Starburst: What was your childhood like? Were you a big fan of comic books and sci-fi films?
Doug Jones: Like most in this genre, I was an awkward child who was mercilessly picked on by my three older brothers. And they were good at getting into my psyche, so escape was paramount! I don't think I ever bought my own comics, but I did get hooked on whatever my older brothers brought home including The Archies, Superman, and Dick Tracy. Any kind of movie or TV show got my attention, but the classics like Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Creature from the Black Lagoon left the kind of impression that makes what I do today a sheer joy.
What got you interested in acting?
That childhood escape into my TV often landed me in sit-coms and variety shows. People solving all their problems in a half hour or singing and dancing their blues away was an escape, indeed. Goofy characters by Don Knotts from The Andy Griffith Show, Bob Denver from Gilligan’s Island, Jim Nabors from Gomer Pyle, Dick Van Dyke, Lucille Ball, and anyone from The Carol Burnett Show all gave me hope that there was a place for my off-beat look somewhere in show biz.
Abe Sapien is a fascinating character. How did you prepare for the role?
I love Abe. He came to me in bits. First from reviewing Mike Mignola's Hellboy comic books to get that source material background on him. Then the film script by Guillermo del Toro informed me of his ways and relationship to the B.P.R.D. team. The gorgeous design by Steve Wang at Spectral Motion gave me a lot to go on. And finally, my goldfish at home. Watching them swim around the tank, I loved how their heads were curious and their fins so fluid and calming. I wanted to bring those physical and emotional elements to Abe, as he is the brains of the B.P.R.D., as well as a calming influence on the brutish Hellboy.
Ron Pearlman as Hellboy was spot on. He must have been a lot of fun to work with.
Ronny is the kind of actor that all other actors want to work with. And now having done both Hellboy movies with him and a radio play, I am so blessed to think of him as my very talented, good-humored, protective, and sometimes grumpy big brother.
You were in three of the new Outer Limits episodes. What were they like?
I had the pleasure of wearing three amazing and different alien designs by Steve Johnson, and co-starred alongside Melissa Gilbert, Gregory Harrison, and Lisa Zane in those episodes. I always loved that show with its surprise endings anyway, so getting to be part of such a long running TV legacy was a real honor.
You had small parts in Men In Black II and the remake of The Time Machine...
Yes, getting to play the lead Spy Morlock in The Time Machine was a full-circle experience for me. I remember watching the 1960 version of this movie on our black and white TV when I was a kid. Those Morlocks gave me the heebie-jeebies, so I had the chance to not only face my fears, but wear an incredible design by Stan Winston Studios while screeching at Guy Pearce. It was Rick Baker's Cinnovation that brought me into Men in Black II as the post office worker, Joey, who started off looking like Joey Ramone before we all exposed our true alien selves. Hilarious fun with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
John Dies at the End is a surreal horror/sci-fi/comedy/action/drama. Tell us about your character, Roger North.
I do love playing quirky characters, and Roger North is absolutely that. Roger is sort of a gatekeeper between this world and the "other" dimension that our two leads find themselves needing to crossover into. I've been watching these Earthlings for a while, and have so many questions with a child-like innocence, but at the same time I have the know-how to help them find their way and ultimately save Earth. A delicious character from David Wong's book, and so brilliantly brought to the screen by writer/director Don Coscarelli.
Do you have any funny makeup stories?
One night I was sitting by myself in my car, minding my own business at a stoplight. Suddenly, a spotlight shines on me from the lane to my left. The light goes out, and that's when I see it's a police car that I'm looking straight at. That glance of mine evoked another beam of the spotlight. Not having a clue why the police kept shining a light on me, I turned back to my rear-view mirror, and realized I was still in my zombie make-up from a film I'd been working on that day. Of course the police wanted to know why the undead were out and about that night... driving.
What's up next for you?
I am so excited to be joining the series regular cast for season 3 of Falling Skies, starting in June 2013 on TNT. I'm a new species of alien that landed on Earth right at the cliffhanging end of season 2. So "Friend or Foe?" is the question you were left with that should be answered by watching season 3. I absolutely love this Steven Spielberg produced show, the writing, the relationships, the challenges of the human spirit, all played out so brilliantly by the entire cast, lead by Noah Wyle. Now would also be a good time for any TV fans who like to laugh to catch up on my 6 episodes I had the pleasure of guest-starring in for season 1 of The Neighbors on ABC as the goofy alien neighbor, Dominique Wilkins.