The upcoming, highly anticipated Hellboy reboot has reportedly added Thomas Haden Church to its cast as Lobster Johnson. Brought to the page by Mike Mignola in 1993, the character was first adapted for the screen by Guillermo del Toro. The Right Hand of Doom, played by Ron Perlman, appeared in 2004's Hellboy and its 2008 sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The film was left open-ended, with del Toro eager to round out the series with a third installment. Had it gone forward, the closing chapter would have been the darkest yet. With studios unwilling to invest the kind of budget del Toro required, however, the film was ultimately scrapped. Instead, it was decided that the franchise would be rebooted, with David Harbour (Stranger Things) taking up the horned mantle.
With Mingola having more involvement on the script, the reboot will apparently be more akin to Logan and Deadpool. As well as this, the character design will be more comic accurate than Perlman's. The film will apparently skip over rehashing the character's origin story. Instead, the film will see Big Red square off against The Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) and her quest to destroy mankind. They will be joined by Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio. A recently unveiled Hellboy poster offered a glimpse at each of them, though did little to whet the appetites of fans eager for an official glimpse of the trailer that screened at NYCC 2018.
According to Discussing Film, Church will be amongst the other familiar faces when the film is finally released. According to Discussing Film's multiple sources, Church will reportedly take on the role of Lobster Johnson. Hellboy fans will no doubt be familiar with the name. Lobster was a brutal vigilante that operated in the 1930s, often branding his victims with a lobster claw symbol - not too dissimilar to how Batman was portrayed in Batman V Superman. Although believed by the public to be a fictional hero of pulp serials, of which Hellboy himself is a fan, the man is very much real. As such, he often assists the BPRD, even after death, battles ghosts and demons from both within and without.
Church is no stranger to the world of superheroes and villains, having previously played Sandman in the concluding chapter of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. Although the film was lambasted by both critics and fans alike, Church was far from one of the film's many contributing weaknesses. His return to comic book adaptations was teased earlier this year. The announcement was followed by rabid speculation as to which world and franchise he would drop into next.
The news has yet to be confirmed by official sources or Church himself, but there is certainly a lot of merit to the casting. The veteran actor has the kind of dry wit (and old-school charm that befits a roguish 1930s icon) that could easily fit into the weird and wonderful world of Hellboy. His penchant for portraying morally ambiguous yet likable characters also works in favor of bringing this notable and potentially richly nuanced antihero to life. In the past, Church has utilized this skill for both comedy and drama. If ultimately true, it could be interesting to see him channel it into a blend of both aspects, as well as what kind of quasi-antagonistic relationships that could generate with the other characters.
Source: Discussing Film
- Hellboy (2019) release date: Apr 12, 2019