David Harbour Was Hesitant To Take Over The Role Of Hellboy

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All across the broad spectrum of comic book movies and films based on graphic novels, there are a small handful of actors who are so perfectly cast, we can’t imagine anyone else in the title role.

Think Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, or Heath Ledger as the Joker, or Hugh Jackman, our lord and saviour, as the enraged Wolverine. Each figure brilliantly embodies their on-screen persona to the point that the line between fact and fiction – between actor and character – becomes blurred.

And for many, Ron Perlman was Hellboy. So much so, that the idea of drafting David Harbour into the equation rubbed some people up the wrong way. And that’s nothing to do with Harbour; it’s just that Perlman was so good. So it’s small wonder why the Stranger Things star was so hesitant to pick up the torch as humanity’s unlikely savior.

So it excited me, and I like sort of went back and forth for a long time on it because part of the trepidation was that those films have a certain rabid fan base, the Guillermo del Toro ones, and certainly Ron Perlman did a terrific job and is a great actor,” Harbour said of his predecessor. “And so, I knew that stepping into this would be like—I was scared that people would feel like it was a f**k you to those guys and what they’d done. And so, I was nervous about that.

What sealed the deal for Harbour was the fact that Neil Marshall wanted to create a totally different interpretation of the character, one who could stand on his own two feet without infringing on Perlman’s legacy.

It has to be totally different and it has to be something that I, first of all, am drawn to, and secondly, something that I can excel at as an actor. Which is a much different thing than Ron does. And so, the fact that they were really into that and they wanted to bring new life and sort of a wildly different take on that, I was like, all right, then I’m in. This sounds really great.

Hellboy is due to light up theaters April 12th, and it appears Marshall and Lionsgate have quietly mapped out sequel plans in the event that David Harbour’s horned demon wins over the naysayers. Current tracking estimates a soft $15M-$20M opening for the Harbour-fronted reboot, but let’s hope the film plays well with critics, and enjoys a box office boon as a result.

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