Last weekend Guillermo Del Toro had a Reddit AMA to promote the premiere of The Strain, and it was a wealth of interesting tidbits about the filmmaker.
One of the topics that repeatedly came up was Hellboy 3. Unfortunately from the sounds of it, no studio wants to finance it, so it may not ever happen with the current creative team behind it:
Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it is proven almost impossible to finance. Not from MY side, but from the studio side. If I was a multimillionaire, I would finance it myself, but I spend all my money on rubber monsters.
Predictably, people begged Del Toro to try crowdfunding to finance a final installment in his Hellboy series. Instead he described what the third movie would have been like, if he’d been allowed to make it:
The idea for it was to have Hellboy finally come to terms with the fact that his destiny, his inevitable destiny, is to become the beast of the Apocalypse, and having him and Liz face the sort of, that part of his nature, and he has to do it, in order to be able to ironically vanquish the foe that he has to face in the 3rd film. He has to become the best of the Apocalypse to be able to defend humanity, but at the same time he becomes a much darker being. It’s a very interesting ending to the series, but I don’t think it will happen.
The first two Hellboy films didn’t lose the studio’s money, but they only saw a profit in DVD sales. With the home video market shrinking, no studio wants to risk shelling out for a big-budget action movie and not making its cash back. The 85 million dollar pricetag on Hellboy 2 probably has something to do with Del Toro’s use of physical effects over CGI-laden affairs. The Golden Army had some major set pieces and expanded the Hellboy world quite a bit. That not be cheap.
I believe that it’s the duty of every filmmaker and storyteller to try to bring as much reality as physically and economically possible to an FX sequence. I myself am incredibly oriented to physical sets, rather than doing green screen, whenever the sets are physically possible, and I try to always find a physical FX equivalent in a solution to a filmmaking problem, regardless of it having to be a little bit more time consuming or less easy to shoot, I think it’s incredibly important to do it [...] only in the instances in which you cannot do it with physical FX should you resort to digital FX. They should never be used as a shortcut, as a lazy shortcut. They should always be used when the ultimate solution is to convey that you need.
There were a few other cool things mentioned in the AMA. When asked what the most difficult part of Pan’s Labyrinth was, Del Toro discussed how local laws prevented them from using blanks in guns at their battle scenes. He also discussed Abe Sapien actor Doug Jones:
And for the Pale Man, every scene with Doug in that movie was compiled in the fact that the Faun and the Pale Man were makeup jobs that were blind. Doug couldn’t see almost at all, you know? In the case of the Pale Man, he was looking through a pinpoint the size of a needle, and in the case of Pan, he was looking through a similar difficult situation because the eyes in the Pan makeup were beautifully rendered acrylic pieces, and he had to do a couple of the scenes in Spanish, blind, walking through uneven terrain and in the one scene, in the dark, walking backwards in Spanish, semi blind.
At a panel with Doug Jones some years ago (after which he gave Jack a noogie), he told the story of the first time he ever met Guillermo Del Toro, on the set of Mimic, after which he gave the director his card and told him to call if he ever needed a tall skinny guy for anything. Five years later Del Toro was designing the look of Ape Sapien for Hellboy and pulled Jones’ card out of his wallet and gave him a call.
Not only is Doug Jones very cool, but his loyalty to Guillermo Del Toro makes me love both guys that much more. I actually prefer Del Toro’s Spanish language films to his other work, though, which is why I was saddened to read this bit:
I very much wanted to make little ghost stories in Mexican towns in the provinces, or to adapt the great Mexican novels that depict Mexico as a very magical dark land [...]to be able to go back to a culture that I feel like – I think I am the proudest of the dialogue I write in Spanish, if you see Cronos, or more importantly for me, if you catch a small short film called Dona Lupe which is available on a collection called Cinema 16, this short is truly truly poorly produced, but has some really great dialogue, and I love the characters. It’s a very miserable production, it cost me exactly $2,000, and it looks the $2,000, but the characters talk the way I talk in Spanish, I recognize my voice in there. I believe that as I die in my deathbed the one tear i know I will shed is for these movies that I never made.