David Harbour says Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen will earn its R-rating primarily because of how it deals with the character's "mature themes." It's been an unexpected couple of months for fans of the Mike Mignola-created comic book character, following the announcement that a Hellboy reboot was going to be made with the Stranger Things star attached to play the role and horror veteran Neil Marshall set to direct. The news was especially surprising considering it came just a few months after writer and director Guillermo del Toro said that there was officially no chance of his proposed third Hellboy film with Ron Perlman happening.
As such, the early buzz surrounding the Hellboy reboot has been decidedly mixed up until this point, with many fans initially hesitant to jump on board, after spending years supporting and championing del Toro's first two film adaptations. At the same time, however, the talent attached to Rise of the Blood Queen has also been enough to make some fans hopeful and optimistic about the reboot's chances of success.
It also doesn't hurt that included with the original announcement, was a confirmation that Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen was going to be a hard R-rated take on the character. While speaking recently with MTV, Harbour said the rating won't just be coming from the violence of the film either, but mostly from the way he and Marshall will be diving deep into the character's dark, psychological themes:
“It goes R not for reasons of nudity. It goes R for a bit of gore and horror, but also a bit of just the mature aspect of it, the mature themes of it. Just that we’re dealing with complicated subjects. It’s a real character piece. Of course, it has huge action elements to it, but we’ve modeled it somewhat on Shakespeare. I mean, it’s a bit like Hamlet. It really is this study of this man going through this horrible conundrum and we really get to go in deep with him.”
Harbour's comments here are in line with some of what has already been said about the reboot, and particularly, how its character-driven story and plot will help differentiate it from del Toro's original films. The fact that the film's R-rating not only fits in better with Marshall's directorial style but also allows Harbour to take his performance much darker places onscreen, only further solidifies this Hellboy reboot as an interesting one to watch out for, especially when compared to so many of the other comic book adaptations hitting theaters these days.
It wasn't long after the announcement was made that Ron Perlman was seen breaking bread with Harbour over the news, and del Toro came out in support of the new film as well, which should help to boost fan excitement for the project moving forward. With Harbour already being fitted for the character's iconic hand of doom, and filming on Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen set to begin this fall, the possibility of another Hellboy movie coming to the big screen has turned around completely over the past few months. And hopefully, with principal photography quickly approaching, that also means it won't be much longer before an official release date for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen is set.