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Doug JonesDoug Jones - About all roles - Aintitcool.com Interview
Thursday 11 January 2007, by Webmaster
Capone chats with Abe Sapien, The Faun, The Old Man and The Silver Surfer!!! The Ultimate Man In Suit Chats PAN’S LABYRINTH
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here with a bonus treat from the PAN’S LABYRINTH camp. I think most of you know by now that this site’s advance praise of Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece is being echoed across the world, and on January 19 the film goes wide across the country. And one of the primary reasons for the film’s remarkable atmosphere and artistic success is the freakishly good performance by Doug Jones as both Pan and the Pale Man. Doug has been a co-conspirator with Guillermo since MIMIC and he was probably best known prior to PAN’S for playing Abe Sapien in HELLBOY.
But his most challenging role (for the actor and fans alike) may come this summer when he plays the Silver Surfer in the FANTASTIC FOUR sequel. While Doug had to keep quiet about a few aspects of the film’s plot and special effects, I still managed to get a few details about the movie that I haven’t seen printed anywhere else. And yes, he does talk about the Surfer’s eyes!
Doug is going to be touring the Midwest next weekend (in conjunction with PAN’S wide release. He’ll be at Lost World Wonders in Milwaukee on January 20 (call for the exact time) and doing and introduction of the film that night at the Landmark Oriental theatre, with a post-film Q&A to follow. Again, check with the theatre for details. I think Doug will also be in Minneapolis that weekend, so if you live there, keep an ear to the ground for details.
Enjoy our lengthy discussion...
Capone: Why are you coming to Milwaukee in a couple of weeks?
Doug Jones: I think Milwaukee and Minneapolis on back-to-back nights. PAN’S LABYRINTH opens wide across the country on Friday, January 19. I’m just coming out to the Heartland to say, "He-e-ey, Middle America, we love you, too!" Because both coasts have been getting a lot of love and giving a lot of love to the movie, but Middle America doesn’t know about it yet. I think I’m doing some radio there, too, and maybe a morning TV show. I told them to run me ragged while I’m there, so that’s what I’m doing.
C: Considering most of the other stars of the film are in Spain, that’s probably convenient.
DJ: Right. I’m their only option.
C: When I interviewed Guillermo Del Toro some weeks ago, I asked him if we would ever actually see your face in one of his movies. And, his response was, "Not if I can help it." [Doug laughs] So, my question is, Do you mind that your best-known work is done behind a mask or makeup? Do you think at some point that is going to trouble you, or is it more fun that way?
DJ: Why would it trouble me? It’s made a career for me that I never thought I would have. I would say a good 40 percent of my work has been without makeup on my face, but in projects that don’t get nearly the exposure that my made-up projects do. And, that’s fine. Guillermo has said before that there will always be a monster on his call sheets, so if he keeps thinking of me, I love working with the man. And I love being referred to as one of his regulars or a collaborator, or, as I refer to myself, as one of his many house pets. If there’s a monster on his call sheet, they all live in his house. And, I’ve been moved up to one that gets to sleep at the foot of the bed, I think. I like being in that position.
C: Do you remember your first reaction to seeing his designs for the two characters in PAN’S LABYRINTH?
DJ: I sure do. When I saw the maquette for Pan, the top half of the body made sense, you know, the horns, the usual suits, makeup—suit and makeup mechanics, I understand all that. [But] those legs terrified me. There was no way I could assume that position and stay like that. I don’t know what they were thinking. Whose thigh muscles can do that? And, you want a skinny guy in there? It’s not going to happen, right?
And, that’s when they revealed a little ‘secret’ [stage whisper] about how those legs were going to work. This has been out there on the HBO special, and it’s in the “Behind the Scenes” for the DVD and Picture and Makeup Arts magazine, too, about how they accomplished that. They devised a great little leg contraption that I was able to use to stand semi-straight, but have the legs zigzag, because they took the shin and calf area of my leg away with green-colored tights, a green-screen color.
C: To me it looked so natural that I never believed it was CGI. It looked mechanical, like something devised to actually incorporate your leg into the design.
DJ: Yeah, and the visual effects people were fantastic. They’re a company called Café FX. They’re just great, and all my full body shots were seamless. I couldn’t tell what started and where it ended. It was great.
C: So, what did you think of the Pale Man when you first saw him?
DJ: [laughs] My concern with the Pale Man was, You guys, he doesn’t have any eyes! So, I thought, What the heck am I going to see through? But, of course, those nostrils were rather large and higher on the face, so my left eye could see through the right nostril and my right eye could see through the left nostril, which meant that I would kind of have to cross eyes. I could only look with one eye at a time. So, that was the major concern—getting around without killing myself or others.
And the really skinny, skinny legs on him, too, was another green screen trick with my legs being in green-screen colored leotard with the bony legs attached in front of them.
What I love about Guillermo—and I love many things about him—one of the many things is that he loves to shoot things practical on set, if he can. I think the digital sets and the way they come with technology is amazing, they do beautiful work, but Guillermo started as a makeup artist in Mexico and loves to keep that industry working. And, he also loves the humanity that comes with having a real actor on set instead of a complete CG character. And, what they can do is digital enhancements on some of the parts on set. It makes the worlds that much better. And, it saves money.
C: What do you like best about working in makeup? Does it make playing these characters easier to get into?
DJ: You are sacrificing some comfort and some temperature control, and maybe a poke here, a red spot there when you come out at the end of the day. But, when you see what’s been captured on film, an otherworldly character. I’ve played aliens and animals and human hybrids a lot. The first time I met Guillermo was in MIMIC as one of his giant cockroaches and then getting to play the fishman Abe Sapien in HELLBOY. These are characters that one cannot pull off with one’s own face. So, if that broadens the number of jobs I can do and the types of characters I can do, I’m all for it.
And, it does help you assume a character when you look at yourself in the mirror and you can see, Wow, I’ve got muscle now. Look at that, or whatever. It helps inspire your performance, and things will come out of me that the look can achieve. It inspires the inside of me, too.
C: What most fascinated me about the characters you play in HELLBOY and in PAN’S LABYRINTH had a lot to do with movement. You’re not just standing upright, walking straight forward. There’s a whole ballet of movement, especially in PAN’S LABYRINTH, whether it needs to be fluid or whether it needs to be jerky. Can you talk a little bit about how you work that out, either by yourself or with Guillermo, about how a character just walks?
DJ: I’m glad you brought that up. I think communication for me has always been more than just my words. Since I was a kid, I made wild facial expressions, hand gestures, and I have to assume someone’s position. When I’m talking about someone, I take on their personality, which includes their walk, their stance. Everything communicates to me—body language and expression, in addition to words.
So, when taking on a character like these that are so visual in nature and so colorful, I do like to start with not only studying the dialogue and getting the character points as an actor, but also the body movement. It’s all part of the same package for me. I go to my 24-hour gym, and I wait until the aerobics classes are done. I go on the dance floor there with the mirrors late at night, and I just start thinking of how a character might... I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself here...
Guillermo is a director who likes to meet with you ahead of time, give you all his notes, like, here are the quirks that I see the character having, here’s where he comes from in nature, here’s what his motivations are, all that talk is done ahead of time. I can take that information, then I go to my gym, look at myself in the mirror, and I start working without the costume...to see how far from human is this. The further from human you go, the more difficult the physicality will be, because of the posture stance, the walk, the crawl, whatever it is. And, I start to see and envision what works, what won’t, what looks silly, what looks really cool. So, that’s Dougie on his own time.
Then comes the fitting, or simultaneously, a lot of fittings with makeup and costumes. This fits, that doesn’t, that pinches in the armpit, okay, that’s too loose in the crotch, or whatever. All that stuff happens. With those fittings, I see myself in the mirror at the shop, and then you can see...well, like for PAN’S LABYRINTH, you see this leg contraption that goes way out, zigzags, and part of my leg disappears, and there’s a prosthesis that’s making the leg a different shape. How does that move? Am I going to clunk into myself...and sure enough, I did. If I twisted my legs towards each other, then they would go ‘clink’ in the back, but I really had to find Pan’s stance and walk. So, doing that and going back to the gym, and now I have to strengthen those areas. In order to make this organic, it has to look like this character has lived like this since he was born—not like some guy assuming the movement just for a movie.
So, that means that I have to get comfortable. Now, I knew it for Pan, for instance, I had to be on a six-inch stilt, sort of, I was raised, and in a high-heeled sort of position, so my toes were taking a lot of the weight. So, I walked around that gym on my tiptoes, crouched, because I was seven feet tall in that costume. My co-star, Ivana Baquero, was four feet tall. So, if you’re going to be in a shot together, that means Doug gets to crouch. So, strengthening that position was crucial, the core muscles in my abdomen and my back and my thighs to be able to take that kind of squat and carry a scene out with weight on me. The head was heavy; the suit was heavy. And, I also wanted to have balance and, like I said, organic movement, so that when I started a move across the room and came to a stop, it all looked, hopefully, natural, instead of, Oh gee, clunky, clunky, I’m losing my balance ....WHOA-A-A [scream]...kerplunk! That was me, looking like a jackass at the gym at night and hoping nobody from the weight area would look over and say, What the hell is he doing?
C: Were there any particular reference points that you had for the move into these two characters, like specific traits?
DJ: Yeah. The one thing that rang in my head was a little moment that Guillermo wanted the faun to work in whenever he could. He said to study the back end of a barn animal, mostly like a goat, and see how their hooves stomp into the ground, and see how they shake off flies, like, that shivery, shimmy that the hind quarter does. And, so a couple times in the film, you’ll see me do that. That was a Guillermo-ism.
And, the other thing is that the Pale Man...wow, the Pale Man was...Guillermo and I are remembering it differently, I think, but I remembered our first talk being that he was sort of going to gallop disjointedly down the hallway after Ofelia when he’s awakened and gets his speed up. And, that was making it a near-miss for her to try to escape. When I got on set and we were doing the walk-through of that entire scene, Guillermo was, like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, way too fast, way too coordinated!"
C: In the final film, he almost looks like he can’t stand up on his two feet because he’s so thin.
DJ: Exactly. Again, this is when you have a director who knows exactly what he wants to see and what he doesn’t want to see. And, when I got on set and did that gallop, it was fast and furious, it was so not working, way not working, that he knew it would be much more frightening if it was a creepy, ‘I can barely walk’ sort of thing. In practicality, you would think, Couldn’t a little girl who’s healthy run faster than him and get away? But, the thing is, though, that the Pale Man sits in this chamber of his, and children get trapped in there. Eventually, they’re going to tire, and he’s going to catch them. So, he’s confident about himself. He doesn’t care. If he sits at that table, asleep, and waits for a child to break the rules to wake him up, he goes a long time between wake-ups. So, when he does wake up, he’s probably creaky, and he’s old. You know how many generations and centuries he’s been there. So, it made sense for him to have an infirmed, ‘I just woke up after ten years of sleep’ type of walk. I thought it made for a chilling moment on film.
C: Did Guillermo explain to you why it was important that the same person play both of those characters?
DJ: Not right up front. At first, I thought, What a nice compliment that he likes my style enough to think that I can be versatile enough to play two characters in the same movie. That’s great, I was complimented by it. But, when we were on set, he mentioned to me, he said, "In my sick mind, I think that the Pale Man might be a creation of Pan’s." It could be. He leaves a lot of these questions unanswered. But, if the Pale Man sequence of the film is one of Ofelia’s tests that were set up by Pan, could the Pale Man be a creation of Pan, or the incarnation of Pan? And then, it made sense for the same actor to play both parts, of course. So, every decision Guillermo makes is very calculated.
C: Yeah, I asked him about it, actually, and he said something similar. He said that, and the toad, too, was all the same thing basically. That the three tests are essentially springing from Pan’s...
DJ: ...from his prankster side. Wasn’t Pan just delicious in that you...and this is what I loved about reading the script, too...not until the very last page do you know, is he good or is he bad? Is he an angel figure or is he a demon? Is he bringing her to her rightful place for eternity, or is he bringing her to her demise for eternity? You don’t really know until the very end. I loved him. I loved playing Pan. He’s become one of my few favorite characters ever. And, I hope I’m remembered for when I die.
C: Sure. I know that you had to learn Spanish for this film, but is that your voice that we hear?
DJ: Guillermo is being, everyone’s being very generous in not mentioning the voice thing. But, I will tell you that in the finished product, you do hear a voiceover actor, because I was terrified at the beginning because of the Spanish factor. I was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know that I can memorize that much dialogue in Spanish. There’s no way. I had no confidence in myself whatsoever. And, Guillermo told me, he said, If it would make you more comfortable, you can just count to ten to give me the right pauses, and I’ll have someone dub over. Don’t worry about that. We’ll get close.
Well, I could not live with myself if I’d counted, you know, [imitates cheesy Spanish accent] One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. If I’d done that on film, and he had no lip synch to work with at all, I would have hated myself. So, I did buckle down and learn the dialogue word for word, but I was terrified that I was going to be pronouncing things so off that they could never use it, so the voiceover idea stayed alive, just to make sure that he could get the nuances and the language that I couldn’t hear. But then, by the end of the process, it turns out that everybody told me I’d pulled it off great. But, Guillermo also, just like he has specifics in mind for visual, he also has specifics in mind for the sound. And, it was just easier in the post-production process to have a Spanish-speaking native actor come in to get those nuances that he needed.
C: All of your scenes in PAN’S LABYRINTH are with Ivana. How long did it take her to get used to the way you looked?
DJ: She’s been quoted as saying—and this is exactly how I remember it as well—but at first...she’s a very mature young lady. She’s 11 years old, but she’s got the soul of an 80-year-old woman. When I met her, there’s something behind her eyes that is very mature and very old-soul-ish. She had her tentative ‘I’m not sure what to make of you’ moments, but the next thing was...the first time she met me, it was with my own face. It was at one of our rehearsals in Madrid. One of my early fitting trips, and I met her at the production office with her mom. It was all very nice and casual. So, then, when she saw me on set all made up, you know, then she knew that that was the tall, skinny, goofy, funny guy that was in there, that would make fun, that would sort of cross legs with her and play a game. So, that made it easier for her.
But, she understood the makeup process, and she’s probably the most focused and dedicated actress I’ve ever worked with. She amazed me. That she could put in the hours that she did, and [tolerate] the conditions that she was in, too, like that scene where she’s crawling down the tunnel to go to the toad. On the wide shots, they couldn’t put kneepads on her, and she’s going across rough terrain, and she was in pain, and her knees took a beating over that. That was the only time in the entire film that she had a little breakdown. But, she trudged ahead. She wiped the tears and shot again—Take 14, or whatever. So, I really admire her so, so much, and having a chance to get to know her a little bit.
So, me being dressed up as Pan, it ended up being like I was her ‘big teddy bear’ kind of thing. I was a big stuffed toy at the end. And, the little girl part of her came out. Before we left the movie, she gave me a pencil drawing of Pan, as a little girl would do, right? And, what a keepsake that is for me. It’s a nice piece of art, too. And, she signed it, she said, “Doug Jones, as the young and beautiful Pan.” I love that.
C: I noticed the L.A. Times recently referred to you as the modern-day equivalent of Lon Chaney.
DJ: Wasn’t that the sweetest thing?
C: How does that sit with you? No pressure.
DJ: Yeah, no pressure whatsoever, right? I did a radio interview just the other day, too, at a station out here for a show called Film Freak, and he referred to me as a modern-day Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney.
C: Lon Chaney makes sense, though.
DJ: How very sweet that is. Those are huge shoes to fill. When you think of the legends and the icons in the industry, I would never want or assume to...I don’t want to disrespect his memory by saying that I’m him again, that I’ve reincarnated Lon Chaney, because I would love for his work to stand alone. Hopefully, one day when I’m gone, people can remember what Doug Jones did. That would be wonderful and marvelous. I’m not counting on that, but it would be great.
C: Guillermo also mentioned when he and I were talking about HELLBOY 2, correct me if I’m wrong, but he said you’re actually playing more than one character in that film.
DJ: Right. This hasn’t been "officialized" or anything yet, in fact, most of the cast is still without a contract at the moment, so we’re all—I’m using the quote marks in the air—we’re all “in talks.” But, I think, when we come to terms, I’m confident that we will, I believe that there are maybe one or two other characters that he has in mind for me as well. I haven’t been to the creature shop yet to see what those designs are and what the creatures actually are.
C: Did he give you any indication what they would be?
DJ: I have a script so I can guess, but I don’t really know for sure.
C: Can you say if they are villainous in nature?
DJ: [Laughs] I’m going to guess that yes. I’m going to guess they are. HELLBOY 2 is going to be like a big piece of rich cheesecake for action and comic book and horror fans. It’s going to bring a lot together. And, it’s got creatures galore. That’s the whole nature of HELLBOY and the BPRD team is that we fight the forces of hell. So, when those gates of hell are opened up, and things are running amuck on earth, you’re gonna see some critters. So, that’s great.
C: You did Abe’s voice for the animated Hellboy films, right?
DJ: I sure have. We finished SWORD OF STORMS. It’s already out on Cartoon Network and, I think, the DVD comes soon in February. The next one is BLOOD AND IRON, and I’m not sure when that airs on the Cartoon Network, but I think it’s lookup-able.
C: Is the story line continuous?
DJ: No, they’re stories unto themselves. Each one stands alone as a feature of its own.
C: Do they animated films bridge a gap between the feature films? Or, is there no real connection there?
DJ: Other than the fact that Ron and Selma and I are all doing voices of the characters, but the stories...like, for instance, Abe Sapien in the films is clairvoyant and I can put out my hand and I can tell what’s been there and what your personal history is and all that. In the cartoon version, he does not have that power, so it’s more based, I think, on the comic books than the movie.
C: I did want to talk about one thing you did years ago...
DJ: Umm-m-m. These are always the scary questions. I don’t know what you’re going to pull out right now.
C: This is not like an embarrassing moment or anything. I was looking through your list of credits and I thought, Hey, that’s probably the first time I ever saw Doug Jones in anything. I never watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" when it was one. I still haven’t. But a friend of mine kept pushing me, pushing me. And I finally said, Okay, show me one episode. So, she showed me “Hush,” and it scared the crap out of me. And, I didn’t realize until I did the research for this interview that you were one of the Gentlemen.
DJ: I was the leader of the Gentlemen, the tall, skinny one.
C: That’s right. I have a lot of friends that love that show, and that is the episode they always point to as probably the finest moment of the show. That one and the musical. Did it take a while for you to register that that was something special?
DJ: It unfolded itself as we were filming that episode. I kind of knew that this one was going to be special. At the beginning of the process, of course, I was going in to audition for a role like any other TV part that I’d done. But knowing that Joss Whedon, creator of the show, was coming down from his office to direct and write this episode, that gave it a special element right there. And, then, after getting the episode script and seeing that they were going to be doing over half of it in complete silence, was, like, Wow, what a daring thing to do on television, ‘cause you know, television is all about, grab their attention, keep ‘em so they don’t change channels. And, here you’re doing half the show in silence, which I felt was an artistically brilliant thing to do. It ended up, instead of being like something where people change channels because they weren’t getting enough stimulation, they stuck with it because they were, like, Whoa!
With the Gentlemen, Joss wanted us to be very floaty and elegant and very gentlemanly and smiley and polite to each other, which gave it the most cre-e-e-epy effect when you’re tearing someone’s heart out. So, we were like surgeons working together with our tool bags, and our mission was to collect seven hearts and then go back to wherever we came from. I think the nightmarish part for people was the two-facedness of it. Here comes this character that’s always smiling, and on the inside is, I want to tear your heart out, I need to. That’s where the creepy comes from for me when I watch it. I rarely get creeped out by something I’ve done, and watching that episode, I got the willies. I did not expect that, because I know what’s coming next, I shouldn’t be scared.
C: It was terrific, but it didn’t inspire me to watch the rest of the show, because I thought, well, if that’s as good as it gets, I don’t want to see any others. Everything else will be subpar.
Okay, I know you’re very limited about what you can say about playing the Silver Surfer.
DJ: We can tap dance all around it, if you need to.
C: Sometimes it’s more fun to get the answer that is not an answer. But, we can talk about the FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER trailer, because the trailer is out there now. It’s a great trailer, it’s a unique approach to trailer making, especially for an action film. What do you think about it, first of all?
DJ: Oh, I love the trailer. I put myself in an audience member’s position, and I thought, That gave me the exact tease that I need to want to know more about the Silver Surfer character, where does he come from, what are his powers, and, Wow! he was so agile and strong. He took Johnny Storm down like it was no problem, like he was an insect. So, like, Wow! I need to see more of that.
C: Was that the first time you’d seen the finished Surfer like that?
DJ: I saw a film test of it back before the movie was ever made. We go back to a lot of preproduction work, and so I did see about a five-second snippet with the combination of practical, digital effects, and my work involved. It was a close-up of the Surfer. I was just blown away when I saw that, and then to see him on film in the trailer was, like, Woo-hoo!, you know, goose-bumpy for me.
C: I know you did your research on the history of the Surfer, and the character has an almost religious cult-like following and has for decades. Why do think that is, first of all, and, second, Did you feel any sort of extra pressure to really nail this guy?
DJ: Without a doubt, yes. Again, just like what happened for me in HELLBOY, I wasn’t familiar with the comic book. I had to go back and look at Abe Sapien and see why people love him so much. With this one, it was, like, okay, Silver Surfer, I’m not up on my comic book history, I’m sorry, I feel terrible about this. The fans should hate me for that, but when I went to a comic book store right here in Burbank, Calif., and I talked to the kid behind the counter, and I said, Silver Surfer, please tell me what you got, he was, like, Omigosh. Seeing his excitement said to me, That’s probably what people think, and I’ve got to remember that. He gave the Essentials book that was the first 18 volumes of the “Silver Surfer” stand-alone comic. He also gave me The Fantastic Four Essentials, where the Surfer was introduced. I think it was lines 48, 49, 50, something like that. So, I went back and saw how he was introduced and then seeing his origins and all. My god, I fell in love with this character so fast. Not only is he stunningly beautiful. I love his inner turmoil. He’s gotten his power, and he’s on his mission as a herald for Galactus, reluctantly. It was all done to save his own people and his own planet.
C: Yeah, it’s a tragic backstory for sure.
DJ: A tragic backstory, right. And, he carries that with him every day with his silent, strong, stoic angst. Love that. And, by the way, these are all things that I am not. So, I had to really buckle down and throttle back, as much as I like to express, and just let the eyes talk, and let a stance, and lower the voice and speak slower and more directly, and trust and feel that that was enough, that he was getting his point across. He didn’t need to do more because he is all that powerful. So, that was interesting for me as a character to delve into. But also, the beloved-ness of him and how much the fans love him put so much pressure on me, but in a good way. In a good way that, hopefully, my main concern is what the fans think, especially when I’m in this kind of a genre film. I know that the fans...
C: They’re going to make or break the movie.
C:...and putting this kind of icon in this film. The character has surpassed his place of his origin. In a lot of ways over the years, his image is bigger than The Fantastic Four image. I’m sure there have been a lot more T-shirts with him on it than the Fantastic Four.
DJ: Yeah, right. But, at the end of the day, I need to know that the fans are happy with what I’ve done more so than the studio. I love working for my employers, so don’t get me wrong, and I respect their opinions and all that, but we’re making this for the people who buy the tickets. The people who are buying tickets for this movie are going to be made up of a lot of people who know the comic book character, love the comic book character, and want to see him remain pure on film. So, that meant a lot to me, that I do my part to see that that happens, whatever small part that was in the whole process.
What resonates with me in this character is that he is so very Christ-like with his sacrificial beginnings. Throughout the comic books, I love how he speaks with such truth, and seeking truth and justice and purity and righteousness. And, he’s a champion for the underdog, and the human beings he has contact with throughout his stories are so inspired by him as a role model. Again, that put responsibility on me as well, because I’m thinking, once this film comes out, and if people equate even a little bit of Doug Jones with the character, that puts a certain responsibility on me when I’m out in public even, which I hope I can live up to. Again, whatever small part I played in this process, I hope I can live up to it.
C: As far as you know, it’s your voice we’re going to be hearing as the Surfer?
DJ: I would say, So far so good. Because he’s otherworldly, so many things are in process and so many decisions are being made as they happen. We don’t know...and again, the pressure of this character has made a committee-effect happen from the top on down, with lots of opinions being thrown in along the way and a very collaborative effort, I would say. So, that would include the voice, and the voice I was giving them on set, everyone responded very favorably to. My co-stars loved it, Tim story, the director, loved what I was doing, so...but, the question remains, is that too human? So, to synthesize him a tad, whether it’s a voice with a treatment, whether it’s a complete synthesized, generated voice-none of that’s really been answered that I’ve heard yet.
C: That’s one of the many things that you can’t tell from the trailer either.
DJ: I do what I can do when I’m doing the part. After that, what happens in post-production, both visually and audibly, is out of my hands, and really is none of my business.
C: All of the things you’ve said about the Surfer’s backstory-can you say, is that dealt with in the film?
DJ: No, you’re not going to see much. I think he’s introduced in the film much like he’s introduced in the comic book.
C: Okay, just flying in and...
DJ: He comes to earth on his usual, standard, everyday mission for Galactus, seeking out planets that are consumable and destroyable that have the right energy that Galactus can feed on.
C: So, does Galactus play a role in the film? Is he seen in the film?
DJ: Well, that’s where you’re going to get a very nebulous quote from me. All I can say is that you can’t really introduce the Silver Surfer on film without Galactus as some sort of presence.
C: We all know that the Surfer is not a villain. He may have been fighting the Fantastic Four initially, but he’s not a villain.
DJ: No, he’s not on an evil mission to control the universe himself, no, no. Even Galactus, I think, is just hungry, you know. We all need to eat, right?
C: Very true. Okay, you were talking about how the Surfer’s backstory is dealt with. He comes in as the harbinger of Galactus. Is his backstory dealt with?
DJ: "Touched on" is the phrasing I would use, but not exposed or shown. There’s no need for it in this one. Hopefully, if we get the chance to do a stand-alone film, we can delve more into that.
C: Is that something that has been discussed as a possibility?
DJ: It hasn’t been discussed with me as far as, here’s a script, here’s what we want to do with the character. And this is just me and my opinion, but it would be great to see happen, wouldn’t it?
C: Even before the Fantastic Four movies came out, the idea of a Silver Surfer movie has certainly come up over the years. I like that they’re introducing the character in a Fantastic Four movie, since that keeps it more faithful with the source material. I should have asked you this when we were talking about the trailer, but the one concern that was voiced about it was that we see the Surfer’s eyes. Have you heard this?
DJ: Oh my gosh, the eyes have been talked about constantly. And the opinion is going back and forth, because of course in the comic book they were all white. I don’t know, but being that I’m not a comic book purist, I kind of like seeing pupils and irises because I get more of a window to perform that way. That’s my personal feeling, but everyone’s going to differ on this one. And what you see in the trailer and what the finished product might be could be slightly different.
C: If that’s all people are talking about, you’re in pretty good shape.
DJ: Exactly. If it comes down to an iris, we’re doing pretty good.
C: Okay, we’ll get you off the hot seat as far as the Silver Surfer goes. I noticed that you had done some music videos in the past...
DJ: I love music videos, love them.
C: I noticed that you’d done work with Madonna, Marilyn Manson. Who else?
DJ: My favorite one is Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was a song called "Soul To Squeeze" [a song introduced on the CONEHEADS Soundtrack].
C: Oh sure. The circus-themed one.
DJ: Right. The traveling carnies from the 1930s, black and white. I was the sideshow contortionist. There were a lot of jugglers, clowns, and freaks. And I show up about five times in the video, and one of those time in an interior shot of a trailer and I’m reading a book with a swinging light bulb above me, but with my legs behind my head.
C: What Madonna video were you in?
DJ: It was from her Bedtime Stories album, and the song was called "Bedtime Story." And in that one, here I think "Yay, I’m in a Madonna video, what great exposure." There are two shots of a couple, long lanky people in black smoking jacket/bathrobe-looking things on a stone bench in a fish pond with our feet in the water. But our heads have been removed, replaced with hand mirrors with Madonna’s face on them. So that was my big Madonna moment.
C: What about Manson?
DJ: There were a lot of characters in that one. I think it took place in the near future. The idea of the storyline, the dramatic moments of the video are about what people have become because of television. We’ve evolved with really huge eyes. So the top half of everyone’s head had really big eyes. It was kind of freaky looking. There are a couple shots of me being one of the big-eyed people.