Joel Harlow Talks 'Hellboy' Makeup, Getting Mike Mignola's Approval

Fans are getting pretty excited about getting the full trailer for the upcoming Lionsgate Hellboy reboot, but trepidation is a part of the game, too.

Joel Harlow works on "Star Trek Beyond" makeup

While Oscar-winning makeup effects master Joel Harlow isn't "worried" really, he wants to make the distinction that THIS version of Big Red (played by Stranger Things star David Harbour) takes cues from the source material: Mike Mignola's "Hellboy" comics rather than the previous Guillermo del Toro films (which starred Ron Perlman as Hellboy).

In a recent chat with IGN, Harlow spoke a bit about the process of designing the new look, as well as checking in with Mignola when changes were being made:

"I love the Del Toro films and absolutely appreciate all the characters that were brought to life in them. It's a tough act to follow for sure, so we all made a conscious decision to not reference any of the live action versions that came before. We focused on the artwork and the comics.

Every time I had an idea or a design change, I would bounce it off Mike to assure it fit into his design for the characters. Of course, every time you translate a two-dimensional design into a living three-dimensional character, there are inevitably alterations that take place … but we tried our hardest to remain loyal to the source material.

We created a look that was a more amped up version of the facial features that make him Hellboy. We gave him a larger jaw, a heavier brow, a more vibrant yellow eye look, larger teeth and, of course, extremely large horns.

We wanted to deliver real-world representations of his two-dimensional illustrations. I felt he needed details that grounded him in reality, so we added scars along with arm, tail and body hair. I also had a variety of horn shapes and lengths because his horns are constantly growing, so they would likely never look the same after he cuts them down. These touches made him feel grittier and more appropriate for an R-rated Hellboy.

Our Hellboy clearly has a fuller head of hair. The idea being that he is younger than what we typically see in the comics. He still ties his hair back, but he just has more of it, so it isn't as obvious… and he isn't as obsessed with making it perfect because he has bigger challenges to overcome.

The challenge is to make them believable within the context of the world they inhabit. There are a few worlds we glimpse in Hellboy. There is the ancient world, populated with creatures such as giants, trolls, goblins, and beasts of legend. There is the world of creatures that interact with our world on a 'regular' basis. Then there is Hell. I really wanted to differentiate the creatures in Hell from every other creature in the film. Their look is entirely nonhuman and very frightening. It's a glimpse into a world of beings that do not follow the anatomical laws of anything terrestrial."

There will be other notable creatures hellish and great in the film too, like The Gruagach, Baba Yaga and Anung Un Rama. Harlow is also rather excited by his Klaus Werner von Krupt interpretation, and not purely because he plays the role.

We're expecting the first full Hellboy trailer to hit on Thursday, with the feature releasing in theaters on April 12th 2019.

About Mary Anne Butler

Bleeding Cool News Editor Mary Anne Butler (Mab, for short) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), and most recently Bleeding Cool.

Over the past 10 years, she’s built a presence at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). 

Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. 

Though she be but little, she is fierce. #MabTheProfessional

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