(Release Info London schedule; April 11th, 2019, Cineworld Leicester Square, 5-6 Leicester Square, 12:50 15:40 18:30 21:20)
"Hellboy - Call Of Darkness"
Hellboy (David Harbour), is back, and he’s on fire. From the pages of Mike Mignola’s seminal work, this action packed story sees the legendary half-demon superhero called to England to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers 'The Blood Queen', Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, 'Hellboy' is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world.
'Hellboy' is an imposingly tall half-demon with red skin, shaved horns and a tail. He's a flawed and deeply conflicted character. He's not a superhero who’s always looking to do the right thing. 'Hellboy' is a big, six-foot-three fella with an amazing voice and those eyes that just captivate you immediately. He’s a freak, a weirdo and he’s humiliated by human beings. He's a force of nature, and you feel that through the character. The character is more accessible, more grounded, more emotional and empathetic, along with his trademark, deadpan sense of humor. There's no real normal in this world. Nimue, 'The Blood Queen', is 'Hellboy's powerful nemesis. 'The Blood Queen' is a total presence herself. You feel it in every beat of every word she says, every moment she takes, every look she gives. Her points are valid, but she’s defeated. For 'Hellboy', Nimue is more than just a supernaturally powerful witch. He learns she has a deep connection to his past. As an adversary, she’s incredibly challenging for him because of the issues she raises about who he really is, why he’s here and what he could become. In regard to understanding his identity, it’s like she’s sitting on one shoulder and Professor Trevor Broom (Ian McShane) is on the other. Nimue exploits that connection, and Hellboy’s own doubts and insecurities, to try to seduce him into joining her. She says to him, 'you’re one of us'. She wants to know why he’s trying to live like a human, to get these people who hate and fear him to accept him. She tells him, 'you could be a hero in my world'. She wants his strength added to her kingdom, to make it their kingdom.
Professor Broom is 'Hellboy’s' adoptive father. 'Hellboy' has a close but complex relationship with his dad. It’s sort of them against the world. It’s been rough and tumble between them. 'Hellboy' didn’t grow up playing 'Monopoly' with his father, it's more that he taught him how to fight a five-eyed monster and take him out with a melon baller. He has protected him, but when he goes, 'Hellboy' will have to be a fully realized human being, to take on the human world, as well as the human-monster world. 'B.P.R.D.' Team commander Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) is a taciturn and secretive ex-soldier-turned-agent. He's 'Hellboy’s' complete opposite in many respects. There's something about Daimio that’s a bit of a mystery. There's unknown history about 'Hellboy' too, but what he's is right there for everybody to see. These two become foils, which is a nice texture for the film. For Daimio, it's about putting your problems and issues aside and staying with the mission. That’s not a bad way to be. In the comic Daimio and 'Hellboy' never shared a page, but bringing him into the story feels organic because he’s a fantastic character and in some ways a mirror for 'Hellboy'. 'Hellboy' also gets support in his fight against Nimue from his young friend Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), whose life he saved when she was a baby. The film wants Alice to be more of her own character, to have a strong voice. She's definitely not the damsel-in-distress kind of girl. She’s very much her own person. She has this great, cool vibe, and she’s been through so much. 'Hellboy’s' connection with Alice is integral to the story. It’s not romantic, but it’s definitely kind of a soul-mate thing. Because of who they're, and how they feel different from everyone else, they might feel the pull to just take the easy route, the dark one, but together they keep trying to fight the hard fight rather than just give in.
Fifteen years after the first feature based on Mike Mignola’s 'Hellboy' comic book series, the time is right to reimagine the film franchise. The landscape of the horror-action-fantasy genre has changed dramatically in the ensuing decade and a half. Recent big-budget comic-book-based titles demonstrated that moviegoers are ready to embrace flawed superheroes and antiheroes and edgier, 'R-rated' storylines. There's an opportunity to push the movie in a more mature direction; more graphic, more visceral, more exciting, and thematically, a little more adult. After all, 'The Hellboy' books suggest an 'R-rating', the film is a bit more faithful to the comic books. Published over more than 20 years, 'The Hellboy' series boasts the most issues under the direction of one person among all currently published comic book series. The film is based on 2010’s 'Hellboy, Volume 9: The Wild Hunt', an anthology that includes issues of the series, as the central thread of story. In addition to being an exciting, high-stakes action epic, 'The Wild Hunt' reveals 'Hellboy’s' dramatic origin story. The film also pulls from other books, including a memorable sequence inspired by 'Hellboy' in Mexico, along with some material written specifically for the film. It's important for us, and for the fans as well, to really stick to the roots and origins of 'Hellboy'. It feels almost like a biographical or historical movie. While many of the scenes and much of the dialogue comes directly from the comic books, "Hellboy" is an amalgam of the series storylines rather than a direct adaptation of one of the books. The film also expands the scope by bringing 'Hellboy’s' world fully into 'The 21st century'. Even when they’re set in present day there’s kind of a feel of ancient times or a bygone era. It's important to give this film a contemporary feel and a contemporary setting that really grounds it in the now. So in addition to the forests and other primal settings from the comic books, the story takes place in contemporary urban London.
The structure of 'Hellboy’s' face is always about the comic book illustrations. The jaw and the brow and the hardline aesthetic, that's the jumping off point. But, in taking the design into reality, the film moves from a comic world to a real world. The result is probably scarier, because he’s no longer a fire-engine-red cartoon character. He has hair on his chest and arms, back and tail, and scars, he has the body of a 'MMA' fighter. The fights are crazy. There's really a sense that things are being killed, giants or monsters, and heads are being chopped off. You’re bathed in their blood, and you’re feeling the complex emotions of actually cutting the heart out of another being. All of that goes toward the issue that 'Hellboy' is a killer, truly, a weapon. When you see Hellboy, he’s the only red in the frame. When he’s not in frame, something else is red, a fire, 'The Blood Queen’s' costumes. All of the rest of the colors are these muted tertiary colors. There are suits of armor on stands, guns, muskets, swords. Then, the further you get into it, the strangeness is incrementally cranked up. A few occultist things scattered about. Then, even further in, there are trophy heads from their hunts. The film mixtures human and animal forms, including a skull with spider's legs. It notches up to a 12 on a one-to-10 scale of weird. At times, translating the comic’s '2D' illustrations to 'The 3D World Of Cinema' required some thoughtful modification.
'Hellboy' is more horror-centric, 'R-rated' sensibility, with a mix of serious genre chops, spectacular characters, interwoven plotlines and big action set pieces. The film is set squarely in our world, rather than have it be fantasy with a capital ‘F'. It delivers a darker, more grounded version of 'Hellboy'. It’s a huge emotional journey for 'Hellboy', a journey of discovery, and then just literally, we’re going darker; bloodier, more violent. But it’s not a matter of throwing in things that don’t belong. It's always a case of, when in doubt, go back to the source. Out of all of the film’s intricate sets, is the climactic sequence between 'Hellboy' and Nimue, set on 'Pendle Hill', the site of England’s most notorious witch trials in 'The 17th Century'. There are some scenes viewers might expect would be shot on a set, but when 'Hellboy’s' standing on a hill with 'The Blood Queen', you don’t imagine the landscape has been created. When fantasy is a little more grounded, it feels stranger, in a way. It’s like if you saw a giant or a monster in your house. It’s the balance of something that’s out of place that makes it look weird and scary.
The film marvels at his character’s longevity and expresses his gratitude to fans for their continued interest in 'Hellboy’s' adventures. To see that character embraced like it has been for something like 25 years is pretty great. Audiences walk away feeling they've seen an original "Hellboy" movie. Having a tail is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be. The tail is a pain in the ass. You all think you want a tail. You really. Don’t want a tail.