WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the film “Hellboy.” Read at your own risk.
This Thursday, you’ll get your first good look at “Hellboy” — Access Hollywood will premiere the trailer, with a simultaneous launch on Yahoo! Director Guillermo del Toro said that of the effects featured in the easer only 30% are final for the film, with the other 70% technically unfinished. He also noted that they’re saving up the big visual guns for a Super Bowl commercial this February.
The director was on hand to sit with a group of journalists for a special preview of the non-color-corrected trailer, which was inches away from what will be seen Thursday. This reporter was hard pressed to see the seams — the blending of live action and CGI effects was impressive.
del Toro spoke primarily about his experience in Prague. “I love the beers,” he joked, happy to have discovered exactly what “Bohemian” beer is. He noted that on this, his second shoot in Czechoslovakia, having a respect for the culture and a willingness to learn got the local crews to create miracles. During the marathon 110-day shooting schedule, a shot called for a bridge to be demolished. Instead of using miniatures, they built a 130 foot long bridge, and then destroyed it. To accomplish all of this within the confines of their $60 million budget is an amazing accomplishment.
del Toro also talked some about the battle with the Behemoth, a “four story tall” beast, and spoke of “chaos Gods imprisoned in amber … if you know the comic book, this makes more sense to you.” The always enthusiastic director was excited to share these details with the assembled crowd.
The trailer itself plays up the idea of outcasts finding acceptance and safety with each other (literally phrased by David Hyde Pierce as Abe Sapien, most notably, who tells Liz, “If there’s trouble, all us freaks have is each other.”), and showcased a lot of what del Toro learned on “Blade 2.” “‘Blade 2’ was like a dress rehearsal, visually, for ‘Hellboy,'” the director mused. He also pointed out the real intimacy between characters, something he felt was a departure from the Mignola work, where “characters do what they do, and are mysterious.” del Toro pointed out the balance of “authority and frailty” in John Hurt as Professor Bruttenholm (who was encouraged to take the role by his fifteen-year-old), as well as the innocence in Rupert Evans that he could not find in traditional Hollywood actors, “maybe because they were from Hollywood.” He spoke well of Jeffrey Tambor, a late addition to the cast (replacing the over-booked Larry Miller) who took little time to come back with a “yes” once he saw the complicated character, “who’s not a bad guy, but he’s not a good guy. He’s like a politician, and he hates these freaks, the idea of fighting freaks with freaks. He figures that in the end, you’re left with freaks.” del Toro spoke most lavishly about Selma Blair, “who people think of as this comedic actress, from ‘Legally Blonde,'” but said she has “a tragic, dark streak to her” that suited the role of Liz Sherman well.
An interesting tidbit: del Toro originally planned to make Hellboy an animatronic or largely digital character, but had effects wizard Rick Baker and director James Cameron talk him out of it. Baker said that having Hellboy be eight feet tall wasn’t worth it when Baker could do a great job with makeup and prosthetics. Cameron added that the love story could never fly with a digital lead, and that did it for del Toro.
Monday, the “Hellboy” trailer will be available on Apple.com in Quicktime.