We’re still in two minds about Neil Marshall’s upcoming R-rated Hellboy movie. On the one hand, it’s a project that could finally do justice to Mike Mignola’s creation, whilst on the other, it feels like a slap in the face to Guillermo Del Toro’s commitment to the franchise, and a reminder of the near-mythical Hellboy III that never was.
Almost everything that we’ve heard since the announcement, however, has been positive. Neil Marshall’s horror chops, the expert casting of David Harbour, and the revelation that the story would cover the events from Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, and The Storm and the Fury all indicate that the project is on the right track.
In a recent interview, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola seemed to give the project his blessing, and imply that it will more closely mirror his original vision than either of Del Toro’s entries:
“It’s funny, because my involvement has been very different than the Del Toro movies … The difference is I had known Del Toro for six years by the time we did the first movie. Neil I met a couple months before he worked on the movie. It was very different, but I have been involved ever since they said ‘Hey we’re gonna make another Hellboy movie, and we’re gonna do this story.’ I’ve bounced back and forth with them about how to adapt this particular Hellboy story.”
“At various times, I’ve jumped in and been much more active in the screenplay than I ever was on the Del Toro movies. But I did nothing so far as design stuff on the movie. Guillermo wanted me as a concept artist, but on this movie, there were other concept artists. I came in and I looked at some stuff, but they were trying to do something so close to what’s on the comics that they really leaned on what had been done by Duncan [Fegredo] and me in the comics.
“The first film was based on one of the comics, but Del Toro was looking to reinvent everything. I think the difference is here, the bulk of the Fegredo arc takes place in the real world. So instead of making up a whole fantasy world, it was, ‘Let’s find locations that feel like these real-world locales that Duncan drew in the comic.’ I think the bulk of the characters in the film are established in the comic. It was insane for me to walk in there and see that someone did a really nice rendering of a creature I created or Duncan created. It’s got a whole different feel from the older movies. Duncan’s not working on it, but I did see stuff in the movie that was so close to what Duncan drew, more so than what was in the previous movies. It was pretty exciting.”
Milla Jovovich stars in the new film as the Blood Queen, with Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim and Penelope Mitchell. Also starring are Sophie Okonedo (After Earth), Brian Gleeson (mother!) and Alistair Petrie (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
With Mignola’s apparent approval, we’re ready to give this new Hellboy the benefit of the doubt, and are now eagerly awaiting its arrival on January 11th 2019.