Mike Mignola's Hellboy is one of the most beloved cult comic book characters of all time, and Guillermo del Toro's double bill of devilishly smart, practical effects heavy 2000s movies—Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army—cemented the character's place as a pop culture classic. Now that we're aware of a new vision of Mignola's definitive demonic do-gooder coming our way in Neil Marshall's Hellboy, (previously Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen) it's our mission to find out everything there is to know about the newest incarnation of the trench-coated, cigar-chomping, Nazi-punching icon that is Hellboy.
Update 08/21/2018 - We've been hungrily waiting for more news about the yet to be titled Hellboy reboot that is hitting screens early next year, and luckily star David Harbour has been chatting about Big Red over at Vanity Fair. “It’s a classically complicated hero. He’s a creature that was meant to bring about the end of the world, and he just sort of wants to be a good guy. He’s got that complexity to him. He’s also a monster who lives among human beings, so he’s in a sense fighting for human beings against his fellow monsters, and yet the humans hate him because they fear him and they think he’s weird looking and everything.” Harbour explained.
He also compared his new red hued hero to his fan favorite character on Stranger Things . “There’s that question of, why am I fighting this battle? Just because of some sense of justice, or some sense of good? It’s a really interesting question that sort of is at the core of him, that he struggles with . . . I know that Mignola, Neil and Lloyd all watched Stranger Things and saw that in what I did there, which is similar. He has a heart that’s really good and with a lot of this crusted-over stuff. What I’m dealing with in Hellboy is a lot different, bigger in a certain way. It’s very Shakespearean. It’s demons and witches and stuff like that. But it has a similar core to a dude who’s trapped in horrible circumstances who’s just trying to be a good guy.”
Update 06/06/2018 - It's been a while since we got any info about the currently in production Hellboy film, but during a chat with io9, Big Red's creator Mike Mignola opened up about the evolution of Hellboy and why his comicbook creation isn't really like any other superhero movie. "Well, I mean, if anything, we’re trying to do something very different. Basically, there’s no part of Hellboy that was ever going to be like other superhero movies. And the more Marvel stuff there is, the more DC stuff there is, Hellboy never really feels like—even in the [Guillermo] del Toro things—a superhero movie. It’s so much “big teams of guys, in costumes, running around and saving the world from big cosmic menace stuff...” I believe the new movie will feel even less like a regular superhero thing. The idea with this one was to make it play much less like a superhero film, to downplay the superhero elements even more than del Toro did. This one is much more folklore/mythology/horror, and not “big team rushing into to do battle with whatever kind of stuff." Mignola explained.
Update 04/11/2018 - Keep your eyes peeled, Hellboy fans, as it looks like the PR train has begun for the Neil Marshall helmed reboot, and the blood queen herself Milla Jovovich shared an image of the first official promotional banner that we've seen in the wild. If you want to hunt it down, the Mike Mignola drawn artwork is at Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Read below for the rest all the gory details on the new Hellboy movie...
Who is Hellboy?
Created in 1993 by comic book writer-artist Mike Mignola, Hellboy A.K.A. Anung Un Rama is a demon who was summoned to Earth by Nazi occultists looking to change their fortunes in World War II. His arrival was heralded by a fireball which appeared in the ruins of a church, and he was rescued by United States military and Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm, who gave him the moniker "Hellboy." The Professor raised him on a New Mexico airbase that housed the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).
An almost ageless demon with the mind of the mind of a teenage boy and the attitude to match, Hellboy soon became the primary agent for BPRD. "Big Red" teamed up with a variety of human and quasi-human characters to protect Earth from supernatural foes. Some of his most regular allies include a pyrotechnic named Liz Sherman, an amphibian humanoid called Abe Sapien, and an ectoplasmic psychic known as Johann Kraus. Hellboy is unique in the world of comics as Mike Mignola and publisher Dark Horse Comics told one continuous and contained story over 24 years with the two main title books, Hellboy and Hellboy in Hell. Mignola ended Hellboy's journey on the page in 2016, but this new filmic incarnation means we haven't seen the last of the "Son of the Fallen One" yet.
Who is Hel(l)ming Hellboy?
After years of talks about a third installment in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy movie series, lead by fans and Hellboy himself Ron Perlman, and a del Toro Twitter poll to see if there was still fan interest in the movie.
Informal poll (let's see how many votes we get in 24 hours)
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) January 18, 2017
Mike Mignola sent shockwaves through the comic book world when he announced there would be a new R-rated film focused about the well-meaning demon without del Toro or Ron Perlman, the actor considered by many to be the definitive Hellboy.
Leading to a bittersweet Twitter love in between del Toro and Perlman
I LOVE you too Perl- https://t.co/94ljKRb6VI
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) May 9, 2017
Though this interaction made it seem like their may be friction between the two camps, Ron Perlman recently posted a picture of himself at dinner with renowned nerd and comedian Patton Oswalt, plus the brand new "Big Red" David Harbour!
So who will be taking the helm of the newest incarnation of Big Red himself? That would be English director Neil Marshall, the man who made the female focused cult horror hit The Descent and his break out B-movie horror comedy hit Dog Soldiers. Marshall's genre background hints that this celluloid vision of Hellboy will lean heavily into its horror roots.
And accepting that a portal to the netherworld doesn't crack open and render Earth as we know it the spoils of a fiery hellscape at some point during the next year, we've got ourselves a surefire release date for the new Hellboy movie. The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Lionsgate will release the film on January 11, 2019, ostensibly in an effort to combat the deep winter chills and post-New Years blues with some hot, demonic fun. Mark your calendars!
Cast and Crew
It's been a couple of months since we got any solid Hellboy news but in a recent interview with Collider, David Harbour opened up about his time on the movie, and bringing the world of Mike Mignola's cult comic to life. Harbour shared the experience was far from easy stating, "It was the hardest shoot I’ve ever done, primarily because there are just so many stunts in it. It’s a very action-packed movie."He also waxed lyrical about the theatrical scope and emotional resonance of Neil Marshall's reboot.
"To me, it’s very Shakespearean. I grew up doing regional Shakespeare and when Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, there’s something about that that you don’t really do in film anymore. We rarely see an indie film where you have an emotional pathos where somebody sees a ghost. This is a palette where you can have demons and ghosts and big creatures and things that are epic, in that way. That was super fun!" Harbour said.
Holy Smokes! It's Hellboy. David Harbour has clearly been hitting the crossfit, and this darkly lit promo shot shared on the Hellboy official twitter once again leans into the hard R rating that the creators have been so passionate about.
— Hellboy (@HellboyMovie) September 13, 2017
In an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter, it's been revealed that Hellboy's adoptive father, Professor Broom, will be played by none other than American Gods' very own Ian McShane. The splendid British character actor has been winning rave reviews for his portrayal of Mr. Wednesday in the hit Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's cult classic bestseller. McShane's casting leans heavily into the more serious tone that Hellboy: RotBQ's R-rating promises. With memorable appearances in Deadwood, American Horror Story: Asylum, and Babylon 5 as well, McShane already has a huge fanbase who'll undoubtedly be exhilarated by this latest news.
We finally have our Major Ben Daimio! Variety reports that Daniel Dae Kim is in talks to play the character in Lionsgate's upcoming reimagining of Mike Mignola's cult comic.
The Hawaii 5-0 star--Kim recently left the CBS show after the network refused to pay him the same as his white co-stars--will be replacing Ed Skrein, who left the Hellboy reboot after an outcry at the whitewashing of the beloved Japanese-American B.P.R.D member who has the power to turn into a jaguar when in distress. Though this is a definite step in the right direction it's important to note that Daniel Dae Kim is a Korean-American actor, rather than Japanese-American like Daimio. Though this is progress it's clear that Hollywood still has a long way to go.
A Deadline report has announced that Resident Evil's Milla Jovovich is in talks to play the ex-titular Blood Queen, in Neil Marshall's reimagining of Mike Mignola's cult classic comic. Who is the Blood Queen? What does this mean for the recently announced Resident Evil reboot? Is Neil Marshall secretly Paul WS Anderson in disguise? Keep your eyes peeled for more announcements coming thick and fast out of the Hellboy camp, as they are set to begin shooting any day...
News continues to roll out of the Hellboy camp with an exciting new potential addition to the cast. American Honey's Sasha Lane, is according to a Hollywood Reporter exclusive in talks to join the movie! Her breakout role in Andrea Arnold's indie hit about a group of teens selling magazine subscriptions in the Midwest garnered her rave reviews and she would be an intriguing addition to the film, especially as it's quite likely that she would be playing Liz Sherman Hellboy's love interest and on/off leader of the BPRD...
Penelope Mitchell best known for her roles in Hemlock Grove and The Vampire Diaries has joined the ever growing Neil Marshall helmed reboot as Ganeida an "elder witch." Mitchell has horror chops from her previous two television roles so it'll be very exciting to see what she brings to the proverbial table.
At the end of September THREE new cast members were announced, joining the ever growing roster of stars are Sophie Okonedo, Brian Gleeson, and Alistair Petrie. According to Deadline, Okonedo will play Lady Hatton, "A resident seer at the Osiris Club, an ancient English club dedicated to uncovering supernatural mysteries," Petrie is playing Lord Adam Glaren, "A high-ranking member at the club," and Gleeson will play Merlin, the renowned Arthurian wizard.
In the comics the Osiris Club is a mystical secret society obsessed with Hellboy and have often been a part of some of his strangest adventures. So this addition is an interesting one, suggesting that this R rated incarnation will still be steeped in the gothic folklore of the source material.
In an exclusive interview with Nerdist Hellboy creator Mike Mignola revealed that Hellboy's iconic look will be created by Oscar winning make up and effects artist Joel Harlow! You'll likely know his incredible work from Logan, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Trek.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that British ex-Game of Thrones alumni Ed Skrein would be taking on the role of Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese American member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense or B.P.R.D. The news was met with wide spread outrage and disappointment, as fans struggled to deal with yet another example of Hollywood whitewashing.
Only a few days later in an unprecedented move, Ed Skrein stepped down from the role via a powerful statement on social media in which he explains that he was unaware of Diamio's background--which in a Hollywood studio system terrified of leaks is a surprisingly normal situation--and stated, "it is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and give voice to inclusivity." Hopefully the role of Ben Diamio will now go to a Japanese American actor, and Hollywood will be taken to task for not thoroughly examining casting choices.
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
A Darker Vision of Hell
The team are obviously aiming to get away from the PG-13 fantasy adventure tone that del Toro and Perlman's beloved collaboration established over a decade ago. Not only do Andrew Cosby's comments confirm the film's darker direction, but Neil Marshall explained his R-rated aspirations for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen on a new episode of the Post Mortem podcast.
"We've been granted permission to do it R-rated, which for me is just like taking the cuffs off. It's like, okay, so now we can just make the movie we want to make. It's not like I'm going to force it to be R-rated, but if it happens to come out that way, just because of my own sensibilities, then fine. And nobody's going to stop us. So, that's the main [difference]. And I'm sure, obviously, the success of things like Deadpool and Logan have not hurt that cause. But, also, when you go back the original material, it is kind of bloody, so I'm going to embrace that."
The director also made the exciting statement that the film would rely heavily on practical effects rather than CG.
“It’s definitely going to be as practical as we can possibly make it. I love to do stuff in camera whenever I possibly can, and use CG as the amazing tool that it is, to enhance or expand upon the world, but not to use it to replace reality, when you can do it [for] real.”
The Queen of Blood, Nimue first appears in the ninth arc of Hellboy, and is an incredibly powerful witch, who like Hellboy was conjured into life by some nefarious occultists looking to destroy the world--and Hellboy--as we know it. For fans of the book this is an exciting development as it hints at some of the more fantastical and darker moments of Hellboy's past including some literal armies of the dead and Hell itself. If they do take inspiration from these stories as the titles suggests it could fit very well into the new R-rated vision of Hellboy.
Andrew Cosby will be on screenwriting duties alongside Christopher Golden and Mignola himself. Though details are scant, Cosby did reveal that their script has a far darker tone in a chat with Silver Screen Beat.
"I can’t really talk about specifics with regard to the story, which they're keeping a pretty tight lid on at the moment, but I can say that this is a darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy," Cosby said. "Neil said from the very beginning that he wanted to walk a razor's edge between horror and comic book movie, which was music to my ears, because that's what I was shooting for in the script, and precisely what Mignola does so well with the comics."
At this years SDCC we got to see David Harbour in his first official Hellboy appearance, signing at the Dark Horse booth! Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter Harbour revealed that Hellboy is his favorite comic book hero.
“I really do think those Mike Mignola Hellboy comics are so beautiful and he’s such a hero for America that we live in today,” Harbour says. “I definitely think Hellboy is an antihero. He was kind of born into it. It wasn’t something like Batman where he chooses to go and fight crime. He was just born this weird half-demon spawned by Nazi occultists and saved by these dudes who tried to raise him right.
“For him, it's a sense of discovery. His actual destiny as a ‘hero’ is to end the world. He is the beast of the apocalypse. So, in a way, his struggle to be a superhero is to just not do the thing that he’s destined to do.”
It looks like we will not only be seeing the return of 'Big Red' but also his B.P.R.D buds, in a recent interview with Newsarama Mignola revealed that the supernatural team would be returning in the Neil Marshall helmed R-Rated reboot "The B.P.R.D. figures into the movie. I don’t want to say who is and who isn’t in the movie," Mignola hinted "I think it’s fair to say, however, that the primary focus is Hellboy and not a B.P.R.D. team movie."
Production and Distribution
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen is being made by Millennium Films, who'll be the third studio to produce a Hellboy film after Revolution Studios/Columbia Pictures and Relativity Media/Universal Pictures. Millennium is a heavily action focused studio probably best known for the 2008 Rambo sequel, the Expendables franchise, and the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboots. If Hellboy: RotBQ hits its mark, it could easily become the company's biggest film ever.
Lionsgate is in final negotiations to distribute the film, continuing the franchise's tradition of having a different studio distribute each movie. Lionsgate have helmed some of Hollywood's biggest franchises including The Hunger Games. Though they are also well known for huge horror hits like the Saw series and indie horror favorites like Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen director Neil Marshall's cult classic The Descent. This could fit incredibly well with the R Rated horror tinged movie that the creative team have hinted at.
So are you excited to see this hellish new R-rated of Mignola's iconic creation? Do you miss Perlman already? Let us know in the comments?
Images: Dark Horse Comics/Netflix, BBC, Altitude, FOX, Starz, CBS, A24