David Harbour’s performance over two seasons of Stranger Things revealed an actor of depth and range, which surely gives Hellboy fans a lot to look forward to in the upcoming adaptation or reboot or whatever it is they’re calling it these days. In Stranger Things 2, Harbour expressed a range of emotions, including fear, regret, sadness, and compassion, which significantly rounded out his Jim Hopper character. Will Harbour need to call upon these traits in Hellboy?
As any fan of Mike Mignola’s creation will tell you, Hellboy’s a surprisingly complex character. The Guillermo del Toro films were more action-adventure focused and didn’t really delve into Hellboy’s emotions, beyond pining for Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). However, in the reboot, which is described as an R-rated, horror film, there’s no telling what kinds of emotional beats the narrative will require, but it’s clear from Stranger Things 2 that Harbour has the skills to pull it off (but seriously dude, eat a salad, Hellboy cannot be rocking a boiler).
Hellboy is currently shooting in Bulgaria, where Variety tracked down Harbour to get some insight into his approach to Hopper. Harbour talks about Hopper’s struggle to foster a troubled child, 11/Jane (Millie Bobby Brown), after so recently losing his own daughter:
“It was very complicated for me because they go through a lot together, so for me to play these scenes with a 13-year-old, and be screaming at her, I was having to feel guilty and apologize to her… It was my favorite aspect of the stuff that I was doing. I think this is a great chance to see how broken Jim Hopper is, to see how he really can’t deal with his control issues. He lost a daughter and here he is confronted with another one. All he can think about all day long is that he has kind of a gun to his head: If anything happens to her, he’s not going to be able to survive that again.”
Harbour addresses some stuff he’d like Hopper to do in Stranger Things 3:
“The other thing I want is Jim to get back into some punching mode for Season 3. He didn’t punch anyone in Season 2! I would definitely like him to be running around Hawkins, punching people. The Duffers and I have talked about that for future seasons. We’ve also seen a lot of things, when Eleven goes down to his cellar and sees the boxes, we see a box that says Dad, a box that says New York, a box that says Vietnam. These are little Easter Eggs for Jim, further layers of the onion that can be peeled back. More will be revealed on that front.”
Harbour will most certainly get to punch people (hopefully Nazis) in Hellboy, which is kind of core to the character. He talks about the parallels between Hopper and Hellboy:
“There’s a lot of similarities to be honest! Hopper doesn’t shave his horns, though. He’s not embarrassed about his demonic nature. They’re both sort of people who are flawed creatures, who ultimately clock in and try to do the right thing every day despite the fact that they’re completely broken and messed up. Hellboy does require a lot more makeup, though. For Hopper, I just have to be in the makeup chair for about three minutes so they can highlight the bags under my eyes and then move on. But Hellboy requires a little more time in the makeup chair.”
I definitely appreciate the suggestion that both characters are blue-collar and driven by an innate need for justice. Watching Stranger Things 2 I was often struck by Harbour’s voice, which sounds very much like Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones — another great character that’s due for a reboot and requires a particular type of actor with depth, range, and penchant for punching.
Do you think David Harbour is the right actor to portray Hellboy? Let us know in the comments down below!
Hellboy hits theaters in 2018 (TBD).
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