Loving the alien
DOUG JONES is made up to be playing star Trek: discovery’s Lieutenant saru
YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T recognise Doug Jones if you passed him in the street. The 57-year-old from Indiana has acted for three decades, but his features are masked by prosthetics in most of his biggest roles – from the Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer to Cochise in post-apocalyptic drama Falling Skies.
That theme continues in Star Trek: Discovery, currently showing on Netflix, which sees Jones play Lieutenant Saru, the first Kelpien to join Starfleet. Like all Kelpiens, Saru has hooves instead of feet, stands 6ft 8in tall, and can sense approaching danger.
‘The Kelpiens come from a planet where it’s a predator-or-prey situation.
And my people are the prey. So we are born into a fearful situation. We’re always protecting ourselves. That sounds like a victim but, actually, when you are born into that, you have to develop survival skills, so we’re actually bad-ass fighters.’
This is the first time Kelpiens have featured in the Star Trek universe, and Jones – who first trained as a contortionist – was closely involved in the look and movement of his character. Despite spending two hours in make-up each day to transform into Saru, he reckons he’s had far greater ordeals.
‘To turn into an alien in two hours is mercifully short,’ he says. ‘In Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, when I had to be transformed from head to toe, those were fiveto-seven-hour procedures.’
When it came to his Starfleet uniform, one fitting revolved around how Jones’ backside looked on screen. ‘I have a flat ass and I begged them not to use padding,’ he laughs. ‘It’s been padded for so many creatures.
But I argued it would serve the character better if they left me with the alien ass I was born with. They finally said, “You’re right.” So it’s my own ass in the show!’
DOUG JONES AND, ABOVE, AS STAR TREK’S SARU