They are the unsung heroes of science fiction and horror movies: the guys who play the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman #3 in Underworld, or modern horror icons such as Alien and Predator.
They are the Men In Suits, and the Crest Theater in Sacramento held a special showing of the documentary before hundreds of horror movie fans this past Saturday. It featured many notable “suit actors” including Doug Jones, better known as one of the Gentlemen in the classic Buffy episode “Hush”. More after the jump
Jones was interviewed along with Brian Steele from the Hellboy movies, Tom Woodruff Junior, who also won an Oscar for special effects for Death Becomes Her, and Camden Toy, also familiar to fans of Buffy and Angel. The movie looked at the history of suit actors in movies, right up to today, There’s even discussion about how computers almost made men in suits obsolete, but later kept them as an important part in movies. It also looks at Douglas Tait, who is a suit actor for the movie Knights of Badassdom. He looks at how the suit is made, and how he tries to adapt to it.
There’s also an interview with Haruo Nakajima, the first man who played Godzilla. He talked about how heavy the suit was because it was made mostly of rubber.
Bob Burns, best known for being a gorilla in many movies in the 1950s and 60s, and Saturday morning TV, is also featured. He currently has a collection of props and costumes that represents the history of Hollywood science fiction movies. The movie also includes interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, and other suit actors like John Alexander and Misty Rojas.
After the showing, Whedonopolis talked to Jones. He was asked how he tries to become a Gentleman, Fawn, Angel of Death, or Abe Sapien. “Getting into any role is you find out information from the script,” he said, “like ‘what was the writer’s intent in creating this character, how does he relate to the characters in this movie, what a part of the story is he’ It’s all about story for me. It want to help tell a good story. If that story needs a creature from another world, great. I’ll play that guy. If it requires a tall, skinny goofy white guy in a t-shirt, I‘ll play him, too” He also revealed he practices in front of a mirror to get an idea how he can express himself with the suit.
During the Q and A session, Jones said he came to Hollywood from Ball State hoping to be a sitcom star. These days, he’s getting that chance in ABC’s The Neighbors. He had auditioned for a part in the pilot, but says he impressed the producers so much, they gave him the role of alien Dominique Wilkins, who sometimes is at odds with the leader, Larry Bird. In a recent episode, Wilkins disagrees with putting the human neighbors, the Weavers, in quarantine bags when they get the flu. “I love being Dominique Wilkins so much,” he said. “It’s such a great cush gig for me.”
He’s already taped five episodes, and a sixth is coming. However, he will have an even bigger TV role soon. When Falling Skies returns on TNT this summer, he will play a new alien who will help the human resistance.
Jones was also asked if there was a role that almost made him consider another job. He was the “Mother Bug” in Bug Buster, where toxic chemicals create a mutated form of roaches. The climax of the movie was hand to hand combat between the big bug and General Merlin, played by Randy Quaid. Jones talks about this in the Men In Suits DVD in a bonus segment. The imdb page for this movie also reveals that Katherine Heigl and George Takei were in this movie.
Men In Suits is available through Amazon (click this link) while more information about the documentary is available through Wyrd Films. It’s a fine salute to those men and women who create their own movie magic through makeup and latex. Aside from his TV appearances, Jones can also be seen in John Dies At The End, available through iTunes and On Demand at some cable outlets. It will be available in theaters on January 25th