“Any kids in the room?” Ron Perlman asked. “F-em.” He said parents should let them stay because it would be a learning experience, and who better to learn from than Uncle Ron? He told us right up front that he cursed and was going to do so during the panel. Since this is a PG-rated site, cussing will be edited out of this article.
Clare Kramer of GeekNation moderated the panel. The stage was set with a living room arrangement, Clare sitting in a chair and the guests sitting on the couch. The sofa tended to eat people, so Ron sank down in it with mostly his head and knees showing from my point of view, which was kind of funny. He talked about how he felt invisible for a long time, so he still had that Sally Field, “you really like me” feeling.
Clare asked him how he met Guillermo del Toro. Ron said that del Toro sent him an irresistible love letter. He thought he was invisible, but the director had watched everything he had done. He told Ron in detail what he had loved about each performance. Unsurprisingly, Ron agreed to meet with him.
He said he knew they would get along with Guillermo when he asked, “Do you mind if we start with dessert first?” (I agree. You never know when you might not make it through dinner). Del Toro told Ron about Hellboy and how much he wanted to make it with him as Hellboy. He introduced Ron to a statue of Hellboy. Ron, meet Hellboy. Hellboy, meet Ron. Ron knew nothing about the comic. He decided not to read it because he didn’t want to fall in love with the character and not get to do it, because he thought it was unlikely that it would be made. He tried to convince del Toro that he should be reasonable and cast someone big in the role, and del Toro said, “Yeah, I’ll make it with the Rock.”
After saying that, Guillermo del Toro waited seven years to make Hellboy because the studios wanted a big name and he wanted Ron Perlman. Del Toro got closer after making Blade 2, but Pan’s Labyrinth made everyone’s top ten list and gave the director the chance to do what he wanted to do. After finding out that Hellboy was a go, Ron read everything Hellboy.
He praised del Toro for his integrity, not just to people, but to his artistic vision and Ron talked about how rare it was in Hollywood. What I mostly learned about Ron Perlman from this story is that he is a fantastic storyteller. It was a gripping narrative. He became Guillermo when he was describing what the director did or said, and he was really funny.
Some highlights from the questions and answers from the audience:
When asked about getting the role on Sons of Anarchy, Ron said he got the call from Kurt Sutter and it was the last civil conversation they had in six years. (no explanation)
Is there a role he regrets passing up? He never passed on anything. Check IMDB. He has no standards.
Makeup for Hellboy and Beauty and the Beast took the same amount of time: four hours in the chair on a normal day, six and a half when they had to do something special.
Hellboy 3 is dead. They tried, and it’s not going to happen. (Sad, but not too surprising if you’ve been listening to the internet.)
When asked if Peg Bundy was really that sexy up front, Ron said she wasn’t that bad from behind, either. I found this an annoying question, not just because of the content, but because the actress’ name is Katey Sagal, and she was not playing Peg Bundy when she worked with Ron.
You killed Piney? Someone had to. He just talked, talked talked and he had that trike.
What superhero would you be? Hellboy. He has like 55 cats, he eats pizza and watches old Marx Brothers movies, and he’s an underachiever.
What would you Geek out about? “Porn.” Then he named Marlon Brando, Anthony Hopkins, and Sinatra as people he would lost the power of speech over.
No, he didn’t know Fallout would be a hit and he would do the next one if he gets called.
He absolutely would reprise his role as Slade on Teen Titans and credits Andrea Romano with getting him into voice acting and continuing to cast him. He finds film and TV interchangeable because they are structured the same, but voice acting is more results oriented, where you just show up and knock out a lot in a short amount of time.
Someone asked him about Clay, the character you love to hate and hate to love. Ron said he doesn’t judge but just asks, “Who is he?” He’s a guy who thinks that is the best leader for the family. He is trying to make a living and stay independent.
He was asked about Hellboy’s hand, and he said there were actually three. One for when the hand was just hanging by his side, one for making a fist, and a puppet hand that had mechanics in it.
He said that special effects guys were messed up geniuses. Ron’s a big fanboy of Rick Baker and Mike Elizalde, among others he named.
When he was asked about Jorge Gutierrez, with whom he worked on the Book of Life, he compared him a lot to del Toro. Okay, he actually said they are just the same. Both brilliant, artistic, full of life Mexican directors. He said Jorge was a younger version of Guillermo.
Ron knew the internet wanted him to play Cable from the Marvel Comics and that Josh Brolin has the role. “Cable should be playing me,” he said.
Someone complimented his voice, and he blamed it on Johnnie Walker Black and dark Nicaraguan cigars.
When asked what character he would have liked to have played, he said that he’d already played characters beyond anything he’d ever imagined. “How can I possibly dream of characters better than the ones I’ve already imagined? I just can’t do it.”
We can’t do it either, Ron. You’ve had a wonderful career of great characters that you did justice to, and we’ve all benefited from that.