An army is going to be unleashed on moviegoers in July; a golden army that only one man can stop. Ron Perlman returns to the role of the titular hero in “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” as he tries to stop the forces of the Faerie world from destroying ours. Including the animated films released on DVD, this will be Perlman’s fourth tour of duty with Mike Mignola’s Bureau or Paranormal Research and Defense and, coincidentally enough, his fourth outing with writer/director Guillermo del Toro, with whom Perlman first worked on “Cronos” all the way back in 1993.
The sequel finds living with teammate and girlfriend Liz Sherman, but all is not well. “They’re past the honeymoon period and into that period where the heat has to be replaced by a real kind of admiration,” Ron Perlman told CBR News. “And it turns out there is none. I am just too much of an annoyance to Liz. Our relationship becomes threatened and I don’t handle it well because I come to realize very early on that without Liz I don’t have a reason to live. She’s the thing that makes me put my boots on every day and go out and fight the world and it’s threatened. I am very vulnerable through the whole film and very compromised through the whole film and things that happen to me as a result of that color the story.”
Liz Sherman has been a touchstone for the character of Hellboy since the death of his father figure, Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm, in the first movie. “[Hellboy’s] nature as a destroyer and his nurture is passed down to him by [Professor Broom], who rears him and teaches him how to use all of his powers for the good of mankind, rather then for the destruction,” Perlman explained. “So he’s kind of betwixt and between, he’s not a member of any particular race and he’s not a member of any particular church. He doesn’t know who he’s supposed to [be], what he’s supposed to worship. Liz gives him all the reason he needs to never have to ask those questions. As long as there’s Liz, there’s a reason to live, there’s a reason to get up in the world and fight for the world. Without her, he’s at sea and this is what he’s looking at in the second film."
Without his anchor to humanity and faced with a threat from a world of creatures not unlike himself, Hellboy is confused as to where he actually belongs. "There’s a dialogue that goes on between the character Luke [Goss] plays, the Prince, who’s trying to resurrect this world of his that’s lain dormant for thousands of years as a result of this uneasy truce that was made between his father and the human world,” Perlman explained. "Everything was on the brink of annihilation and the golden army gets built and then the King realizes he has the power to destroy the [human] world and the [human] world realizes it [as well]. So a truce is made and everybody goes their separate ways, and when this movie opens Luke’s character decides that the humans are not worthy of holding true to our promises and our treaties and our truces, because the human world have not been great stewards of the Earth.
“Throughout the struggle between he and I, he is constantly reminding me that I am one of him, his people [and] not one of the world’s people. Why in the world would I want to devote my energies to fighting for a race of humanity that lacks nobility and is basically capable of building more parking lots and meter maids rather then doing something truly magnanimous and noble and he gets under my skin, he really does make me start to explore that. It’s resonating inside of Hellboy and [the Prince] is making way more sense then I want him to be making cause I just want to kill him. That’s another one of the aspects of what you get in a Guillermo del Toro comic book movie that you wouldn’t get anywhere else."
Another theme of a Guillermo del Toro film is monsters. Perlman agreed, "In all of Guillermo’s movies, the monsters are the ones who are the most human and the humans are the ones who are the most monstrous. He’s been playing in that world ever since he made his first film and that’s a theme that fascinates him for all the right reasons. And even if you don’t see it necessarily on the surface of the entertainment he is giving you, it’s there and this is why you are so stirred when watching his films for reasons that you can’t even really articulate. There’s so much there that he’s grappling with."
Being a Hellboy film, “The Golden Army” wouldn’t be complete without the B.P.R.D. facing off against some incredible monsters, this time including even the Angel of Death itself. Though the monsters Perlman would like to see Hellboy take on are of a slightly different variety. “There’s fifty-eight years of monsters’ asses I would like to kick and I will provide a list upon request,” the actor laughed. “But I do it in movies because if I did it in real life, I’d be in prison right now. Oh you’re talking about fantasy characters? No, I’m talking about agents, managers, and studio executives -- Hellboy versus showbiz!
As for who would win, it would be anyone’s guess. “I would go down trying, man,” Perlman said. “I would go right to the mat.”
But it’s not all just ass kicking for Perlman. “I always like the quieter stuff,” he admitted. “There’s a sequence in [the first film] that starts with [Liz Sherman] telling me she is going out on a date with Myers, and I follow her from rooftop to rooftop. I end up having cookies with this kid on the roof, find out that they’ve killed [Professor Broom], I mourn for him, they have the funeral and it ends with her coming to me and saying 'I hear you’re going to Russia' and we have that scene where I express to her you are what floats my boat and I promise you if you stay with me I’ll take care of you and that whole movement. [The original] 'Hellboy' is kind of unique to comic book movies because its so human and so emotional and so beautifully rendered and those movements in 'Hellboy II: The Golben Army' would probably be my favorite as well."
Now discuss this story in CBR’s TV/Film forum.