By Dominic Messier, Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Head Writer (and All-Around Mike Mignola Fan)
Following the success of the past film adaptations of Dark Horse Comics’ red-skinned demon/paranormal investigator, the folks over at Lionsgate have decided to revamp and reboot the Hellboy movie series, with a new cast and new adventures into the world of things that go bump into the night.
Taking over in the titular role, Stranger Things’ David Harbour puts on the prosthetics and makeup, replacing Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman, who portrayed Big Red in the original Hellboy in 2004 as well as its sequel, Hellboy: The Golden Army in 2008.
Lionsgate released the first official picture of Harbour in full dress and FX paint, in the lead role.
One simply cannot avoid the incredible similarity in design between Perlman and Harbour’s versions when looking at this first released photo.
The character’s look appears flawless and faithful to Mignola’s original designs, with the comic-book creator even exclaiming “Wow” on social media when presented with this new production media.
For those of you unfamiliar with the previous films, here’s a cast shot of Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair and Jeffrey Tambor in the original films, which boasts a similar prosthetic build likely re-used for the rebooted version:
Here’s a quick refresher for you neophytes who’ve never even heard of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, or B.P.R.D.: A group of American scientists paired with the military during World War II to locate, study and use obscure, arcane and mystical elements that could help the war effort against Hitler and his army, as the Fuhrer himself already had via the occult Thule Society (the franchise plays it loose with historical facts, bear with me.)
When the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin seeks to open a portal between dimensions to allow the ancient Gods to pass through and rule eternal upon the Earth, the Allies intervene and thwart Rasputin’s efforts, but not until one being crosses through from the dark dimension: a red skinned, yellow-eyed horned infant named Anung Un Rama, is taken in by British-American scientist Trevor Bruttenholm and raised to learn all there is to know about creatures of the unknown, gohsts, vampires, spectres and all manner of Lovecraftian-type multi-limbed uglies.
Bruttenholm and Hellboy (as he is later dubbed) form the basis of the secret U.S/U.K co-founded B.P.R.D., tasked with handling cases local or federal authorities aren’t equipped to deal with.
There’s no word yet on whether the reboot will rehash elements of the original films (pyrokinetic Liz Sherman and amphibian Abe Sapien are inconspicuously missing at this stage), but director Neil Marshall (The Descent) has already confirmed Milla Jovovich as the main villain, a medieval sorceress named Nimue, along with American Gods star Ian McShane as Professor Bruttenholm, replacing the late John Hurt in the mentor role.
It was also just announced that Lost and Hawaii 5-0 star Daniel Dae Kim was just cast as Ben Daimio, an Asian-American soldier and B.P.R.D. member who can morph into a tiger form when stressed or injured. Kim replaces Ed Skrein, who left production after stating the role should be played ay an Asian-American actor, raising the profile of the ongoing struggle by minority actors to obtain race-specific roles in a controversial “whitewashing” in the film and TV business.
The new Hellboy is currently slated for release in a theatre near you on January 11, 2019.