David Harbour came to New York City to raise a little hell. In anticipation of Hellboy, his upcoming film, Harbour stopped by New York Comic Con with co-stars Daniel Dae Kim (Ben Daimio) and Sasha Lane (Alice Monaghan) as well as creator Mike Mignola for a special event.
"I had been drawing for Marvel and DC for ten years... all I ever wanted to do was to draw monsters," Mignola recalled. "Certainly didn't expect it to go on 25 years. Certainly didn't expect it to lead to things like this.
"I never believe any of this stuff is going to happen, but the original Hellboy producers have been working like dogs forever to try to get another film and I was like, yeah, yeah, sure," he continued. "They picked out the story they wanted to do, which I thought was kind of a strange place to start, but I realized we didn't want to redo what we've done before... Never, ever thought anything would happen... I'm a huge fan of the Descent... I'm starting to believe now it's happening."
"Initially, in my 20s, I was never like a comic book guy when I was growing up. I was more like video games for some reason," Harbour said with a laugh. "I never grew up with Captain America and Thor and things like that... a bunch of the arsty friends from the East Village were very into these graphic novels, of which some of them were a bit more superheroy and some of them were a bit more pedestrian. They introduced me to the Hellboy comics." He said it was the art that drew him in initially. "The red of Helloy, the blues and blacks... I saw both Guillermo del Toro/Ron Perlman films, which I loved. That's sort of how I knew the character. Then they called me up and were like, 'You want to play Hellboy?'
"The minute David showed up, my wife said, 'That guy could play Hellboy," Mignola shared. "Two weeks later I get a call from the producer: 'What do you think of David Harbour as Hellboy?'... Shout out to my wife!"
"So they hit me up and I did my first audition and when they hit me back for another one, I was like, 'Whaaat? Okay!' So yeah, I did it! I'm no damsel in distress," Lane shared. "She gets kidnapped by fairies."
"I came onto this project after someone who ended up being a good friend of mine, Ed Skrien, he stepped away from the project and they were looking for someone who fit the bill and I happened to be available," Kim said. "I've become a big fan of Mike's work. Seeing an Asian-American in these types of comic books is --" At this, he was drowned out by resounding applause.
"It's such a long, complicated thing, how this stuff comes aboutIt's the biggest Hellboy storyline I've ever come up with." He revealed the film is inspired by the "Wild Hunt" storyline and "the books that are bookending it."
On Milla Jovovich's Blood Queen, Mignola said, "She is very bad, but very good from her perspective, which is what I like in a villain."
"She's trying to kill everything and everyone around her," Jovovich said in a video message.
"She's like my favorite!" Harbour explained, then added, "Sorry" as an aside. "She's amazing. I've known her from these films... It almost sounds weird, but I kind of grew up with Milla. The Fifth Element! She's done so many movies, I was kind of intimated... She wound up just being lovely and really excited about the project, which you don't always get or expect from big stars coming into a project like this."
"She was really interested in the whole movie, and really put her all into it. She's a beautiful actress and human being," he added.
"Milla was also my favorite," Kim joked. "Working with David astonishing to me, because -- first of all -- you're used to seeing him from Stranger Things... to this incredibly transformative makeup work... when he walked on set, I didn't recognize him... this guy made some really big, bold choices as Hellboy."
"Having these two with me the entire time made me feel so comfortable. I fell wildly in love with Hellboy," Lane shared. "When he takes off his makeup, I'm like, 'Eh, you're already.'"
"I just really love seeing everything that popped off and whatnot," she added.
"There are CGI elements... but there's also a lot of practical stuff," Harbour revealed. "Like crazy practical makeup. It is a monster a movie like right out of Frankenstein updated to 2018!... I love practical stuff... when you have guys like Joel Harlow..." He revealed the poster was completely practical, aside from the flaming sword. "The monster you see there existed in front of us... and, according to Sasha Lane, I'm more attractive in it."
"Joel is in demand! He had like Johnny Depp calling him. He wanted to do Hellboy," Harbour added. "He made us these rings! Like these Hellboy rings. There are so many monsters! Not just Hellboy. There are multiple scenes where two monsters are just having a scene together."
"We went in for makeup tests. We did a couple different makeup tests... but I went in one day and we had sort of the whole complete piece," he said, then pointed to the poster. "As you can probably tell, that is just my body, painted red. No, there is some augmentation to that body, makeup-wise... It had just been a head at one point." Evidently, the head piece was so big they had to accentuate his other features."
"It's just very expressive. It really did feel like a second skin," he explained.
"I love what Guillermo did. Guillermo, when I first met with him... it was very clear this was a guy with a vision... I've done the comic my way. You make whatever changes you want to make. I'd rather see a Guillermo film rather than a half-assed idea of what a Mignola movie should be," Mignola shared. "Guillermo is so unique, and he made kind of his beautiful fantasy films and Niell took a much more darker, grounded... horror film."
"It's just a lot different! In this way, even approaching the character, I was nervous because Ron's performance is very iconic and he's a great Hellboy. I love what he did. And so I was like, 'I'm not going to try to imitate that. I'm going to try to do my own thing,'" Harbour said. "My approach was a little bit more rubbed down and dirty. My Hellboy feels a little younger. Like he's got hair, which is a big thing, but he's also got a little more inner turmoil, a little more conflict with Broom... in that way, it has a completely different feel. I can enjoy both, and I hope you can as well. To me, this character deserves a life and more movies. I love this character!... I want to get down to the core of Mike's stuff, which is horror in a certain way... I think we achieve some of that in this... There's a lot of jokes and stuff... To me, this is what I wanted to do -- what Niell and I wanted to do."
To introduce the footage, he said, "This is exclusively for New York Comic Con. There's nothing to say! It's fun! Enjoy yourself." Subsequently, a two-minute trailer rolled.
"There's a lot of big fights, and there's a lot of swinging that big Right Hand," he revealed. "It's a really fun weapon."
"I had a lot of stuff with him. He plays my dad, my adoptive father, Broom. He's an incredible actor," he shared. "I've seen all his movies... he's such a powerful man. Again, I was intimidated. We hit it off like gangbusters... He would text me all the time, like, 'How's it going, son?'... He's so charming. I'd be in this suit, trying to focus on this thing... but whenever I was on set with McShane, he had a million stories."
"Hellboy doesn't belong in either world... Broom does love him. I don't know if he even understands the concept of human love," he added. "It was really easy to do with McShane... some of the scenes I had with him, I would get shaken up after the day."
Mignola revealed there have been conversations about a sequel film. "My hope would be -- this version is so close to the comic that we would be able to go back to the comic and pick out something to do next," he explained. "With the next one, at least we can go back and start with the comic somewhere."
As to the director, Harbour said, "He's a really great director, for horror stuff especially... He knows how to do scares and monsters, especially... At its essence, it is a monster movie! It's a monster horror movie. It's not a superhero movie... even though it has some of those elements... He's very compassionate... I had a hard time on this movie."
A fan asked if any members of the BPRD -- like Abe Sapian or Liz -- will appear in the film. "Oh my god, I want to say something so bad! And Lionsgate told me not to say anything!" Harbour groaned, but added with a sly smile, "I don't know if you'll anybody else from the BPRD."
Debuting in theaters on April 12, 2019, Neil Marshall’s Hellboy stars David Harbour as Hellboy, Ian McShane as Trevor Bruttenholm, Milla Jovovich as Nimue, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, Penelope Mitchell as Ganeida and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio.