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“Saw a lot of potential in a darker version of Hellboy”

Neil Marshall, director of the upcoming franchise film, Hellboy talks exculsively to Team Box Office India about the cast and what fans can expect from the recent release

What was your reaction when you were first approached to direct the next Hellboy film?

My initial response was, ‘Well, that’s somebody else’s terrain, and I really don’t want to step on their turf.’ But after a little time passed, it became apparent that the producers wanted to create a new version of the franchise. And then I said, ‘Great, let’s do it.’

How did it feel working with the comic artiste Mike Mignola and the producers - Lionsgate, Millenium Films and others?

Larry (Lawrence Gordon) and Lloyd (Levin) had carried the torch for this for quite some time. So, the question was what could we do that would reinvent it some way that isn’t radically deviating from the source material and in some ways would be more faithful to the source material? I saw a lot of potential in a darker version. And Mike and everyone else connected with that concept as well, so it was like, ‘Okay, let’s go dark with it.’”

Did it mean delving into some edgy places with the characters and their stories?

It’s a huge emotional journey for Hellboy, a journey of discovery, and then just literally, we’re going darker: bloodier, more violent. But it’s not a matter of throwing in things that don’t belong. It was always a case of, when in doubt, go back to the source.

How did the makers unanimously see Hellboy in David Harbour?

David has been giving amazing performances for many, many years, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a big, six-foot-three fella with an amazing voice and those eyes that just captivate you immediately. He is a force of nature, and you feel that through the character. So, once his name came into the mix, nobody else was considered. It was like, ‘Of course. He’s so right for it.’

How was the experience of working with him on the sets?

I saw Hellboy walk onto set, and he was living and breathing that character until he left at the end of the day. On the rare occasion when I would see David without makeup, I’d think I hadn’t seen him in ages. But then I’d remember, ‘Oh, yeah, you were on set all day.’ He became this character, and that’s who he was every time he walked onto the set.

How was it having Milla Jovovich onboard to play Nimue the Blood Queen?

To hold their own against that, you need someone as brilliant as Milla Jovovich. Milla is a total presence herself. You feel it in every beat of every word she says, every moment she takes, every look she gives. She’s amazing, so much fun to work with and delivers this absolute powerhouse performance.

What is waiting for the Hellboy fans in cinemas?

David gave such a great take on the material. I would love audiences to walk away feeling they have seen an original Hellboy movie.

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