– by David Kozlowski

Imagine this: you’re a 40-year-old actor, you’re packing a 20-pound boiler above your belt, and you’re finally getting recognized for decades of character work when you get that seemingly mythical, big movie break. It’s a great role, a once in a lifetime kind of thing except you’re required to get ripped and jacked overnight because you’re playing a superhero who rolls shirtless. Oh, and there’s no hiding your gut, because this film is more practical than CG. In the immortal words of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, “Aww, crap!”

That’s the new reality for actor David Harbour, who’s career-making Sheriff Jim Hopper role, in Netflix’s Stranger Things, jolted his career to AAA status. Thanks to Hopper, Harbour was cast as the big red demon with the Right Hand of Doom in Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot. Life-changing stuff for the veteran performer. It’s pretty great time to be David Harbour, right (except for that getting into shape part)?

Related – Hellboy Reboot To Be Darker And More Character-Focused

We’re officially one year out from the release of Hellboy and Harbour is sharing various bits of information to tide us over — red meat to voracious Hellboy fans. It’s all starting to add-up, however, shaping our expectations for this movie. And what we’re learning is pretty damned cool (well, some of it, anyway).

Harbour spoke with MTV News at the Golden Globes, where he led off with a rather random and cheeky remark:

“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m also a singer, or at least there was a little bit of crooning that Hellboy may or may not do in the film.”

OK, that’s new, but that’s not really what we wanted to know. He continues:

“It was the hardest job I’ve ever done. The action that I’m doing in the movie, the rolling around on the ground and punching — things that a 40-year-old man should not be doing — and on top of that, the tremendous amount of prosthetics and makeup, but at the end of the day we would shoot some pretty beautiful stuff. And pretty unique stuff for this type of universe.”

We’re as in the dark as anybody regarding the “pretty unique stuff” he’s describing, but given the promise of an R-rated, horror-fantasy-superhero movie, we can presume that some risks will be taken. Harbour fills in that gap with his next comment, which most definitely skews different from the typical superhero fare:

“A lot of it [was] very practical. Practical monsters and practical fights — not a lot of CGI.”

That’s pretty surprising, actually. In creator Mike Mignola’s many Hellboy stories, the villains and their machinations often involved full-screen magic, gargantuan octopus monsters, and outsized Nazi experiments. How are they pulling this off? Are they going old school (see: Elf or Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)? We have so many questions! Bottom line, I greatly admire the practical approach, as the CG-spectacles so common to action films these days simply lack weight and substance.

Hellboy‘s principal photography wrapped late last year, so we should be getting a teaser sometime soon. Hopefully, we’ll see clear proof of this emphasis on practical creatures and effects. The more we learn about this Hellboy film, the more excited we get.

Are you surprised to learn that Hellboy will lean on practical creatures and effects? Let us know in the comments down below!

Hellboy hits theaters on January 11, 2019.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.