It turns out Stranger Things is the reason that David Harbour was cast as Hellboy after all, at least if you ask him. The news came early last month – seemingly out of nowhere, and much to the shock, dismay, excitement, and every other emotional on the spectrum spectrum of longtime fans of the property – that the comic book character would be receiving another shot at life on the big screen in Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen. But without Guillermo del Toro as director and Ron Perlman as the iconic character, the fan reaction to the news was initially, very divisive. It was split between those who were excited to see Neil Marshall’s take on the Hellboy world and David Harbour’s performance as the character, and those who were upset del Toro and Perlman never got to make their long-rumored third Hellboy film together.
Fortunately, the latter side of the fandom has significantly calmed down in the weeks following the original announcement, no doubt in part thanks to Harbour and Marshall receiving the public blessing from both del Toro and Perlman. With development moving forward quickly on the project, Harbour has opened up about what will make his take on Hellboy different than Perlman’s.
While speaking with Yahoo! Movies recently about the news, Harbour was quick to credit his role in Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things, to him landing the role of Hellboy. Drawing comparisons between his character in the series, Harbour talked about what it is he thinks he and Marshall will be focusing on about the character the most with the reboot:
“I would not be doing Hellboy if it wasn’t for Stranger Things, no. I would not. A lot of people responded to it. It’s got a lot of elements — Hopper is a very complicated character and has a lot of levels. And he is heroic, but he’s messed up, and I think they want this for this Hellboy as well.
[Hellboy] is very rich. I think the films did a certain thing, the comics do a certain thing. Hellboy is kind of a neurotic, messed-up individual who’s destined for a horrible fate. He’s destined to become the beast of the apocalypse. Whenever he shows up and does the right thing, people throw beers at him and show up with pitchforks and he still manages to do the right thing. I think it’s funny and it’s sweet and it’s weird, and hopefully I can bring that to it as well.”
Harbour’s role in Stranger Things last year was one of the bigger breakout turns of 2016, and in an ensemble filled with mostly charismatic child actors, it’s a testament to his talents as a performer with how well he was still about to stand out amongst them. He isn’t wrong about the melancholic quality that both Hopper and Hellboy share either, and in fact, it was that quality that made Perlman’s take on the character so beloved in the first place.
It’s likely fair to say that if a talented filmmaker like Neil Marshall wasn’t attached to the reboot, the optimism surrounding the project right now would probably be significantly lessened. It’s not easy, after all, for anyone to manage to capture the unique tonal balance that a Hellboy adaptation needs in order to work, which made del Toro’s films that much more special in the end. Luckily, Marshall has proven himself to be a more than capable filmmaker time and time again throughout his career, which makes the chance of Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen successfully marrying the comics’ dark, brutal world with the melancholic, humorous aspects of the character that much more likely.
Source: Yahoo! Movies