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The Doug Jones Experience on location in Budapest – Part 3 (the first bit) October 4, 2007

Posted by hellmistress in Filming, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Monday, 24th September, 2007 

Day 81 of filming – our first day on set 

05:57 – Wide awake. Probably excitement. Alarm set for 06:00, but that was a waste of time. Sheesh. Must go to the bathroom again. Yep. Excitement.


06:50 – Ready to go, and have been for an hour. Another hour to wait until we wander over to the Boscolo to meet Dougie and his driver, Gabor, for the drive to the location shoot. Awake waaaaaay too early. Darn. Fidget. Maybe another trip to the bathroom .


07:50 – About to head out the door wearing my scruffies, carrying a backpack and a fleece jacket with my silly hat in the pocket. Journal … check. Goodie bags with swag … check. Camera … check.  Pen … oops – where the heck …??? Ah – found it. Phew. Now that could have been a disaster. Perhaps I should make a last trip to the bathroom before we go .


07:57 – Sitting in the atrium of the Boscolo, awaiting Doug and Driver Gabor. Dang, this place is gorgeous.


The Atrium at the Boscolo Hotel

08:00 – Dougie joins us, hugs all around, and he’s wearing his work clothes – a couple of old tees, his old jogging pants, his Silver Surfer hoodie and a comfy pair of slippers. He introduces us to more of the staff, including gorgeous Musah, the doorman, whose huge smile just charms us to pieces. More on Musah later.

08:03 – Here we go. Now this is when I introduce someone who becomes very special to us over the next few days – Doug’s amazing driver Gabor. I don’t think we ever saw this young man without a smile on his face, and when Gabor smiles, he lights up the world and everyone around him. His quiet yet astute humour, his care of Doug, Pat and me, and his calm, generous nature endears him to us within minutes. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him, even though – like Doug – he works horrendous hours. His patience and good humour is the same even after a 19-hour work day.

So, Gabor loads us up, and we head out of Budapest in the morning rush hour. Oh, just a little aside about Hungarian drivers. They patently frighten the crap out of me. However, what makes them unique is that they are so goldarned polite about it. Crossing a road – even a wee side-street – means taking your life in your hands as a car appears out of absolutely nowhere and comes within nanometers of taking the skin off your bum as the vehicle screams to a halt. As you stand there, heart almost giving out with major palpitations and your hair turning white at a rate of knots, you look at the driver, who smiles, waves graciously and politely waits for you to gather what wits you have left and get out of his way. Not a horn-honk to be heard, and certainly no bad language. It’s all so … so … civilised.


But … Gabor is different, as he smoothly wends his way through the heavy traffic and heads over the bridge to Buda – and gives us not one grey hair. From there we emerge into lovely countryside and neat little villages. Hungary really is a beautiful country.


As soon as Doug is in the front passenger seat, he checks that I have plenty of knee room, then he reclines the seat back, his socked feet come out of the slippers and impossibly long legs fold up so that he can tuck his feet into the corner where dashboard and windscreen meet. Dougie is now in Travel Mode. This way he garners what rest he can while chatting quietly and enjoying the drive. When I suggest he puts the seat back further, he declines with a chuckle, saying he’ll fall asleep, and if that happens we’ll have to use an electric cattle prod to wake him up. This is the first inkling we get about how very, very tired the cast and crew are this far into the shoot.


08:45 – we turn off onto a rough side road and trundle uphill amid fields of vines and odd-looking little caves sunk into the ground with steps leading down to wooden doors. The consensus is that they are wine stores, and in fact September in this part of Hungary signals many local wine festivals held to celebrate the harvest. I meant to walk back down the road to take a photograph of one of these little caverns – alas and alack, my memory failed me and I forgot. Dern it.


We enter a level area peopled with countless trailers, and a BIG tent off to the left. We’re met with a warm smile by 3rd AD Nick, who walks us to Doug’s trailer, and we say goodbye for now to Gabor, who will be around the set doing all sorts of stuff. He has a long day ahead of him before he drives us back to the hotel.


Doug’s trailer and makeup trailer are tucked behind Guillermo’s, and I just couldn’t resist taking this picture.


Doug’s trailer door


Good, eh.


Anyway, Doug says to set up base camp in his home from home, and we take him at his word. Bags dumped, jackets stowed, and we read the call sheet for the day. Ron … Doug … Brian … John Alexander … Cat Vendor … Silkard … about 150 extras … well, you get the drift. A LOT of people. Doug checks the ‘sides’ to see what scenes are scheduled and to see if he has any dialogue, and then we do the next important thing on the schedule – cereal!


We tootle around the trailer to the Big Tent, which, it turns out, is craft service. Grabbing a big bowl and filling it with cereal, Doug looks around.


Tej,” he mutters, “Need tej …”.


Tej, it turns out, is Hungarian for ‘milk.’ Oh, if only we’d known that word yesterday!


Back in the trailer, cereal is eaten (breakfast is later in the day) and then on to … makeup.


09:00 – Well, if you think I’ve been disgracefully fan-girly so far, I’ll warn you it is seriously going to get a whole lot worse from now on. Here’s why.


When you are the webmaster for an actor like Doug Jones, whose major film roles so far are mostly under beautiful and innovative prosthetic makeup, you get to know about the incredible people who create and apply these wondrous designs. Two of them are working with Doug on this film, and I know their work well – I am seriously overawed.


Thom Floutz and Simon Webber were two of the three-man team for Abe in the first film (the other is Nigel Booth, who is also working on Hellboy II but in another capacity), and they are back again turning Doug into everyone’s favourite fishstick, as well as the Chamberlain and the much-anticipated Angel of Death.


And so, for the next three hours or so, we get the awesome privilege of watching Doug being transformed into Abe Sapien by two masters of the art. Did I already say it was awesome? Well it was.


Today Doug is just wearing the head makeup and the collar base for Abe’s respirator, as his costume for the day is Abe’s new BPRD uniform – full jacket, long pants and boots, belt with gun and ‘stuff,’ plus respirator and goggles, most of which will be added when he gets called to the set and is ready to shoot a scene. Therefore the makeup time is shorter … just over three hours. This is Thom airbrushing around the mouth and lips.


Thom Floutz doing Doug’s makeup

During the procedure we talk of many things … reality shows and bezoars (google them) … clowns and sausage-shooting machines (don’t ask) … music, and how to pronounce words like Auchtermuchty. Pat, being Welsh, astounds us with her beautiful pronunciation of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the Welsh village with the longest name in the world. There is silence for a moment. Then –

“Say it again!” says Simon.


So she does. Awed hilarity ensues.


I also crease up watching Dougie/Abe hand-bopping and singing along to Des’ree’s ‘Life.’ Great fun.


We chatter away to the Beautiful Nora, Thom and Simon’s assistant, who is dreading the shoot finishing as she’s having the time of her life. Every time we show up in the makeup trailer, Nora greets us with her gorgeous smile and a word of welcome. She is a real sweetheart.


During the hours Thom and Simon are working on Doug, they patiently answer questions from both Pat and I and from Katy, a student of Dick Smith’s (makeup genius) who sent me some questions for her idols, and they also put up with two extra bodies cluttering up an already cramped trailer. Bless ‘em, they are amazing.


12 Noon – BREAKFAST!!!


Yes, it’s food time! Doug’s dresser Mike has turned up to get him into the first bits of his BPRD uniform, and we get out of everyone’s way and head for craft service. When we arrive it is already swarming with crew, all topping up for a long day ahead. The reason for the later times is that this is supposed to be the last day in the Troll Market, and from now on everyone is going onto night shoots – so call times are getting incrementally later and later, allowing everyone as much leeway as possible to get adjusted to the schedules.


We tuck into a good fried breakfast (scrambled egg to die for!), fruit juice and pastries, and then head back to Base Camp (Dougie’s trailer) to await the call to the set. Doug is curled up on one chair with his legs stretched out on another, the air conditioning on full blast to keep the makeup from deteriorating in the heat, and he’s tucked under his parka. Although he has a sofa bed he can’t lie flat on it wearing makeup because of pressure on his throat due to Abe’s collar, so Pat takes the sofa and I take the driver’s chair. We chatter for a while, talking about things Doug would like to do in future on the site. But the food and the comfort begin to take effect … getting … getting sleepy … yawn … talk later … zzzzzzzz ..zzz ….


To be continued …





1. aeb - October 4, 2007

Would love to see the pics, but can’t!

2. hellmistress - October 4, 2007

Hmmm … try it now – I’ve loaded them differently.

3. AleraBeth - October 5, 2007

This is so fantastic! I love your journal entries, and can’t wait for the next!
This is the experience of a lifetime! And all your “fangirl” info is great! You’re not alone, I’d be Oooing at all the same stuff lol

4. Laura - October 7, 2007

I love your story and how you write it!!! Can’t wait for more!!!

5. Celtic_fiddler - October 9, 2007

Oh Helen, it’s like I’m there with you and Pat!! You lovely talented writer, you!

Love and kisses,


6. Artie - March 8, 2009

OMG that is so amazing! I’ve always dreamt of meeting Dougie-san (other than being a generally wonderful guy, I really think he’s beautiful!!!), and you’re lucky to have met him! ^^

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