LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Pan's Labyrinth Actor Doug Jones
By James Whittington, Sunday 13th April 2014
Horror 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 Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.
HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?
MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a director?
DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?
BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021
Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.
HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?
MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...SHARE: READ MORE Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.
HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?
GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?
CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.
HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?
SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.
Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!
HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?
SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 24th October
Tuesday 26th October
Thursday 21st October