Make-up artist Montse Ribé as Young Hellboy
Photos courtesy of Spectral Motion/Universal Pictures Make-up artist Montse Ribé as Young Hellboy

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!

From a make-up perspective, the first major character to appear in Hellboy 2 is a younger version of the hero, seen in a 1955 prologue with Professor Broom (John Hurt). The Young Hellboy character was created by the Barcelona-based company DDT Efectos Especiales and played in a gender-bending twist by the company’s Montse Ribé.

According to DDT chief David Martí, director Guillermo del Toro originally intended the shop to create a number of characters for the film, but after months of designing and budgeting, various events prevented that from happening: “One day Guillermo called us, very excited like a child, and said he had the perfect job for us; he said, ‘Do you want to do Young Hellboy for me?’ After that long and tedious process, we finally got the best thing for us: just one character, but a very special one! But even more, Guillermo asked, ‘Do you think Montse would play the role?’

“We started with a younger version of Ron’s make-up on Montse’s head, but nobody, Guillermo included, liked it. Montse was sculpting the face and it was really difficult for her to find the match between Ron’s face and a child. There were a lot of subtle elements that made it look more like a little red monster than a young Hellboy; something as easy as the ears, if you made them pointy, they didn’t work but if you rounded them it looked good. We started running out of time and Guillermo still wasn’t happy, so we decided to forget about some of those elements and just move ahead with the final head sculpture. The body was sculpted by Arjen Tuiten, while the mechanics for the hand and tail were done by Xavi Bastida, Pablo Perona and Juan Serrano.

David Martí applying make-up on Ribé

“The first thing we did after landing in Budapest was a test make-up, because Guillermo was really excited about seeing it, but they were shooting the following day, so we weren’t going to be able to make a lot of changes. Tim Gore had given us some of the colors they used for Ron, and I applied the make-up with Ismael Ferrer assisting. We started with the body, followed by the neck, head, ears, face and lower lip. We were able to cut the application time from seven to six hours by gluing on the ears in advance and pre-painting as much as possible.

“The hard part was around the eyes, because Montse is 36 and had some little wrinkles around the eyes that weren’t right for a child, so I did some lifting on the eyelids and eye bags with some micro pieces of plastic surgery tape.”

“We used foam latex for everything but the stone hand. It had been a long time since we used foam, but we had a lot of help from Roland Blancaflor who is the best at running foam latex, so we’re very grateful to him.”

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