He’s been known as The Fawn Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, one of the silent and frightening Gentlemen in the famous Buffy episode “Hush”, and Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies.
Now, Doug Jones is busier than ever. He’s wrapped up season four of TNT’s Falling Skies, has appeared in a few movies, including one for Showtime, and will soon join a new sci-fi franchise. Whedonopolis got a chance to ask him a few questions about these projects and more….
Doug Jones- Right? I ask myself this often! During my spring/summer hiatus from FALLING SKIES, I didn’t do much “hiating”. Between filming 3 features, 2 short films, guesting on 2 TV shows, guesting on 4 web series, an anti-tobacco commercial, and 10 conventions and film festivals, I’m kind of ready for a nap before I head back to Vancouver to film our last season of FALLING SKIES in early September.
W- How was Comic-Con this year? Did you have a chance to reunite with Guillermo Del Toro?
DJ- Comic Con was the usual mayhem and magic. I do love it down there. It’s the one place in the world where I get recognized about every six feet while walking through the main floor. I could never grow tired of that kind of love from the fans who give my career a reason to be. And I did get to see Guillermo briefly in the loading dock area when we were both prepping to dive through the crowd to get to different booths for signings. He’s always such a joyful, dear soul to run into. More on him in the last question below!
W- You’re making a movie called “Midnight Man”, described as a mafia dramedy. What’s your role, and how did you get involved in the project?
DJ- Yes, I just wrapped on THE MIDNIGHT MAN. I play a delicious villain in the story who is a torture specialist for the mafia. When the lead actor Will Kemp (VAN HELSING) gets to my beautiful mansion with chandeliers in the Hollywood hills, you’ll see how I’m a lover of classical music, fine wine and cheese, and I also happen to enjoy watching someone’s face while I’m slowly tearing their body apart. Such a whimsical, yet horrific mindset to find for me! This film found me because the director, D. C. Hamilton was also the writer of a charming indie I did a few years ago called MY NAME IS JERRY. After that magical experience as Jerry, we were looking very forward to working together again. THE MIDNIGHT MAN also stars William Forsythe (THE ROCK), Vinny Jones (SNATCH), Brent Spiner (STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION), and stunning newcomer Brinna Kelly.
W- You also got a special award from Filmquest in Salt Lake City. What was that like?
DJ- Such a sweet surprise that was! I was a signing guest at Fantasy Con, and the attached film festival, Filmquest played 3 short films I was in — I HELIOS, THE VISITANT, and CHAISSON: QUEST FOR ORIUD. Filmquest also asked if I’d judge a category that I didn’t have a film in, and made sure I was part of the awards ceremony at the end of the festival. But what the festival’s director, Jonathan Martin didn’t tell me, was that I was the first-ever recipient of Filmquest’s Legacy Award, an honor given to me for my ongoing body of work. So there I was holding this gorgeous Cthulhu statue/trophy, while they played a video retrospective of my career, and it ended with a surprise greeting from my favorite director, Guillermo del Toro. Totally unexpected, and I was so humbled and teary-eyed about this snapshot moment in my life.
W- As you mentioned on your Facebook page, you have a new movie on Showtime called Raze with Zoe Bell. What was it like working with her again, especially when you had a fight scene together?
DJ- I would do anything with Zoe Bell! After working with her on the web series turned TV movie, ANGEL OF DEATH, we hit it off so well, both on and off screen. She is such a force of nature, known as an action star, but RAZE is her most multi-leveled, deeply layered acting performance I’ve ever seen. Being nose to nose with her in our final fight scene was a cross between living a moment on film with a genius, and playing with one of your college friends. No matter how dark or intense things got on set with our storytelling, we always found reasons to laugh like kids. And my wife in the film was played by the ever-gorgeous Sherilyn Fenn (TWIN PEAKS). Doesn’t get better than that.
W- Another thing about Raze: your character, Joseph, was one very scary man, thinking that kidnapping women to fight was a way to reach empowerment. Would you consider him as scary as, say, a Gentleman in “Hush?”
DJ- No one, ever, was as scary as the Gentlemen in BUFFY’s “Hush” episode. Joss created TV Guide-named best villains from his crazy toy box in his head, and it was such a gift to let me play the leader of the Gentlemen.
W- Your career has been interesting, playing roles with and without makeup? Do you think there’s any difference in your acting approach whether you wear makeup or not. Or, is there a difference playing a creature compared to playing a person?
DJ- I still need to find the heart and soul of a character no matter if it’s a creature with horns and a tail or a guy in a t-shirt and jeans. So finding the character’s insides is the same for either type, starting with the script, director’s notes, and personal rehearsal and reflection. But when I’m in a fantastical creature make-up and/or costume, it does need to go a step further to find that creatures physicality, his posture, his resting place, his body language. That may take some time at a dance studio with mirrors or time in the creature shop working with the glued-on bits to see what plays and what doesn’t.
W- Season four of Falling Skies is almost done (the two-hour season finale airs August 31st). Is there anything you can tell us about how Cochise may be involved, and will he be part of the final season next year?
DJ- Season four of FALLING SKIES is currently airing, Sunday nights on TNT, and this year, my Volm alien character “Cochise” is still the steady rock you grew to love in season three. I’ve stayed on Earth with a small recon team while the rest of the Volm took the mother ship off to another galaxy to fight another Espheni attack on our own people there. But our ultimate goal is still to liberate the humans from the clutches of the bad Espheni alien takeover, with a bigger picture to the entire plan that will be revealed in our final season five, that we start filming soon. So that will conclude the show with some answers next summer 2015.
W- There was also a video on the Entertainment Weekly website where several character actors, including yourself, tell Hollywood they should be considered for big roles in blockbusters. If you were offered such a role, what would you like to play, a villain or a superhero? Maybe Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy?
DJ- I’ve already had the joy of being on big movie posters and DVD covers with FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, the HELLBOY movies, and PAN’S LABYRINTH, so I don’t want to come off as a hog. This video was mostly tongue-in-cheek from all us character actors. But I will quietly tell you, I did fall a little in love with Groot, and if it wasn’t a CGI character, I might have heavily campaigned to play him, even though I may be too short for his gigantic stature.
W- How did you become part of that video?
DJ- It was during Comic Con just last month when I was in the Entertainment Weekly press suite with my cast mates from FALLING SKIES. While I was there, a nice fellow told me of this video they were making, and if I didn’t mind … so we filmed my bit right then and there in a side room! I was very complimented that they wanted to include me with such other great actors, including BUFFY’S own Anthony Stewart Head!
W- You have a new project coming up called Space Command. What is that about, and who will you be playing?
DJ- I play an android or “synth” who was the first of his kind in this space age story. I was meant to be a refined house butler type, but when I started developing my own sense of self, and asked too many questions, I was re-assigned to the mineral mines as a laboring synth. The rest of this first movie, in what hopes to be a series of 6 SPACE COMMAND feature films, shows me trying to liberate myself and thousands of my kind who are waking up to the fact that we were created to be enslaved to serving others. This is a very well written piece about humanity and what we’ve done to each other over the ages, but told in a futuristic sci-fi backdrop. Our decorated writer/director Marc Zicree always does such a great job of tapping into real human issues and personalities while serving it on a platter that feeds the geek in all of us!
Aside from me, the cast for SPACE COMMAND has a few names that carry the right amount of geek credential. Most of my scenes are with the STAR TREK: VOYAGER legend, Robert Picardo. His character is the one human who gets me and takes our cause on as his own to fight for. A wonderful friendship formed on film between us, and that mirrored what was happening in our real lives, too. We’ve worked together on three other projects before this, but had very little screen time together until now. I also got to work with the beautiful Mira Furlan from BABYLON 5, and Bill Mumy, an icon from my childhood as Will Robinson on LOST IN SPACE.
W- Anything else planned?
DJ- Yes! Back to Guillermo del Toro! He found a special little guest cameo for me in the season 1 finale of his FX channel series, THE STRAIN. When you see me in this show, you’ll say, “Oooooh!,” and you’ll want to see more of me in season 2 … if I can work out season 2 of STRAIN with season 5 of FALLING SKIES’ conflicting shoot schedules. I’m also appearing as a couple of characters in his new dark feature film, CRIMSON PEAK, hitting theaters October 16, 2015. When I asked Guillermo what I could say about my characters in this movie, he said, “Tell them it’s a haunted house story, and what the f*** do they think you play.” Bless his cussing heart. So for now, that’s all I can tell you of that!
As for Raze, it will be shown several times over the Showtime networks and at Showtime On Demand through mid-October. Click here to learn more.