Ron Perlman plays Nic Cage's right-hand swordsman in Season of The Witch. Perlman told us what it was like filming with Christopher Lee, and laid out plans for At the Mountains of Madness and Hellboy 3.
You've got such an amazing collection of wild genre films, and Season of the Witch seems to fit right in there. What was it about this movie that made you want to get involved?
Well, first and foremost it was a Nicolas Cage movie. I'm a total fanboy when it comes to his body of work. There isn't a more original and unique actor in the world right now, I think. He's not like anyone else. He brought this kind of wide-eyed magic to so many other roles over the course of time. I knew he was involved in the project before I read the script. Then when I started reading the script, and realized what they were asking me to do, which was be his best pal and comrade in arms. We make our way through this whole journey shoulder-to-shoulder and we have this wonderful rapport. We've both looked into the jaws of death a million times. There's a camaraderie and an unspoken bond that exists between us, which was really cool to wallow in for four and a half months of making this film.
I'm also a huge fan of Dominic Sena, who directed the film. And I thought that the story was compelling. I thought that the juxtaposition of the crusades being a stain on the history of the church. And having the story set in those times with the forces of the universe are sort of being meddled with, which sets up a world in which fantastical things can take place. I thought it was and non-gratuitous. It had some depth, it had some nuance that elevated it from strictly genre.
You've got a great rapport with Nic Cage on screen, why do you think you guys worked so well together?
Well, it was on the page. We were fortunate enough to enjoy each other's company but we were also invited to the location about 3 weeks prior to filming. We spent that time creating a backstory for ourselves. What were the circumstances in which we met, why we got along with each other as much as we did, what's my point of view, what's his? We created a history where he starts a sentence and I finish it, and vice versa. Even though he and I were the only ones who really knew of that history, because we had articulated it to ourselves and to each other, [we thought] that it would sort of seep its way into what the audience would experience.
Some of the plague scenes in this film are exceptionally disgusting, what was your favorite grotesque scene in Season of the Witch?
I think being in the room with Christopher Lee as he's in the throes of his last moments, as he's being consumed by the plague. It's not enough for me to just see something that's grotesque, but when it's juxtaposed against something that has as much dignity as Christopher Lee brings to the party, then it's quite moving and quite compelling. That was a highlight, for me. Seeing this really distinguished gentleman who is losing his battle because of this thing that had mysteriously fallen upon the land. That was probably the most effective moment of the gravitas of what it is we were faced with.
Guillermo del Toro wrote a part just for you in At The Mountains of Madness, since that character isn't in the original story by H.P Lovecraft, how does he fit in with the rest of the characters?
The movie takes place in the North Pole, and so I'm on board as this sort of dog sled dude. I spend my entire life with these dogs. So I'm a rough guy, among all these scientists. I'm a contrast to the deeply intellectual world that's being explored. I live outside all the time, I live in the elements. I'm a no-bullshit kind of guy in a world of guys who just live in their heads. So it's a beautiful role to play, given that backdrop. I kick some butt I hope we get a chance to do it.
Are you guys going to start filming this year?
Curiously enough, the film hasn't been officially been announced yet. I'm doing this TV show, so I have to see what the schedule of the movie is, when it's happening, whether it's happening. And whether it can all work out schedule-wise. So I don't want to get ahead of myself here.
How can we convince you to sit through 7 hours of make up every day to make Hellboy 3?
All you have to do is convince to Guillermo to say yes to making the movie.
That's funny, because whenever people ask Guillermo when he's going to make Hellboy 3 he always says that we have to convince you!
Yeah he's blaming me and I'm blaming him. I know it's kind of like Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, or Abbott and Costello. Hellboy 2 was not an easy shoot. Both of us walked away very tired and very beat up. But a lot of time [has passed] and lot of water has gone under the bridge, I'm well healed — and just knowing what his idea was for the third installment of the trilogy and how epic and theatrical and powerful a film it would be, it's got to be made. I really feel like its got to be made. It would be a great disservice to the first two films if you don't see how they wind up.
What is his idea for the third film?
The only thing I can share with you is we have this demon who is a victim of this Oracle, which is not negotiable. He's been summoned to the Earth for the destruction of mankind, and that's non-negotiable. This whole notion that his nature, is the demon of destruction — against the way he's been nurtured by his father, John Hurt's character, to be kind and in the service of mankind. Those things are going to be in play in the third one. Then of course you have Liz pregnant with twins at the end of the second film. So you don't know what those two offspring are going to be? Are they going to be more human? Are they going to be more demon? Are they going to be a combination of the two? And how is that going to play out, in terms of Hellboy's destiny. Which I say again is non-negotiable. So that's the backdrop for the third film. And everything will be resolved, all these open-ended questions will finally be resolved. I don't know how, he didn't give me those details. But that's the backdrop for it.
Promise me you'll have one more drinking scene with Doug Jones?
If I have anything to say about it, we'll have a few more. And a few more choruses of "Can't Smile Without You."
Season of the Witch trailer:
Season of the Witch is in theaters January 7th.