SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."
It was more than four years ago that Mike Mignola's Hellboy was first ported to the big screen, but the cast and crew behind the first film have gotten the band back together to produce the highly anticipated sequel and #1 movie at the U.S. box office, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army." Rising star Guillermo del Toro, who directed both films, helped save the film franchise from fading away into obscurity after the first film's production company closed up shop by finding it a new home at Universal Studios.
Luke Goss and Anna Walton play Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala, respectively, twin Elven siblings who share an inexplicable mental and physical bond. It is Nuada who seeks to break the truce between the Humans and the Elves by reactivating the mythical Golden Army. But Nuala cannot support her brother's actions, and throws in with Hellboy and his fellow B.P.R.D. agents to keep her brother from attaining his goal.
Goss has worked with Guillermo del Toro and "Hellboy II" star Ron Perlman before, playing the villainous Nomak in "Blade II," and Anna Walton plays opposite Perlman in the upcoming "Mutant Chronicles," which Perlman revealed would be screened later this month at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
CBR News, along with other members of the press, spoke to Luke Goss and Anna Walton at a press event last week.
Both of your characters take opposing philosophical stands in "Hellboy II," stands that the audience may or may not disagree with, depending on which side of the fence they're sitting on. Nuada believes going to war is the right thing to do and Nuala believes in honoring the truce.
Luke Goss: Well, Guillermo said to me, "Luke, Nuada is right." That was a directive he gave me, and obviously whatever directives he gave to the other people are there's, but mine certainly was "Nuada is right." And I'm with you also, I would do what he does. I've been raised to honor the agreement, I've been raised to have honor and nobility in the sense of our people, my father's people. So it's not like we're twisted on that, but I can't accept the demise of them inevitably, and her death. I've tried to approach it from many angles, I simply cannot allow that to happen.
Anna Walton: As them being almost the same person, she understands that and recognizes it, but she's in a very difficult position because she has to be that resistance for him. For both of them it's about honor, and she's agreed to her father that she'll do whatever it takes to keep the truce in place. I don't think that's necessarily that easy. Nuada is the part of her that believes in the justice of their people, so that's why she has to be the one that's being responsible and trying to hold the truce together.
Goss: You know, it's fascinating, when I did the scene at the end of the movie and I looked at my sister and Anna was there in the scene, which was a great help because absolutely character spills over, I had so much love for her. In the costume she was looking so beautiful and demure and honorable in what she'd done. It was kind of like she'd saved me from something quite horrific and choices that may have been made. Like the question I ask, "Which holocaust should be chosen?" It's the ultimate act of selflessness when she actually takes her life. As much as she's stopping the army from me personally, it felt, when I was doing the scene, like she was protecting me.
Luke, was it fun portraying a kind of villain in a movie like "Hellboy II?"
Goss: Absolutely. It's a job that's got to be done. It can be intimidating, without doubt, when you start the process of kind of working Nuada's mindset and physicality and things.
You perform a lot of swordplay in the film. How much preparation did you have to do?
Goss: Nine weeks of training. I had so much help. I saw the guys the very first day, and they're all so gifted and talented, athletes. And they're like, "That's great." On the second day I'm like, "It wasn't, was it?" "No, it's rubbish, but you'll be okay." So, you know, weeks and weeks in, you finally start to think, "I might actually pull this off." The hardest thing actually was to do it on set. We'd never rehearsed ever with costume. You'd think, "That would make sense." We never had. But it was a lot of fun for sure.
Anna, do you see your character as the Shakespearean tragic character of this piece?
Walton: Well, I hadn't ever thought of it like that. I suppose it is tragic. But I think she also is there to represent the love story with her and Abe, it's another take on the sort of interspecies marriage thing, the fact that it doesn't matter what you look like, the beauty inside, which is one of Guillermo's themes in the film.
How did you both feel when you finally got a chance to take a look at yourselves in full makeup, full costume?
Goss: It was a lot of fun. The thing people don't always realize, you know, they think you get your costumes way before, but there's fittings and fittings and fittings -- I mean dozens. So I didn't get my finished, finished costume and complete look all tied together until my first day of principal photography. Of course, I'd been in versions of the costume. When you stand there the first day and you look in the mirror, you can't wait to at least try and see if you can bring this man to life. It's an amazing feeling.
Walton: The only difficult thing I found was, I had actually eight makeup tests, and so before we started filming I was so focused on getting Nuala's look right, which is frustrating because at that point you're establishing your character and you don't really want to be focusing too much on what you look like, you want it to just be normal to you. Once you start filming, you just kind of forget about what you look like.
Goss: You want to know your face, don't you, so when you're imagining interactions and back stories and things, and internal monologues that no one's every going to see, it's nice to know the guy that you are. And with a movie like this, you never have that problem in film because you are the face. When you're waiting to see that evolution, you have to almost wait to fill in a couple of blanks. It's only a movie like this that that problem arises.
What surprised you both about Guillermo del Toro as a director?
Walton: Everything, really. I didn't really know what to expect. I'd seen his work, but didn't obviously know him as a person. I was just on a daily basis fascinated to watch him working, and his constant involvement in every aspect of the filmmaking. And the fact that he was always creating and always drawing and always going around tweaking the little monsters -- from the slightest detail, you know, the ears needed to be moving a little bit more on one of the creatures or something. And I don't know how he slept. I don't think he did sleep.
Goss: He'd go straight to the edit suite after filming to check on how that was coming along, and then a few hours of rest and back.
Walton: It was inspiring. You felt like the least you could do was deliver the same amount of energy as he had.
Goss: I've worked with him before, I've seen him work, and the one thing about Guillermo is he doesn't gueses, he just does not guess. It's not like, "We can work this out, maybe we'll do this," there's an absolute knowledge of filmmaking, and the process of filmmaking. He knows its limitations, and maybe he might even be able to stretch those limitations in a pioneering kind of way. I was like a kid in a candy store, I couldn't wait to get back on that set with him. It's intimidating, but it's also encouraging. You can't help but grow, working with him.
Any chance you guys will be headed out to New Zealand for del Toro's "The Hobbit" next year?
Goss: I've sent a number of notes under Guillermo's door. I also took out some real estate space saying, "Vote for me for 'The Hobbit.'"
Who would you like play? Do you know the book?
Goss: Not really. It's more the case that I want to work with Guillermo again on anything he does. I think that would be a lot of fun. The thing is, it's really futile wanting, hoping or wishing, Guillermo casts the people he thinks are right to fit the role in every way. If he's happy with it, then that's what goes. And he knows where I am, and I know he doesn't hate me, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.
The thing about Guillermo, he's very loyal to the people he works with. It's a lot to do with human spirit, it's not really Box Office or any of the other things that are considered in a movie of that size.
Walton: Nothing comes before knowing that somebody is right for a role. I remember when I came for rehearsals and I'd done the auditions in London, and he said, "Do you want to know why you got the role?" And I said, "Okay." He said, "It's an energy thing," and I think that's quite insightful into the way he decides on his cast. It's more even than whether you look right for the role, it's an essence and an energy.
Goss: It's very courageous, isn't it? Like, a lot more courageous than some of the processes in this town. Sometimes I've seen things that don't really have a lot to do with the search for the right person necessarily, opposed to economics and stuff like that.
Walton: He'll certainly fight very hard if he believes in you.
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