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Doug JonesDoug Jones - About his career - Aintitcool.com Interview
Thursday 18 September 2008, by Webmaster
Lil Audrey Brown sits down with DOUG JONES - the new man of a 1000 faces... Hey folks, Harry here... If you read GEEK MAGAZINE, you’re familiar with the work of the lovely Audrey Brown, known as Marion to her Myspace acquaintances - but she had a chance to spend forever with Doug Jones talking about everything from MY NAME IS JERRY, to THE HOBBIT and his association with Guillermo Del Toro - along with a few fantasy projects. She wanted to find a place for the interview, and when she contacted me - asked if I wanted her interview with the fantabulous Doug Jones, who the hell wouldn’t... IT IS DOUG ’FREAKIN’ JONES! So for your entertainment, here’s that amazing Doug Jones and our fly on the wall, Audrey...
I got the chance to interview Doug Jones after he wrapped filming this summer on the indie, “My Name Is Jerry” in Muncie, Indiana. It’s Doug’s first starring role out of makeup. There’s a website, MyNameIsJerry.Com.
At any rate, I have to admit to going a little, “Chris Farley Show” on him. I’m something of a fan, so I may have strayed from my professionalism just a tad. I basically saw it as an opportunity to have a conversation with him, instead of thinking of it as a press thing. Results are below…
I saw on your myspace page that you like “Waiting For Guffman”, I love that movie. What’s your favorite part?
Oh my gosh, well, for anyone who’s ever done community theater, ”Waiting For Guffman” was absolute genius. The thing was, that they all thought they were going to broadway, and I think that’s the moment where Corky says, “Okay you guys, we have a chance and we may be going to Broadway”, that for me was, of course, they’re not going to Broadway! The show sucked, right? But in their small world, they were making the best thing that has ever been ever seen ever. I’ve been on stage in projects with people who think this is it, we’re heading places, and I’m sitting there going, “Are you kidding me? This is a turkey!” I’ve worked on films the same way, and their like, “Oh this is gonna be huge!” And I’m like, “I just stabbed somebody’s eyeball out! How huge can this be?” Been there, done that. So that movie meant the world to me that we were making fun of it.
My favorite is when Parker Posey sings “Teacher’s Pet”.
Her pumps! She was dressing up for the day, wasn’t she? In her little fashion senseless way!
I like it when she falls over and screams, “Whoa!”
We just had our moment, you and I, and there was love.
Who is the performer that you watch that gives you goosebumps, who is that performer for you? Or which movie does it for you?
Oh my gosh, the Notebook! I love graphic imagery, and the dancing under the stoplight in the middle of street, in the middle of an intersection with no traffic. At the end of the movie, when James Garner and Gina Rowlands, the two of them are….oh my gosh, and she’s having a moment of clarity where she’s coming out of her dementia. Long enough to say, I’m here, you’re here, we’re here. And they lie down on that bed together in hopes that they can savor that moment together, and maybe that’s where their lives can end. Sure enough that’s where their lives did end. Ugh, I ended up turning that dvd off and sitting with the Mrs. We were just weeping together and hoping that that can be us someday.
Yours is so poignant, mine is a moment from Golden Girls with Bea Arthur.
Haha, great show! Bea Arthur was genius on the Golden Girls, all she had to do was give a look and I was in hysterics.
Okay, down to business. Do you have any idea whether you are going to be called to the set of the Hobbit?
Well, let me tell you, Guillermo has said several times when asked, that he’ll always have me in his films. Which I love hearing, but is that a guarantee? No, nothing’s a guarantee, but recently we were on the red carpet at the Saturn awards together. I was there to present an award that night, and he was there to accept a sort of a lifetime achievement award. Even though he’s quite young…he even said that in his acceptance speech, “Does the academy know something I don’t about my health?” Or about his cholesterol level, that’s what he said! Made me laugh.
Anyway, so we were both arriving at the same time, unbeknownst to each other, and I’m being interviewed on the press line and he steps in. Interviewer guy says on camera, microphone in hand, “So Guillermo, what do you have for Doug in the Hobbit?” and I said out loud, “Well this ought to be good, go ahead answer him Guillermo.”, but I felt bad for him, because he’s gonna have to come up with an answer on camera. Quite premature to talk about anything specific yet...and our relationship has been that he keeps me in mind for everything, and he tells me about it at the last minute. If he has to have a decision at 3 a.m., he’ll call me at 1 a.m. But that’s what seems to work for us, and that’s fine.
So we had not talked about the Hobbit at all, but the fan base and the press have been asking both of us…Guillermo’s answer was brilliant. He said, “Well, as usual I’m sure I will be putting Doug through some kind of pain and torture and agony somehow, so I’m sure you will see him somehow doing something ugly. And I looked at him and said, “Business as usual then?” And chuckle chuckle, and he said , “Let me say this, I have nothing official to report yet, but if I direct a hemorrhoid commercial Doug Jones will be in it.”. So that was reassuring. I’ve said before, if Guillermo Del Toro wants me to take a crap on film, I will take that crap, knowing that it will turn into some piece of art that we’ll be talking about next with a statuette in our hands.
I think you should be an elf, of course.
I’ve heard a lot about, well…there’s a specific role that sounds delicious! I don’t wanna say, I don’t know…that’s for Guillermo. The thing is as fans, keep talking! Because he listens to his fan base really a lot. If you have suggestions for what you want to see, he considers that. He’s very specific with what he wants, absolutely. But what you want from him and how he communicates with his fan base, keep talking, because he listens.
That’s fabulous news, because Doug Jones fans are pushy. Speaking of which, here’s a couple more future role suggestions from me and others, The Riddler for the next Batman.
It’s been an ongoing conversation on my IMDB page! Riddler, let’s look into it, that’d be great. I don’t know how to get that wheel rolling, but let’s do it.
This one’s totally random, but if they ever make a movie out of the greatest American hero, wait, do you remember that?
Believe it or not, I’m walking on air!
Okay, that one wasn’t from the community at large, it was from my sister law…so…
Thank you, precious!
What would you be doing if you weren’t acting?
I can tell you today, sitting here today that if Hollywood ever gives up on me, and says, we’re done with you Doug, that’s when I’ll go to nursing school, to be honest with you. That’s fits my personality and my need to have hands on with other people in a helpful sort of way. That would fulfill something in me that I haven’t tapped into yet.
Okay, I’m kind of embarrassed to ask, but I have to know. Is Bette Midler “cool”?
Bette Midler is beyond cool! In fact, working with Hocus Pocus with her…I had a geek out moment with her myself. She’s a wonderful singer, actress, songwriter, performer…but there are technical singers who are better, of course. But she’s a storyteller. She really communicates with her singing, and she’s funny, but she also brings a tear to your eye. In Hocus Pocus, I’m this far from her on my first night of work going…*stares*…and I felt like a jackass, but she was so kind to me. She’s a diva in every bit the complimentary way. She owns the space she’s in, she pushes everything she has out there, I mean, again, she’s like me that some people find her attractive and other people find her not. I’m the same way, I understood her, I think. But what I love about her is that she takes up all that she is and pushes it forward like, I am the sexiest beast that has ever walked to planet! So meeting her was a dream for me and working with her. So, I love me some Bette Midler. Long answer to a short question, sorry…
No, I love that. Now, I have to ask you this. I’ve interviewed some people here and there, and I always like to ask this. Do you feel cool yet?
I LOVE that question. Absolutely not. I have never felt cool once in my life, child. No. I’m a geek through and through. Here’s the deal, people who do say, “Yeah, I feel cool”. They’re lying. Does anyone feel cool, honestly? Honestly? You know, I have friends who are everything from comic book nerds to super models. I have a wide assortment of friends. Supermodels, are every bit as insecure as the comic book geeks. Maybe even more so, because. “I am so pretty, everybody wants me, I have to keep this image going?” Are you kidding me? They’re terrified of what might happen tomorrow if they wake up with a zit! You know what I’m saying? So, no, no, no, no. Cool? Never.
That’s great news, makes me feel better about life. If you don’t feel cool, then I’m okay.
Trust me, sweet pea, you are gonna be fine. (laughs)
I’ll take that compliment, from Doug Jones!
You work it girl, own it!
You have a lot of fans now, and you’ve said before that you wish you could have an hour with everybody. That must be exhausting, having all that energy come at you. How do you stay so… nice?
Well, you’re asking me to boast about myself aren’t you, which I just can’t do.
Don’t feel pressured to answer that…
No, I want to. I do. Talking about that celebrity radar thing, before I was on it this wasn’t even an issue. Now being on the radar somewhere with a certain amount of people who call themselves fans of mine, which I appreciate! That term, “fan” being used in the same sentence with my name, I don’t even understand how that works together. Having done so much in my career being under that radar, and not being noticed, I’m happy! What a huge compliment that is, right? I know what it’s like to be without it, and I don’t ever want to take for granted or minimalize how important these people are to me! Anybody who has heard my name and can associate work with it, and emotions with that, are dear to me. It’s people like you that keep me employed! I wanna embrace all of it and savor those memories! What did I ever do to deserve this? People who call themselves Doug Jones fans are angels to me!
When you are behind prosthetics, and you have to get into character and every character is so physically different…does that just come from your mind frame when you have to take on a character with just your physical being when you don’t have your face to work with?
Well, sometimes you have things to work off of, like Abe Sapien, was fish mutant man. Okay, well there are fish in the world, and you can go look at a fish and how it’s fins move and how it’s head darts around. That helps me get Abe’s physicality down. Other characters, like Aliens, or the episode of Fear Itself where I had to play a wendigo.
What’s a wendigo? You know, that’s folklore that comes from native America that like…I have no point of reference for. So that’s when you have to listen to your writer, and your director, and ask, “What’s the story we’re telling again?”, because I’m ignorant to it. I have to be like, “Alright, let’s let the wendigo play in me and see what comes out. And what comes out was what you saw on NBC that night.”
Was that your voice by the way?
Uh, huh, all of it was.
All the cries and the screams?
Child, I was howling! I was, yeah, no, we did a voice session and I did all the colors of everything. He layered my voice on my voice in different tones.
That was terrifying by the way. That could’ve been a feature. By the way, the first day that I met you, I went home and that was on television. Here I had just met the nicest celebrity ever, and then you were that terrifying thing. How’s that for timing? All the work you did de-programming my fear of zombies and then this.
Well, that character of Grady had sort of moments of sort of clarity where he was waking up and was like, “Oh, what’s going on?”, and other moments where he was like, the wendigo and varying degrees in between. So the voice had to change with that, as well as movement and physicality. That was a tiring job for me. I had to invest a lot of myself in that. Again, when you’re doing a character that’s that extreme…I do a lot of characters that are extreme, either visually or, emotionally. So trusting that the director is creating a playground that is safe to play in is the most important part… If I feel like I’m in a playground that is safe, and I won’t look like an idiot, and will get out of this having told a really good story, then that gives me more freedom to experiment with this character all the way to the limits.
As an actor, how do you come down off of all your roles? Since they are so extreme, do you have to have a vacation after each role?
Like I have time for one of those…va what ? Vacation? How do you spell that? That would be ideal. The hardest time I had bouncing back probably was after Hellboy II, because I played three characters in that a film for six and a half months. Longest film shoot I’ve ever been on. And, it was the longest film shoot with the least amount of time off. Usually when you’re on a long film shoot in another country somewhere you have a lot of down time. You’re not in every scene, so therefore you get days off here, here, and here. Hellboy II was a 128 day film shoot and I worked 108 of those days.
I’ve never teared up at the end of one work day hearing my call time for the next day until Hellboy II. I was getting back into my car at the end of a day, it was 11 at night, 18 hour shooting day. I get to go back to the hotel now. Our second A.D. comes up to me and says, “Doug, your call time for tomorrow, 2 o’clock in the morning pick-up.” 2 in the morning, that’s three hours from now! So I started saying, “Okay, see you at two, goodnight.” I got in my car with the driver, and I kind of put my head on his shoulder, and he just pet my head and drove away, like, “I’m sorry Doug.”
So, at the end of that shoot, I got back to Los Angeles, and I couldn’t come out and play for about two months. I was depressed, I was out of sorts with myself, yeah, and being that consumed in Abe and the Angel of Death and the Chamberlain, which was about a week of that shoot…being that consumed with that movie and that world and then coming back to be Dougie Jones again was difficult, and that’s the most difficult part for me in recent life. Is there an answer to this?
No, there is no answer. You kind of anticipated my next question, which was have you ever had a panic attack in costume, so…I’ll just skip to some more light and cheesy stuff. Ever been to Disneyland?
What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland?
I was at Disneyland in L.A. before it was the new improved, bigger, broader…I haven’t been there since then. I’m old school Disneyland. My favorite ride was Space Mountain. Just sayin’…
So you like coasters? I love them.
Well, I don’t do roller coasters very well, but that one has just enough without spinning you and making you vomit. Right? But also a lot of visuals and a lot of excitement, and even music piped in to the ears, it was like, “I’m in my own action movie, yeah!”
If you could do a biography movie about anyone, who would it be?
Ooh, that’s good. Biography movie…um, I have always wanted to play Abraham Lincoln. Came close to doing a cameo as Abraham Lincoln in Zorro II, but I had to run off to Europe and film something else, I think it was Doom. But I was so disappointed. That I was gonna have to miss putting on the beard and the stovepipe hat, you know what I mean?
You could probably just wear those anyway, around town.
Probably, hello I’m Abraham!
I think you would do fabulous in a Danny Kaye biopic.
Oh, my gosh, why didn’t I think of that? If I could play Danny Kaye, I would die happy.
I can’t believe nobody has done that, but I think you would be fabulous as him! I would also pitch to you and Abe Sapien musical with all Barry Manilow songs.
Can I just tell you, I am a HUGE Barry Manilow fan? Really, everybody is. I think there was even a skit on Family Guy about that…he’s prolific, how many hits did that man have? I’m serious, he’s genius. So, for me to be able to sing, “Can’t Smile without You” with my Ron Perlman next to me and ugh, dreamy. It was just dreamy. Forget about it.
I saw Hellboy II a handful of times and that was the scene that every single time people would respond to out loud. Okay, last question…what kind of wholesale advice would you give to the aspiring geeks of the world?
It’s the advice I give young actors starting out, but it applies in any field. What I tell young actors is that the odds are never with you. There are so many naysayers in the world who will say, “I don’t know if you’re cut out for this” or, “There’s only, there’s 100 people that want three positions. And that’s true for any job application and any field that you go into, so, but the fact is, when you turn on your t.v. or you go sit down in the movie theater and there’s people on that screen that means it can be done. If you wanna be a nurse and you go to a hospital, and see nurses in uniform, that means it can be done. Someone’s doing it. If you want to be a writer and there are books on the shelf behind me right now, someone did it. It can be done. It can be DONE! SO, go frickin’ do it.