Hellboy: Landing the role was a surprise to David Harbour


Star of Stranger Things and the forthcoming Hellboy movie David Harbour reflected on his casting in the remake as the title demon, which came as a shock to him as much everybody else.

The last thing anyone expected was David Harbour, who rose to fame in his first major recognizable role as Chief Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, replacing Ron Perlman in a new film adaptation of Mike Mignola’s big red demon. And that befuddlement extends to Harbour himself.

He revealed to JoBlo, during a set visit, that he had no idea when working on the second season of his hit Netflix show that writers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon and director Neil Marshall would reach out to his agent.

Harbour was called by his agent before the movie was greenlit. Levin and Gordon hadn’t moved beyond the script stage yet, but they knew they were starting over:

"“I got a call like almost completely randomly. We were shooting the second season of Stranger Things. I think it was very early in the shooting process. And I got a call from my agents just saying they want to remake Hellboy and they want you to be the new Hellboy and here’s the script.”"

Since he was only beginning to become a household name, the shock and perplexity at the offer set in rather quickly for him, Harbour explained:

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"“And the movie wasn’t completely, like, green lit. It wasn’t completely, like, we didn’t have a studio, we didn’t have ‘blah, blah,’ but it was just Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon had this script, they wanted to re-do the whole thing, and they had Neil Marshall at that point and they were all very keen on me doing it. And I read the script. So they sent it to me, and I was like, very confused and terrified at that prospect and excited. I mean, like who the f— am I? You know what I mean?”"

His fears are understandable, but they are founded on his lack of a high profile as opposed to screen experience. Harbour has been acting for several years and appears in quite a few blockbuster films. Suicide Squad, The Equalizer, End of Watch, Black Mass, and Quantum of Solace are all graced with his presence, albeit in small roles.

Undeniably, it was the turn in the starring role of Hopper that got him noticed by Hellboy‘s writers, director, and the man who created the character in the first place — Mike Mignola:

"“I’ve been, like, a character guy for years doing these little things, and then sort of Stranger Things came out, and I think that Neil, Lloyd and Mike Mignola, I guess they all had sort of watched it around that first month.”"

Hellboy is a total reboot, adapting stories like “The Wild Hunt,” “Darkness Calls,” and “The Storm and the Fury” piecemeal. Leaning toward an R rating this time, it is the first time we have seen the red right hand in action at cinemas since Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy 2: The Golden Army in 2008.

Neil Marshall directs, and the Englishman has a slew of genre cult classics to his credit, including The Descent, Dog Soldiers, and Doomsday. He transitioned to television when he directed episodes of Constantine and Hannibal, along with other thrillers.

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Under his capable guiding hand, Hellboy releases in theaters on April 12th. It stars Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Penelope Mitchell, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, and Ian McShane taking over for the late John Hurt as Trevor Bruttenholm.