We had a great response to our story about the make-up work on Hellboy 2: 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!
For writer/director Guillermo del Toro, one of the priorities in creating the world of Hellboy 2 was to populate it with creatures unlike anything seen before in other genre films. Nowhere is that principle more evident than the briefly-glimpsed character of the Chamberlain, created by Spectral Motion surrealist artist/designer Chet Zar. “Guillermo originally gave us some of the parameters,” Zar said, “like he wanted a mechanical mask that was glued around the actor’s own mouth so the actor could use his mouth, but he wanted the rest to be mechanical, everything except the mouth basically, so I just went from there.
“I was thinking about something pope-like, but as far as the design, I was just playing with how weird I could make it look within the parameters I was given, so I went for a tall, angular guy with long skinny fingers and a long, narrow flat head; it looks a lot like one of the characters from my paintings, which is probably the first time a director has let me go for it like that.
“The head was glued around actor Doug Jones’ own mouth, so the character has a human mouth, but the head is tall and narrows out as it goes towards the top, so from the shoulder, it starts to slope inwards and gets small and flat at the top. I really didn’t take any of Doug’s features into account as far as designing the head; it was more about how weird I could get it to look, so I was just trying to be as creative as possible and making it fun and cool and something I would like, so that was basically it.
“The hands were another parameter that Guillermo had set down, that we should do something weird with mechanical hands and have Doug’s own hands behind his back. Originally we were going to get rid of his own arms digitally and Doug was going to puppeteer it (which he did end up doing), but he was just going to articulate the basic movement of the arms and we were going to get rid of his arms digitally. What we ended up doing was putting his arms way behind his back, because I guess they couldn’t afford the digital removal, so they covered his arms up a little bit. I wanted the Chamberlain’s arms to be too thin to be real so you couldn’t say it was a guy wearing gloves, because they were too skinny and spindly and creepy.”
For Zar, who also built the aptly-named Cathedral Head character, Hellboy 2 was an opportunity to flex his creative muscles in an unusual way. “That’s the way I’d like to keep it,” he said. “I’d rather work on background characters where I have more freedom and they’re a little weirder than a hero character that’s already established. For me, it’s more about the process of making the thing than it is about which billing it gets on the screen.”
Hellboy 2: The Art of the Movie by Dark Horse Books is now on sale.