in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. A movie actor whose body language is more reminiscent of stage performers, Jones plays a character who bridges the gap between the worlds of comics and film, a character who is, himself, an amphibious human/fish hybrid. Jones is immune to such strangeness by now and takes
it all in stride. “He looks like a freak of nature, but I found myself
really connecting with Abe this time in a way that was deeper,” he
says. “He’s like my best friend now.”

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