LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Interview With Doug Jones Star Of Pan's Labyrinth
By James W, Tuesday 23rd August 2016
The first FrightFest I ever worked on for Horror Channel was back in 2006 when the event was still in the Odeon on Leicester Square. The film crew and I were housed in the top floor trying to conduct our interviews away from the hustle and bustle of the bar area below. It was in this small room we had the pleasure of chatting to Guillermo del Toro before he introduced what would be soon hailed as a masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. Myself and the whole crew sat open mouthed as the film played to an audience, in awe of what we were seeing on screen. Scary, dark, fantastical and moving, the film cemented Guillermo del Toro's reputation as a true visionary. The film stars Doug Jones in the pivotal roles of El Fauno and the Pale Man, two incredibly different characters that bring the movie's fantastical elements vividly to life.
As the 10th anniversary of the film's release approaches and its part of our FrightFest season on Thursday, we chat to Doug about this incredible film and his amazing career to date.
HC: How did you come to work on Pan's Labyrinth?
DJ: Writer/director Guillermo del Toro came looking for me, bless his heart! We met on his first American studio film, Mimic, in 1997 when I worked just 3 days on the film as one of his "Long John" bug creatures. But it was the first Hellboy movie that really connected us as a director/actor team who understood each other. So a year after Hellboy released in cinemas, he contacted me to play The Faun and Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, telling me no one else would do. I was very intimidated with his trust in me, but he sent a script and said, "Get an answer back to me tonight if you can!"
HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?
DJ: As I closed the final page of this glorious script, I wiped a tear away, and said, "Oh wow... I HAVE to be in this movie!" Reading his magical, brutal tale, and knowing it was to be directed by the master, himself, I knew we could be looking a classic in the face.
HC: You play both El Fauno and the Pale Man, two very iconic characters, how did you approach each one and did Guillermo del Toro give you much direction or back story for them?
DJ: Oddly enough, I don't remember much backstory discussion for either. For El Fauno, he just reminded me of his mythological status, his playful trickery, and that he would be aging backward throughout the film, becoming younger, more fluid and colourful each time you see him, as Ofelia was getting closer to coming home to us in the underworld. The other note was to watch the hind quarter of barn animals to see how their hooves meet the ground and how they shake off flies. For the Pale Man, it was a short discussion about waking up hungry after not eating children for long enough that he has all this sagging skin now. A disgusting beast I was.
HC: Which character did you prefer playing and has anyone come up to you at a convention dressed like them?
DJ: I connect more with El Fauno, as he has an overall sense of good about him. A nurturing side he keeps hidden under the trickery. And yes, El Fauno has been cosplayed by a couple of people at different conventions, which is no easy task! I still have yet to see anyone cosplay The Pale Man in person, although I've seen a few YouTube parodies which were brilliant.
HC: As an artist who regularly wears a costume, how difficult is it to convey emotions etc. through so much make-up and do you have to keep in shape?
DJ: If I want a creature and the performance to look organic and effortless, it is absolutely paramount that I stay in shape for whatever role I'm playing, yes. An acting performance needs to start the same way it would for any actor, in the heart and soul, feeling the character's needs, wants, fears, joys, all that. Then when layers of foam latex are glued onto you, yes, it just becomes a matter of letting that be your character's real second skin, while living and breathing through it. That may require some exaggerated movement and gestures.
HC: What was the atmosphere like on set as it's a dark and serious film?
DJ: There was a certain emotional gravity on this set because of the dark story, but when Guillermo's sense of humour is at the helm of the ship, we can steer into a chuckle or two here and there. When I'm looking at the world on set through the tiny tear ducts of a mask, and everyone is speaking Spanish until they need something from me in English, it's difficult to feel out that atmosphere. Because of my physical demands, "Can I survive these hours?" becomes my atmosphere.
HC: What's your most vivid memory from the making of this classic?
DJ: So many memories from that epic film shoot, but after all the fear I carried into that project regarding the Faun's Spanish dialogue. We were shooting on the final day of principle photography, and I remember tearing up as soon as I saw little Ivana Baquero walk on set in that beautiful, shiny, satin dress with those red shoes. After all her character had been through, and after all we had been through together, to see her all cleaned up and so pretty, it was just such a fitting reward for her right choices that brought her there. As it was finally called, "That's a picture wrap on Doug Jones!" all I could think was, "I did it. I actually got through this shoot alive and delivered all that Spanish dialogue on set like a native speaker" A true sense of accomplishment.
HC: This film is in my Top 5 of all time as it is for many people, why do you think it touched such a chord with so many people?
DJ: I think exercising healthy rebellion when your authority figure has lost his way, or is just evil, is a theme to which so many can relate. Whether it's from abusive or ignorant parenting, an unfair teacher, or a boss at a job who was misguided, there are so many in this hurting world who have felt empowered to go home and wrestle the monsters in their own lives from ingesting the story of this beautiful movie.
HC: How would you catagorise the movie as it straddles many genres?
DJ: I think the quickest way I've heard it is a dark fairy tale for adults. But you are so right, it is history, relationship drama, fantasy, a dash of horror, and fairytale all bundled up together.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
DJ: I don't know the UK dates, but in the USA next up, you can see me returning to Guillermo del Toro's TV show, The Strain season 3 as a recurring Ancient vampire. Then in cinemas October 21st you can see me in a couple of scenes (one human, one not) in Ouija: Origin Of Evil. And I play the title role in the feature film, The Bye Bye Man with Carrie-Anne Moss and Fay Dunaway, in theatres December 9th. I'm also very happy to be currently filming Guillermo del Toro's new movie, The Shape Of Water, releasing later in 2017.
HC: Doug Jones, as always, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us.
DJ: And thank you for having me! I'm so proud to celebrate Pan's Labyrinth's 10th anniversary with you all at the Horror Channel!
MORE FRIGHTFEST FrightFest and FAB Press launch the FrightFest Guide to Ghost Movies
Posted on Thursday 12th July 2018
FrightFest and FAB Press once again join forces to launch The Frightfest Guide To Ghost Movies, which goes on sale during FrightFest 2018, August 23 - August 27.
Following the success of The FrightFest Guide to Exploitation Movies, and The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies, this is the third in an on-going series of wide appeal books for both the curious spectator and the cult connoisseur.
This year's FrightFest Guide is written by horror genre writer and award-winning filmmaker Axelle Carolyn, who has helmed an atmospheric bone-chiller herself - Soulmate, Axelle is well-versed in all things weird, wicked and witchy and he...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest renews New Blood talent search
Posted on Wednesday 4th July 2018
After the success of last year's inaugural New Blood search for new writers in the horror genre, the hunt is on for another batch of scribes to cook up a potent cauldron of original ideas and devilish tales. And the search starts today!
New Blood 2 finds FrightFest once again teamed with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures, which aims to find new writers and nurture their project from script to screen.
One of last year's entries, thriller Broadcast Signal Intrusion, is now in pre-production, and is one of Queensbury Pictures' first titles out of the traps. Written by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall, it will be directed by Jacob Gentry (The Signal, Syncronicit...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest 2018 - Here's everything you need to know!
Posted on Thursday 28th June 2018
Remaining in the heart of London's West End for its 19th edition, the world renowned horror and fantasy film festival FrightFest, turbo-charges into the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from August 23 - August 27 2018. Hosting a record-breaking seventy films, embracing eighteen countries and spanning six continents, this year's line-up is a true celebration of the genre's global popularity. The five-day fear-a-thon includes 20 World, 17 European and 22 UK Premieres.
The opening night attraction is the UK premiere of The Ranger. Jenn Wexler's impressive directorial debut feature is an explosive, post-modern slasher, with a kic...SHARE: READ MORE Graham Humphreys' beautiful artwork for FrightFest 2018 revealed
Posted on Thursday 14th June 2018
Team FrightFest has finally revealed Graham Humphreys' anticipated poster for this year's event.
The stunning artwork for this year's annual Bank Holiday event, the UK's largest celebration of genre cinema, taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema between Thursday August 23rd and Monday August 27th.
For Graham, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' seemed too important to ignore: "In the same way that Frankenstein gave life to his monster, horror films stimulate our imagination and give form to ideas that otherwise dare not leave the shadows", he commented. "The painting shows our familiar host enjoying ...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest and Horror Channel renew their sponsor partnership
Posted on Thursday 7th June 2018
Horror Channel and FrightFest have agreed a one-year partnership deal, which sees the UK's No.1 TV destination for genre fans become the Broadcast Sponsor for the country's biggest and most popular horror and fantasy film festival.
The agreement means that the CBS Studios International and AMC Networks International - UK owned channel continues its long-standing relationship with the festival, which dates back to 2005, and includes a two-year tenure as headline sponsor from 2016-2017.
As part of the deal, the channel will devote thirteen nights in August to a FrightFest Season, broadcasting twenty-six films from past festivals, which will include five UK TV premiere...SHARE: READ MORE Prepare yourself for the Attack of the Adult Babies' stunning artwork!
Posted on Sunday 6th May 2018 Nucleus Films have released the stunning new artwork created exclusively by the legendary graphic artist Graham Humphreys for the slipcase 1-1000 numbered limited edition Blu-ray of Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies, which is being released nationwide on June 11.
And, in further good news for genre fans, HMV will be racking the limited Edition Blu-ray in their "Special Edition range" in stores across the country.
Nucleus Films have released the stunning new artwork created exclusively by the legendary graphic artist Graham Humphreys for the slipcase 1-1000 numbered limited edition Blu-ray of Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies, which is being rel...SHARE: READ MORE Friendly Beast - FrightFest review
Posted on Sunday 18th March 2018
Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow was a true showcase for world cinema. One of the stand out pieces came from Gabriela Amaral Almeida who wrote and directed Friendly Beast, a film so visceral yet beautiful at the same time, it left an indelible mark on this reviewer's mind.
It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. Staff want to go home while the boss struggles with money troubles and a desire for more power in his life. Enter two robbers, the catalyst for a violent situation, which the boss is initially able to contain and gain the upper hand. Suddenly, the already dangerous and explosive situation turns deadly; sides are taken, and people turn to the most abhorrent behaviour in an instant.
Thi...SHARE: READ MORE Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - FrightFest review
Posted on Tuesday 6th March 2018
Ever wished that Terry Gilliam made more movies? The man who gave us Jabberwocky, The Fisher King and Brazil gave the world a new perspective and encouraged budding movie makers around the world to make their own visions and to stick by what they wanted to create.
Step forward Paul Urkijo whose demonic movie Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil just had its UK premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow. This film is the closest thing to anything Gilliam has made in the past but at the same time feels so original and fresh that it deserves multiple views just to appreciate the detail and love in every single frame.
Ten years after Civil War in Spain 1833, orphan Usue (Uma Bracaglia) seeks es...SHARE: READ MORE Book of Monsters - Exclusive look at new poster
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018
Those of you lucky enough to make it through the snow to Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow at the weekend were treated to a quick look at Book of Monsters.
From the team that brought us The Creature Below a couple of years back, this female lead, action-packed monster movie draws inspiration from the cult horror cinema of the 80s and 90s including such classics as Scream, Gremlins and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With sick, gory practical creature effects and a dark comedic edge, the film promises to be a fun, bloody and sexy trip back to a time when making it through high school was truly life or death.
The film was successfully funded through Kickstarter in August 2017, raising £45,000 and became one...SHARE: READ MORE Pyewacket - Frightfest Review
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018
You know the feeling you get when you see a film that you know nothing about, not even the title gives anything away and you view with an open mind and then it blows your proverbial socks off? Well this is exactly what happened to me with Pyewacket.
Confused and infuriated for being forced to move away from friends after the death of her father, Leah (Nicole Munoz) performs a blood incantation calling on an evil entity to punish her grieving mother (Laurie Holden). Immediately regretful, she realises she can't reverse the ritual curse and an unholy presence now stalks them both in their rural home.
Where do I start with such a movie? Well, let's begin with the sc...SHARE: READ MORE Attack of the Bat Monsters - FrightFest Review
Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2018
For a movie that's had a longer gestation period than any project I've known of, Attack of the Bat Monsters looks as if it could have been made yesterday, or the 1950s where its set! More on this later, here's what the film is about:
The movie follows schlock impresario Francis Gordon as he and his intrepid crew attempt to shoot an impromptu monster movie in the three days left over from the film they've just wrapped. This is the 1950s Z-Grade movie industry as its never been seen before.
From the Saul Bass opening title homage (which is worth seeing by itself) the movie perfectly encapsulates the era of post-World War II guerrilla film-making. Attack of the Bat Monsters ha...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018
One thing that Horror Channel FrightFest prides itself in is by championing new talent. This year's Glasgow event is no different with a whole host of newbies bringing their first features. A real highlight is Paul Urkijo's Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil which is a sumptuous piece that Terry Gilliam would be proud of. Here he chats to us about this stunning movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?
PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 26th July
Wednesday 25th July
Sunday 22nd July