Neil Marshall’s 2019 “Hellboy” reboot was controversial from the start as it meant the franchise would officially be taken out of the hands of Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman, who collaborated on the original “Hellboy” movie in 2004 and its 2008 sequel “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” Del Toro and Perlman’s movies were critical hits and fan favorites. Marshall’s 2019 reboot not so much. David Harbour took over the role, but apparently Perlman had the chance to return. In a new interview with CBM, the original “Hellboy” actor confirms he turned down the reboot because of loyalty to del Toro.
“The reboot was something I had the opportunity to participate in and decided that the only version of ‘Hellboy’ I’m interested in is the one I do with Guillermo,” Perlman said. “So in walking away from it, I truly walked away from it, and haven’t seen it or heard much about it. I wished them well, but it was not in my bailiwick.”
The “Hellboy” reboot was a critical dud and an even bigger box office disappointment, grossing $44 million worldwide on a $50 million production budget. The financial disappointment killed any plans for Harbour to continue in the role. The “Stranger Things” actor took to social media earlier this year to explain that one of the reasons his “Hellboy” movie bombed was because love for del Toro and Perlman’s take on the character remains so beloved.
“I think it failed before we began shooting because I think that people didn’t want us to make the movie,” Harbour said. “Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman created this iconic thing that we thought could be reinvented and then [fans] certainly — the loudness of the internet was like, ‘We do not want you to touch this.’ People were just very very against it and that’s people’s right.”
In his interview this week with CBM, Perlman suggested the door for a third “Hellboy” movie directed by del Toro could still be open if the filmmaker ever has an open schedule. “The only thing that’s stopping the third ‘Hellboy’ is the fact that Guillermo is one of the busiest guys in the business,” the actor said. “He couldn’t do it with all the stuff he’s got lined up even if he wanted to.”
Del Toro is currently in various states of production on projects such as “Nightmare Alley” and his stop-motion “Pinocchio” musical for Netflix. The director wrote on social media in April that he considers “Hellboy” to be one of his better directed movies, while adding that it was DVD sales that helped make “Hellboy” a success and not its theatrical release.
“What allowed the two films to exist, it’s gone,” del Toro wrote. “The Blu-ray DVD performance of the first ‘Hellboy’ was massive. So big that Ben Feingold, at Columbia, went full-on on the sequel development. Ben was so impressed by those numbers that he made ‘Hellboy’ one of the very first Blu-rays from Columbia Pictures. Far as I can recall, the number for home video surpassed theatrical.”
Whatever the future of “Hellboy,” it’s certain Perlman will only return with del Toro behind the camera.