Abe Sapien (Doug Jones)
Photos courtesy of Spectral Motion/Universal Pictures Abe Sapien (Doug Jones)

We had a great response to our story about the make-up work on Hellboy2: The Golden Army in Issue 73 of Make-Up Artist magazine. So we have added Joe Nazzaro’s additional stories and photos from the film and labs where the film’s many characters were created. Make-up artists working in three different countries collaborated on these creatures—see for yourself!

Aside from the eponymous hero, the most iconic character in Hellboy 2 is the amphibious Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). While Abe was an instant hit in the first film, Spectral Motion chief Mike Elizalde asked veteran suit creator José Fernandez to revamp the make-up, making it less labor-intensive. “I wasn’t making it look different,” Fernandez explained, “just easier for everybody involved. Before, Doug didn’t have any rubber on his legs; it was only make-up, which is also why it took so long, because they had to paint his legs every day. This time, I made legs for him that didn’t look like rubber, so that was a huge challenge, but I think the movement and the look were very successful.”

“Having just come off of the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, we found that the one-piece pull-on suit was pretty handy to get Doug in and out quickly,” Elizalde said, “so based on that experience, I asked my crew to make the suit more akin to the Silver Surfer and not the glue-on pieces used on the first film. Part of the reason was because Abe spends so much time not wearing a shirt in the sequel.

“In the first film, we had 10 to 15 days where Abe was seen without his shirt. In this movie, there were a lot more shooting days where Abe was shirtless, so we wanted to reduce the application time. I asked José to oversee those changes, and we ended up with a pull-on suit, but Thom Floutz, who applied it with Simon Webber, still had a lot of extra work to fit it all together right. Thom had to do a lot of on-set chasing with little blenders and patches and a lot of Cab-O-Sil/Pros-Aide mix.”

Director Guillermo del Toro with Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones)

“The plan was to streamline the application so there wasn’t as much of Doug’s actual skin being painted,” Floutz said. “In the first movie, he had shoulder and bicep/tricep pieces that ended before his elbow and blended off, so that was Doug’s actual forearm. He was wearing a prosthetic foam glove, so we would blend off the appliances and paint Doug’s actual skin to match the rubber and blend the two together and the same with his legs. That took a lot of paint to make it opaque and then translucent on top of that, especially because it’s a fish character so you want to give it a lot of depth.”

“The head, hands, feet and fins were the same sculpt as the first movie,” Webber said, “but the body section and the legs were a new sculpt, so some was old and some was new. Above all, it saved Doug the time of getting all this make-up scraped off him at the end of the day and sprayed on his skin at the beginning of the day as well!”

Hellboy 2: The Art of the Movie by Dark Horse Books is now on sale.