Hooves on the Ground: NYCC Hellboy Panel Report
Top Image Credit: Marion Curtis
Editors note: this is a play-by-play rundown from the 2018 NYCC panel by our new writer, Alex. He’s not a professional journalist, and this was done using a camera phone and note pad, so be nice about the photo quality. We weren’t able to do it in real time, so we decided to take a little time preparing things. It’s still presented in a mostly chronological order, though divided by subject. It contains opinion statements, but is mostly just a report of what we missed by not being there in person. Stay tuned at the end for a juicy video clip!
Pre-Show Warm-up, 15 minutes before panel started.
Brought up 3 Hellboy Cosplayers, asked them quick questions and gave them Monster Energy Coffee.
While going around the room asking people what they are excited about, David Harbour’s personal trainer for the movie Don Saladino made himself known.
The pre-show host brought him on stage and asked him questions.
Don Saladino trained Hugh Jackman for Wolverine films, Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool, Scarlett Johansson for Avengers, and others.
Stated that Harbour was really enthusiastic, stuck to his bulk up diet and was working out heavily to get big and muscular for the role (after the “dad-bod” of Stranger Things).
Claims that before Harbour went off to film the movie, he was able to deadlift 400 pounds.
Stated that they have an app called Playbook that shows off some of Harbour’s workouts. Possible that David’s videos will be on the instagram account @playbook_app.
Clark Collis, Senior Editor at Entertainment Weekly, moderated the panel.
First out, to grand applause was Mike Mignola. Mike was second to Dave in the most interaction with the audience and moderator.
Second was Daniel Dae Kim. He wasn’t engaged as often as Mike and Dave, and his answers were always positive and professional.
Third was Sasha Lane. Sasha is the youngest, and it is obvious in the way she interacted with the audience, moderator, and other actors. She brings a youthful energy to the team, and her young, strong female presence is a welcome addition. She did seem more like the younger sister of the team.
Finally, to even greater applause, and hamming it up, was David Harbour. Dave is very good with crowds, humor, and interaction. He spoke the most, and the audience was very receptive.
Neil Marshall, Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich could not attend due to other commitments, but Milla sent a Video message from South Africa.
Throughout the panel, regular references to Del Toro film, that they all love and respect, but they wanted to do something new.
Harbour States that NYCC is better than SDCC, which brings explosive applause.
Mike, always humble, talked about his preference of drawing monsters, and retreads the beginnings of Hellboy, and said that he is starting to believe that the film is happening. Harbour states, “You’re starting to believe that now?!” Again, applause and laughter.
Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin(original Hellboy producers) pushed for this movie and chose the parts of the story they thought would be best for the film, then Mike helped them move parts of the story around to fit a better narrative. They also suggested Neil Marshall.
On Dave Harbour Entering the picture as Hellboy
Mignola related a story that he and his wife were watching Stranger Things. Mike’s wife says re: Harbour “That guy should play Hellboy.” Two weeks later he received the call that David was interested. “Shout out to my wife,” said Mignola.
“I love that, Chief Hopper, fat, not able to fit in his jeans, outside on the deck, smoking a cigarette, hung-over: you’re like ‘Hellboy!’”- Dave Harbour
David Harbour: grew up an artsy kid in the East Village, and was a gamer, not a comic book fan. In his 20’s his “artsy East Village friends” introduced him to Hellboy, and the art drew him in.
On Sasha Lane joining the cast
“ So they hit me up [laughter] and ... I did my first audition, and when they hit me back for another one I was like...” [surprise]… “I mean i just think its cool, cuz I ain’t no damsel in distress, I’m out there on my own. She’s such a badass.”
Sasha clearly identified with a more active version of Alice Monaghan.
On Daniel Dae Kim joining the cast.
“Well I auditioned for Sasha’s role. For some reason I didn’t get it, I’m still bitter.”
Dae Kim brings up the situation with Ed Skrein. He mentioned that the two of them are friends, and that Ed Skrein stepped down out of respect to the character. There was a tension in the air with the audience, a couple of random applause. Then Kim told the audience to give it up to Ed Skrein, in a way acknowledging that Skrein was not responsible for the debacle so no one should hold him accountable. The audience gave a hearty applause and the tension was gone.
Kim says they called him in to replace Skrein, and he loved the opportunity to represent an Asian American character in this film, and that the character was very interesting.
Milla jovovich video segment
Mostly speaking to it being a joy to work on the film and with the material, with Mike and Dave.
Makes a joke regarding Nimue wanting to meet Hellboy and be best friends, before revealing that Nimue “wants to kill everyone and everything.”
David Harbour on preparation for the part
During the panel, David Harbour discusses his preparation for the film, mentioning Don Saladino. When the crowd cheered he was surprised, remarking “wow, a lot of Don Saladino fans here.” not realizing that Saladino was in the audience, which resulted in more cheering and laughter at his acknowledgment.
Talks about preparing for stunt training by purchasing hockey pads, a scuba suit, hockey gloves, and a boxing helmet with glued-on horns, so he could feel ready for working with the actual prosthetic suit.
David Harbour mentions the prosthetic work by Joel Harlow.
Joel was very enthusiastic about working with them and wanted to be very hands on every step of the way.
Mentions hours in makeup every day.
Says that there is a lot of CGI but an impressive amount of practical effects. Makes the comparison that it is better than Thanos, but the audience reacts poorly. “Ooooh” and he laughs stating that twitter would report that “David Harbour hates Marvel.”
Harbour constantly texted Mignola with questions before they just had a late night call discussing the film and character.
Her character history will be intact; kidnapped by fairies and affected by that magically.
Preparation for the part included lots of stunt training, Alice Monaghan is going to have an active action role? Mentions flips and punching?
Sasha let slip that she uses a stick to beat up witches.
Daniel Dae Kim
Training in Bulgaria in the winter in preparation for “intense fight scenes”. Sasha Lane injured her hand hitting Daniel’s gun. Does this mean they fight each other or just from close proximity?
Mignola/Harbour On Trevor Bruttenholm/Ian McShane
Bruttenholm and Hellboy have a complicated relationship.
Bruttenholm loves Hellboy but is tough on him, more punishing, preparing him for life by raising him to kill other monsters like him, which causes tension between them.
John Hurt and Ian McShane were very good friends.
Per Harbour - Ian McShane would text him, referring to him as “Son” which made Harbour refer to McShane as “dad” in his responses.
Harbour on Milla Jovovich
Said she’s iconic and that he grew up watching her, referencing the Fifth Element and Resident Evil.
He comments on the way she approaches acting. She is interested in not just her part, but the whole picture and where her role fits in; enthusiastic.
On the sneak peek Footage:
Strangely, a very fun tone.
Soundtrack is “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol.
There is a shot of a museum, SWAT team aiming their guns, a car pulls up, Hellboy gets out of the back and a SWAT guy shoots at him, hitting the door of the car. He says, “I’m on your side!” Nod to del Toro film?
Hellboy’s face is a bit more unsettling and scary that the GDT version, and his hair is longer and always down.
The R-Rating is likely going to be earned with gore and violence. Scene of Hellboy shooting someone in the head and it doesn’t shy from showing it pass through head and blood flying everywhere.
Scene of the Wild Hunt on horseback through the woods, complete with the Head of the Hunt wearing giant stag’s head and green cape.
Scene of Hellboy falling out of a house that looks like it might be the Baba Yaga’s, into the snow below.
Scene of Hellboy and a monster fighting (possibly Gruagach).
Daimio comments “I thought we’re supposed to be fighting monsters, not working with them.” Hellboy responds, “Who you calling a monster pal, you look in the mirror recently, scarface?”
Scene of Nimue standing in front of a tree (Yggdrasil?), opening a portal, with Gruagach passing through.
Gruagach is massive instead of diminutive, halfway between the Gruagach we know and Grom.
Trevor Bruttenholm is younger, and instead of kind and nurturing is seemingly tougher, more critical, and complex. ”Some dad’s get their kids Legos,” as he holds up his giant gun.
Character asks Hellboy about the right hand: “Does it do anything special?” Hellboy responds, “Yeah, it smashes things real good,” as Hellboy punches a panel to get a stopped elevator to move.
Hellboy meeting Nimue, “Sorry, Am I interrupting something?”
“On the contrary, you’ve arrived just in time.,” Nimue replies as lighting strikes a temple or grave.
Hellboy, emerging from a hole, possibly where the lightning struck, has full-sized horns, the crown of the apocalypse, and a flaming sword in hand (Excalibur?) which ends the footage.
A tag line for the film “Saving the world for the hell of it.”
When a fan from the audience inquired about other members of the BPRD (Sherman, Sapien), Dave and Mike both got very giddy and both wished they could say something. Harbour had a large, guilty grin and made what people are saying werelobster hand movements?
Per the footage, Hellboy is not hidden from the world like in the Del Toro Films
Mignola preferred to see Del Toro make a great Del Toro film, rather than someone else make a Half Assed Hellboy film.
Mike confirms that the story is comprised of Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, The Storm and the Fury, and other stories interlaced within.
All in all, I think we, as Hellboy fans, should be excited, as they seem to be pulling heavily from the source material. Dave Harbour’s portrayal of Hellboy himself seems to be more in-line with the character we know from the comics. From what was shown, he has fully embraced the role, and his enthusiasm on stage in discussing his part, is contagious.
For fans of the comics, we are all likely skeptical of all of the major character changes with Bruttenholm, Daimio, and Monaghan. While I share these concerns, I am equally excited that they addressed most of my issues with the Del Toro versions. While the footage shown focused on the humour and action, the general talk on stage was that it is definitely horror, and the poster image released showing a Vampire, Gruagach/Grom, and other monsters, shows that they are leaning towards the gruesome.
April 12th cannot come fast enough for me. I hope that this is the beginning of a new cinematic universe. Drawing from Mignola’s work, i believe we can be given a series of connected films that is immune to “superhero fatigue.”
Editors Post Script - We have some additional Hellboy 2019 material coming before the release date, so check back for more on our big red smasher on Mignolaverse.com