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The Doug Jones Experience on location in Budapest: Part 6 – Goodbye, New York … and Budapest … November 1, 2007

Posted by hellmistress in Filming, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
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Thursday 27th September, 2007
Day 84 of filming (continued)

 

Wearing prosthetics and makeup in films is an absolute pain in the bahookie. No, really, it is. And I wasn’t even the one wearing it. If I was, I would have given up the job years ago and found a nice comfortable, easy pastime cleaning sewers.

Pat and I sat opposite Doug in his trailer as we ate our hot lunch, once more courtesy of the lovely and considerate Meshi, and as we ate I realised yet again just how inhibiting, uncomfortable and tiring it is wearing all of this stuff for 12 to 18 hours a day, beautiful and well-designed though it is.

Doug was now wearing Abe’s eyes, those gorgeous, dark, gold-flecked orbs that are so much a part of the character. They are also incredibly inhibiting, reducing Doug’s vision down to a tiny triangle in each tear duct. Add the difficulty of avoiding getting food on the makeup around the lips, and the simple process of eating a meal becomes very arduous indeed. Any oil from the food has to be dabbed off his lips after every small mouthful, and the process is a slow one, by necessity. Doug finished his food long after we did, and I’m sure it was cold by that time.

Everything that we take for granted and don’t think about, like eating a meal, becomes a hurdle that has to be overcome … every time you take a drink of water it has to be just enough to keep you hydrated but not enough to put pressure on the bladder, because that is even more hassle if you have to visit the bathroom. Doug told us that he has to know his body and its limitations very well, and every day is a fine balancing act to enable him to be as comfortable as possible and to sustain his energy levels without compromising the prosthetics and the makeup. And he does that for 12 to 18 hours a day, 6 days a week. This is a 120-day shoot. Do the math. And then he has to give an acting performance on top of that. No wonder he says he has to not only think like an actor, but also as an athlete. Daunting, isn’t it?

And this is a situation borne not only by Doug, but by Ron, Anna and Luke, as they are all in makeup for this film. Tough, yet what a magnificent job they do of it.

Anyway, after lunch it was time for our post-grub snooze, and we were just settling down in our respective comfy places when …

 BANG!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Wha …?!?!?!!?

We all awoke with a start, and for a moment it sounded as though one of the external generators had exploded.

 BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

This time it was closer, and was immediately followed by an ominous rumble, followed instantly by another trailer-shakingly loud crash. Through the skylights of the trailer, brilliant light flashed and cracked as forked lightning arced across a blackened sky. The torrential downpour began seconds later, as the heavens opened. The noise of the rain on the trailer roof was intense, and the storm was right above us, the electrical discharges making lights flicker all around the trailer park and beyond. Water trickled down the inside of the trailer door due to the seal not being flush, but it trickled right back out again, so no damp carpets! But within minutes it stopped, just as suddenly as it had begun, and we settled back down awaiting the call to the set and our now customary snooze. It was about 1am.

We were woken by more banging – this time from someone knocking on the trailer door, and Bart Mixon joined us.

“Thought I’d take you for a look around the other sets,” he said, smiling.

GdT had given us permission to do so earlier in the evening, so grabbing our jackets and leaving Doug to relax, we set off, picking our way over to the huge sound stages, skirting enormous puddles of water as we went.

Korda Studios is state-of-the-art, and very big. The sound stage which houses the Bethmoora set and the lair of the Angel of Death is enormous, and eerily neat. No dings on the door jambs and no scrapes on the floors … it even smells new. It is, by necessity, barn-like, but the design team on Hellboy II had gone to town transforming this huge area into something that even in its unfinished state was deliciously eerie and unnerving.

If you visit the official site for Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and go to the gallery, you’ll see some of the pre-production artwork for Bethmoora, and the set design is phenomenal, although a lot of the scene will be matte work and CG backgrounds – evidenced by the huge green screen around the set.

But the set that truly creeped me out is the lair of the Angel of Death. Yet again the set was at this point still unfinished, but we walked along a pathway surrounded by – well, things (use your imagination), and entered the lair.

“Woah!” sez I.

“Yeah,” says Bart. “Good, huh.”

“It reminds me of H.R. Giger,” I replied, pretty lamely. That was the only answer I could think of that even remotely covered a description of the set.

Bart nodded. “Other people have said that too, and I’d agree, but it’s more organic, I think.”

Pat and I stood for a few minutes and drank in the atmosphere, and then we slowly moved along. Although I did notice a lot of jars with stuff in them. What kind of stuff? Well, Guillermo del Toro kind of stuff – GdT does love weird things in jars. I left the sound stage smiling at that one.

We strolled around more of the site, and met some interesting characters and objects on the way … Fragglewump, another critter played by the versatile Brian Steele (you’re going to love this fella!), a canary cage (Hmmm … curiouser and curiouser …) and … gasp … Doug’s two other characters The Chamberlain and, of course, the much anticipated Angel of Death. Both stunning and original designs, I have to say now that for me, the Angel is going to be the Pale Man (from Pan’s Labyrinth) of this film. Designed by the astonishing Norman Cabrera, she truly is … well … beautiful. I know, I know … that’s a word you wouldn’t expect to be used in this context, but, dagnabbit, she is. As well as being awe-inspiringly intimidating and downright creepifyin.’ She is also presenting her own challenges to both the makeup team (Simon and Thom once again) and to Doug, who has to create yet another haunting and paradoxical character through difficult prosthetics. And I know, because a certain tall, lean actor mentioned it in an interview, that there is in this script, the potential for this special lady to turn up in Hellboy 3. Just sayin’ …

Our tour over, we thanked Bart for his kindness and headed back to the trailer to hang out with Doug until he was called for makeup touch-up at about 3am. Snoozing quietly, we were awoken about thirty minutes later by Doug, returning sans makeup – once again, we were wrapped for the night. But in our case, Pat and I were wrapped for the movie – this was our last time on-set.

We were about to leave, as Gabor would be with us in just a few minutes to pick us up, so all that remained was for us to hand out goodie bags to Guillermo and Ron. GdT already knew he had one waiting for him – we had told him earlier, and his eyes lit up, twinkling with delight.

“You have swag?? For me?? I LOVE swag!” And he does. It doesn’t matter what you give him in a goodie bag, it’s as if you’ve given him the world. This time it was cookies and fudge, gothic literature and messages from members of the deltorofilms.com message board. We handed his bag to Adorable Ben, who, it later transpired, went straight to Guillermo with his swag, where it was duly consumed/read with great gusto, and, I’m delighted to say, with much pleasure.

Ron had wrapped at the same time as Doug, so Pat popped her head out of the trailer to see if she could see any sign of him – and spotted him walking from his makeup trailer. He joined us for a few minutes in Doug’s trailer, and it was the only time during the whole trip we saw him as Ron, and not Hellboy. We chatted for a while, collected the requisite Ron hug, and joked about the shoot. We wished him luck with the rest of the filming, and he gave us that unique Ron grin as he headed back out into the chill night. A great guy and a truly superb actor.

We managed to hug Thom and Simon before we left, and squished the Adorable Ben too, but all too soon everything was over and Gabor collected us and drove us back through dark country roads to the beautiful city of Budapest, twinkling majestically on the banks of the timeless river Danube.

We reached our hotel at 4am, and then came a moment we were dreading – saying goodbye to Gabor, who had taken care of us so well and with such kindness during our visit. There was more hugging, held-back tears and lots of thank you’s for this generous young man. We were going to miss him dreadfully.

Then we hugged Doug, who we would see again before we left, and headed into the hotel to try and get some sleep. But it was a long time before either of us did so. Our minds were full of New York streets and BPRD agents, Fragglewumps and things in jars, ectoplasmic scientists and dark, dark angels … such wonderful things.

But tomorrow was our last day in Hungary, and we had to face the fact that we were going home. We finally slept.


Friday, 28th and Saturday, 29th September, 2007.
Days 85 and 86 of shooting.

 

Friday was a quiet day. We slept until nearly midday, and even then we were subdued as we wandered around the Emke district looking for odds and ends to take home to family and friends, and in the evening we called in at a delightful restaurant called Mosaik, close to our hotel, where we indulged ourselves with some excellent local dishes and absorbed the quiet, relaxed atmosphere.

Pat had suggested earlier in the day that we visit a museum, something I had been aching to do since we arrived in Budapest. But somehow I just couldn’t stir up the enthusiasm. When I return to Budapest one day I’ll pork out on all of the mouth-watering art galleries and museums this magical city has to offer, but I suppose, in retrospect, I was still trying to absorb the amazing times we had been given during our visit.

Saturday morning came all too soon. We sorted out things, packed, futtered about and finally had to accept the fact we were leaving. At noon we checked out, and after asking the hotel to order us a cab for 2:45, we settled down to wait.

But we had one final warm ‘n’ fuzzy treat before we left. At 1:30, Doug turned up to say goodbye. After not much more than 5 hours sleep, here he was, our surrogate Big Brother, to make sure we were okay and that we had everything in hand to get us home safely. The first thing we did was return his kettle and mugs that he had loaned us at the beginning of the week, because I happened to mention that we didn’t have tea-making facilities in our hotel room. Gabor was picking him up at the Boscolo at 2:45, so after an hour, it was finally time to say goodbye. Doug was given detailed instructions about who to hug for us, and an extra bag of M & Ms to share with Simon and Thom.

And then we hugged the crap out of him.

Our last glimpse of Dougie was of him dancing along the sidewalk waving like a loon at us through the hotel window. Yep. To quote Mister J … it’s all about the love.

A short cab ride to the airport, more hugs, and I said goodbye to my dear mate Pat, my co-conspirator and fellow webmaster. It had been an utter blast.

The flight home was soon over, and at Aberdeen airport there was my dear, patient husband Mark, waving enthusiastically at me from behind the barrier. He was quiet in the jeep on the way home, and when I had said hello to the mutts, he sat me down with a cup of tea, and parked himself opposite me on the sofa.

“Now then …” he said, with a smile. “Tell me all about it.”

So … I did.

  

Epilogue.

So many people to thank, but I know you’ll bear with me, won’t you? Thom Floutz and Simon Webber, whose patience and generosity blew us away. And they are just so danged awesome. Nora – you are beautiful, inside and out. Driver Gabor, who took care of us like we were jewels. John and Angie Alexander, who were our set buddies and kept us straight in the weird and wonderful world of movie sets. Bart Mixon, for showing us around and just letting us be as geeky as all get out. To all of the people who were so kind to us on set … Tim ‘Gore’ Larsen … Mike Elizalde … Mark Setrakian … 2nd AD Ben, who was so good to us – I think I will adopt him … Brian Herring and Jamie Wilson, such charming souls … Nick, who guided us in the right direction and made sure we didn’t get lost … James Dodd, our Johann part 2 … Trusty Russell, Guillermo’s assistant … sweet Meshi, who made sure we were fed … Brian Steele, who made my day and enabled me to brag that I’ve been waved at by a troll … Selma Blair … such a sweetheart … and of course, Mister Ron Perlman who is just … well … Ron. And Hellboy. Wow.

Guillermo del Toro. He is El Maestro. ‘Nuff said.

And Dougie. Mister Doug Jones, gentleman, actor extraordinaire and beloved fishstick, without whom none of this would have been possible. He made this trip for two ol’ fan-girls such an amazing experience. Thanks, Mister J – we owe you one.

So this is Webmaster Helen signing off. Thanks for your patience and forbearance, and for tolerating my unabashed fan-girly drivel. Go see Hellboy II: The Golden Army when it hits cinemas next summer – I can tell you now, you won’t be disappointed.

There’s BIG LOVE!!!!!

Helen

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Comments»

1. Gary - November 2, 2007

It is bittersweet Helen…thank you so very much for letting us see through your eyes all the wonderful behind the scene stuff..it been quite a journey…it was as if i was right there with you and Pat…I still wish that i was there physically though, maybe…for HBIII..I can only dream.Once again thanks for the wonderful reports.

2. kirk - November 2, 2007

Bravo!

Thanks again so much for allowing us to travel along with you in spirit. I have enjoyed every moment.

3. Laura - November 2, 2007

Helen, you’re a great storyteller. Now I’m so sad that you have finished this amazing adventure!!! I don’t speak english vey well, but your tale with Pat has thrilled me!!! I will go to see the film and also more than once!!!
Cheers
Laura “Lilitu”

4. Madam Lash - November 4, 2007

I’m back! Great finish to your blog, Helen, and now I am going to have to read the whole thing from start to finish again (you’re not the only ‘Fan Girl’ here) because I have really enjoyed your story.

I’m also looking forward to reading more of Doug’s wonderful writing…. when he gets some ‘spare’ time (ha, bloody ha!).

5. CosmicAvatar - November 4, 2007

Awwww, what an awesome trip! Thank you for sharing it.

6. Ben - November 5, 2007

Hello Helen,
big love from Adorable Ben and Sweet Mesi. Miss you lots and thanks for the memories. Hopefully see you again soon
Big Hug
Ben & Mesi x x

7. Anne - November 7, 2007

I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments. Thanks so much for all the detail. Plus I’m green-eyed with jealousy over what you got to see. I appreciate you!

8. Parker - November 8, 2007

Hurray! Wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing!

9. Leopara Bates - November 12, 2007

sorry to say that i will not be seeing it in the theatre. i have RSDS and sitting in a cramped theatre seat for anything but live theatre just isn’t something i can do. i’ll preorder it and add it to what is becomming my large collection of Dougie dvds though so i can watch it over and over i promise! since the warrentee on my legs has expired i’ve been living vicariously through your adventures for the past couple weeks and i really HAVE to thank you for making it a little more tolerable. here’s love from Le’a (me)

10. Bonds - November 29, 2007

Guess what? Your blog is amazing! I can’t remember when was the last time i’ve overcome such a good blog that almost all articles/posts were interesting and wouldn’t regret spending my time reading it. I hope you will keep up the great work you are doing here and i can enjoy my everyday read at your blog.

11. Meredydd Cooper - December 5, 2007

Good afternoon! Your trip was quite the adventure in many ways. Thank you for bringing us along to see “The Masters” hard at work bringing our favorite and soon-to-be favorite characters to life. I’m particularly glad for the behind-the-scenes peeks; I’m one of those people who appreciates the magic even more once I have some notion of how it’s done! The glimpses of Budapest and areas around were truly breathtaking, yet did not feel completely foreign to me ( I tend to experience … unease… when in a country whose language I don’t know).

Thanks again and I await the next installment on this blog with great antici…

12. David G - January 31, 2008

Haha. I remember Leopara Bates with knee problems.

13. Courtney - April 21, 2008

Where did Dougie go?

14. CosmicAvatar - August 24, 2008

I know there hasn’t been a post here for aaaages, but I just wanted to say that I saw Hellboy 2 yesterday and I was so glad with the amount of screen time Abe got. Yaaaay!

Ahem, yes, the film was rather good too. *coughs*

15. Mike - March 1, 2009

Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

_________________________________
Making Money $150 An Hour


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