TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT... HELLBOY

New di­rec­tor, new star... same old Big Red?

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - JOHN NU­GENT

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Af­ter two adap­ta­tions from di­rec­tor Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy — the de­monic and sar­donic para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tor — is get­ting a re­boot, with Bri­tish di­rec­tor Neil Mar­shall (Game Of Thrones, The De­scent) be­hind the cam­era.

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This film was very nearly Hellboy 3. Del Toro long mooted an­other se­quel, and af­ter 100,000 peo­ple voted pos­i­tively in a Twit­ter poll, agreed to pur­sue it, but later re­ported that “100 per cent the se­quel will not hap­pen”. It re­mains un­clear ex­actly why, but the film’s pro­duc­ers (in­clud­ing comic cre­ator Mike Mig­nola) opted to re­boot without del Toro, rewrit­ing the script ac­cord­ingly.

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Af­ter two films as Big Red, Ron Perl­man chose not to be in­volved in any non-del Toro project. David Har­bour (aka Chief Hop­per from Stranger Things) is the new Hellboy.

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A vo­cal ad­vo­cate and poster boy for “dad bods” (“I stand on the soft shoul­ders of great dad bods be­fore me,” he once tweeted), Har­bour spent ten weeks get­ting into se­ri­ous shape for the role, aided by full body pros­thet­ics. He spent at least two hours ev­ery morn­ing in the make-up chair dur­ing film­ing.

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The first glimpse at the new-look Hellboy de­buted on so­cial me­dia last Septem­ber, de­pict­ing the hero faith­fully — though in a darker hue of red and slightly more un­kempt hair than the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion.

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Orig­i­nally ti­tled Hellboy: Rise Of The Blood Queen (it’s now sim­ply ti­tled Hellboy), the Blood Queen in ques­tion is Nimue (played by Milla Jovovich), an Arthurian sor­cer­ess who at­tempts to de­stroy hu­man­ity.

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Ed Skrein was orig­i­nally cast as Ben Daimio — but chose to leave the role a week later, stat­ing he did not wish to “ob­scure eth­nic mi­nor­ity sto­ries and voices in the arts”. Daniel Dae Kim later took over the part, and ap­plauded Skrein for step­ping down. “He could not have ad­dressed the is­sue more el­e­gantly,” he said.

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Ian Mcshane is Pro­fes­sor Broom — tak­ing over the role from his late close friend John Hurt. “I’m sort of play­ing this part as a slight homage to John,” Mcshane has said.

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It’s partly based on The Wild Hunt sto­ry­line from the comics, which sees Hellboy sum­moned to Eng­land by the se­cre­tive Osiris Club to de­feat an evil army.

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Film­ing took place in late 2017 in the UK and Bul­garia, ahead of a lengthy post-pro­duc­tion process, and has a Jan­uary 2019 re­lease date.

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