ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Pan's Labyrinth Actor Doug Jones
By James W, Sunday 13th April 2014

s LabyrinthHorror Channel is proudly showing Guillermo del Toro’s superb masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth on April 19th.

One of its main actors is Doug Jones, a man who takes the roles of two very different but equally important characters, the Faun and the Pale Man (pictured) so we decided to chat to this very talented man about this very special film and what his acting plans are for the future.

HC: Did you know from a young age what you wanted to do in life?

DJ: I did. As an awkward, tall, skinny child, I had to develop a sense of humour for survival. The TV gave me an escape from the cruel world, and it was characters from I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Gomer Pyle, Gilligan’s Island, The Andy Griffith Show, and movie re-runs of anything Danny Kaye or Jerry Lewis did that gave me hope of a goofy kid becoming something entertaining in show-biz one day.

HC: How did you go from being a mime to being an actor?

DJ: A very easy transition, as mime requires acting. I began as a mime at university, but simultaneously did more conventional stage plays as a regular person. When I arrived in Hollywood in 1985, I had no idea the mime training would be the groundwork for what was to become of my career. I sought silly sitcom and TV commercial roles, booked a few, but it was that mime training and my tall, skinny frame that caught the eye of my first agent and the creature effects creators of Hollywood. One of my first advert bookings was for McDonald’s as the singing crescent moon-headed man, Mac Tonight, and my reputation as that tall, skinny guy who moves well and doesn’t complain in make-ups and heavy costumes is what started the referrals for bigger jobs down the road.

HC: You came to prominence with your superb take on Abe Sapien in Hellboy, how did you get that role?

DJ: First of all, thank you for such a lovely compliment! It was a combination of another referral from the team at Spectral Motion creature effects shop, and also having met and worked briefly on director Guillermo del Toro’s first U.S. feature film, Mimic as one of his bug guys. When the Spectral Motion team brought my name up, Guillermo said, “I know Doug Jones!” and pulled my card out of his wallet that I’d given him five years prior while working on Mimic.

HC: Did you have to audition for your roles in Pan’s Labyrinth?

DJ: Thankfully, now that our working relationship was cemented in love after the first Hellboy movie, Guillermo del Toro came looking for me to play the Faun and the Pale Man, no audition required. He sent me an email from Spain, where he was in pre-production for the film, telling me that no one could play the Faun but me. A terrifying statement that came with enormous pressure. And he casually added that there was another character called the Pale Man he also wanted me to do. Little did I know that the Pale Man would become such an iconic moment in scary cinema and land on the cover of multiple magazines that year.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?

DJ: I wiped tears off my cheeks as I closed the last page, saying to myself, “I simply MUST do this movie!!!” It was a glorious read of fantasy, escape, with elements of relationship/family drama, history, horror … it was just the most perfect thing I’d ever read. And knowing that Guillermo would be directing this himself, I knew the vision of what I just read would be made complete.

HC: What was the atmosphere like on set and how did people treat you when you were in those amazing costumes?

DJ: We filmed in Spain, and I was the only American anywhere near the set. The entire crew was so gracious to me, and I had the luxury of not needing to be concerned with anything until I heard someone speaking English. As the Faun, especially, there was an attitude of reverence every time I walked on set. Being seven feet tall on those stilts helped command such moments.

HC: Did it take you long to get into character?

DJ: As with any heavily costumed character, the make-up process is a huge help in finding the character each day, as the process took about 5 hours for both the Faun and the Pale Man. That is, aside from the months of personal preparation ahead of time with movement and the language of the film.

HC: Where did you get your movements from as there’s no way you could find a reference for such fantastical creatures?

DJ: One of the few notes Guillermo had for me regarding the Faun before we began filming was to channel the hind quarter of barn animals, to consider how their hoofs meet the ground, and how they shake off flies. So that was all worked in. As for the Pale Man, he told me to think like a big fat man who hadn’t eaten nor been awake in years, hence the saggy skin and stiffer walk. He mentioned at one point, “More like a George Romero zombie!” Aha. Got it.

HC: Which character was the most difficult to play?

DJ: While the Pale Man was very stylized and I was near blind in the make-up only able to see a little out of the nose holes, it was the Faun that was my bigger task. To find this character both in body and in verbal dialogue was very difficult. I was in a heavy, glued-on make-up with huge ram horns on my head, stilts under my feet, and those crazy leg prosthetics to manipulate. All the while, trying to keep my balance with eye movement motors whizzing loudly in my scull, I also had to deliver mountains of dialogue in Spanish… a language I don’t speak! Learning the dialogue and language of the movie, along with taking on all this physicality, was a nervous five month journey leading up to filming.

HC: You must be rightfully proud of your performances?

DJ: I wouldn’t normally boast about such things, but when this movie finally wrapped, I felt a very proud sense of accomplishment. When I was first offered these two roles, I was sure I was going to ruin this artistic masterpiece, but upon wrap, I actually felt that I had a part in making movie history. And when I had the privilege of attending the 2007 Academy Awards, representing the film with Guillermo del Toro and all of the six nominees from the film, I thought I was dreaming. What I was truly proud of that night was the entire cast, crew, and my dear make-up artists from DDT Efectos Especiales, David Marti and Montse Ribe who went home with the Oscar for Best Make-Up that night.

HC: Pan’s Labyrinth is a beautifully original movie, is it true that it’s your favourite film?

DJ: Yes, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Pan’s Labyrinth is the perfect movie, and is the one that has become my favourite film I’ve ever been in. If there was one film to be played at my funeral, I’d want it to be Pan’s Labyrinth. Okay, that would be a long funeral, but you know what I mean.

HC: So what are working on at the moment?

DJ: I just finished filming season four of Steven Spielberg’s hit TV series, Falling Skies, returning as the helpful leader of the Volm alien race, “Cochise.” I also have completed my two spooky cameo roles in Guillermo del Toro’s new film, Crimson Peak, coming to cinemas in October of 2015. And I’m soon to guest star in the season one finale of Guillermo del Toro’s new vampire TV series, The Strain. One look at all the red bits on my IMDB page, and you’ll see I’m only scratching the surface here, with much to look forward to!

HC: Doug Jones, thank you very much.

DJ: Thank you so much for having me here! Such an honour to have you air my favourite movie, and to speak on its behalf. And anyone who would want to keep up with my tom-foolery may do so by following @actordougjones on Twitter, on Facebook at facebook.com/actordougjones, and on my official site: TheDougJonesExperience.com


MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano

FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.

Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?

Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...

SHARE: READ MORE
Exclusive interview with Adam Green, director of Hatchet.
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018
Adam Green director of Hatchet

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV Premiere of Hatchet on Friday 14th Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley...

Hatchet is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We're excited, are you?

I couldn't be more excited! I've always said that even though Hatchet may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where "Victor Crowley" was truly born. FrightFest was "the screening heard around the world" and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over Hatchet that every genre festival on t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Tom de Ville director of Corvidae

HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?

TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?

SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
Ferdinando D'Urbano - Director of Photography Producer COL

A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.

HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?

FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
Wolfman's Got Nards

HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?

AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.

HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?

AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018

HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?

JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.

AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
Joanne Mitchel Image 4

One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.

We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.

HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?

JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Mort creator and director of Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
mike Mort Director of Chuck Steel

HC: Where did the character of Chuck Steel come from?

MM: I came up with the character of Chuck Steel in 1985 when still at school. I used to doodle this square jawed action hero in my English book when I should have been concentrating on the lesson. Over the years he developed a bit as I drew him in various adventure scenarios, usually involving monsters of some kind. I made a Super8 short film with the character when I was experimenting with animation and I also made a college film featuring Chuck a few years later. These were basically just Chuck fighting monsters for 10 minutes or so but I was learning about how to construct scenes and action as I went. Later in my animati...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sam Ashurst director of Frankenstein's Creature
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018

HC: Why did you choose to film James Swanton's acclaimed play, Frankenstein's Creature?

SA: I made a music video for Channel 4, and they gave me a small budget to shoot it in a day. The budget was small enough to raise independently, and I looked around me and realised I had all the crew I needed to shoot an actual feature film, not just a music video - if only I could shoot a film in a day! Then my friend Dan Martin, who did the effects for films like Human Centipede II and Freefire, said that he'd been given advice that if you want to shoot a film in a short space of time, you should option a play. I'd worked with James on another, much smaller thing, and was blown away by his talent....

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Collier, director of FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
Chris Collier director of FrightFest doc

FrightFest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. The team of Alan Jones, Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day ensure that everyone who attends, from guests to punters get the best experience they can from it.

But what do they really think of each other and what really goes on behind the scenes? A new documentary from Chris Collier has given the team the chance to talk candidly about the festival and each other. Here he tells us how FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema came together.

HC: Can you recall what it was like at your first FrightFest and what attracted you to attend in the first place?

CC: Back in 2009 I recorded a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jon Knautz director of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Friday 24th August 2018
Jon Knautz director of The Cleaning Lady

HC: What made you decide that your short film The Cleaning Lady would work as a feature?

JK: Actually we had already written the feature before we made the short. We wanted to make a proof of concept to see how people reacted and to try and raise some awareness of our feature script. It was also a great way to experiment with the tone of the film, so we would be ready to tackle the feature.

HC: How did you and co-writer Alexis Kendra work on the script?

JK: Alexis and I had written several scripts together already so we had our system down pretty good at that point. We start by smoking cigars and just brainstorming for a while... then even...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
100 Bloody Acres
100 BLOODY ACRES
Wednesday 3rd October
9.00 PM
Drag Me To Hell
DRAG ME TO HELL
Thursday 4th October
9.00 PM
AE: Apocalypse Earth
AE: APOCALYPSE EARTH
Saturday 29th September
6.40 PM