Exclusive: Doug Jones Talks John Dies at the End, Neighborhood Watch, Frankenstein and Miming
There may not be a more beloved actor in the horror/sci-fi genre than Doug Jones. With an impressive resume that includes some of the most amazing F/X creations ever captured on film, Jones has the uncanny ability to breathe extraordinary life into the most beautiful of characters.
Recently Doug Jones sat down with Dread Central to discuss his current projects.
Jones was featured as the enigmatic Roger North in John Dies at the End, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. "This is the film adaptation of the very popular book John Dies at the End," Jones said. "Don Coscarelli adapted it for film, and he directed as well. He's a genre favorite, and we were all in good hands with him."
Jones joined an impressive cast for John Dies at the End. "I star alongside Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown. Newcomers Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are the two lead kids, and they did a smashing job. I got to play the role of Roger North. He's a character from the other dimension that these kids can see once they have taken a drug called 'soy sauce'. The soy sauce sort of chooses who will reveal the truth in this other dimension so not everyone hallucinates the same. So these kids are kind of the chosen ones, and it's up to them to save Earth from its impending peril. And I come from the other dimension once this portal has been opened by them by taking the soy sauce. I've been observing them. I come and visit and inform them what's about to happen. I'm kind of a conduit to what's to come. I had such a great time with this."
Remarking on the unique nature of the film, Jones said, "All the review quotes contain stuff like, 'I don't know what I just saw, but I loved it and I laughed my ass off.' It brings comedy and horror together in such a gorgeous, quirky way. And Don Coscarelli is one of those storytellers that gets it. The film does leave you scratching your head in an 'I'm not sure what I just saw...' way. It might require a second view, or it might require a read of the book to get more backstory, which is quite a hallucinogenic ride."
From Roger North in the other dimension, Jones will next lead an alien invasion in the suburbs. "My next big feature I have coming out is Neighborhood Watch with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill," Jones said. "The advertising so far looks like a Stiller/Vaughn/Hill comedy, which it is, but there's going to be a horror element thrown in, and that's where you get me in the movie."
Discussing the plot of the film, Jones reported, "This is a neighborhood watch in their suburban neighborhood, and there's no need for it because there's no crime. So they get together, they play pool, they drink and tell fart jokes... until the alien invasion. And that's where I come I. I would be your lead alien villain of the movie. If you think along the lines of Ghostbusters, you're on the right track. Comedy meets sci-fi. Basically, they bring the funny, and I bring the scary."
And when discussing recent works he's most proud of, Jones also mentioned a small role in an indie. "I have a little cameo in a film called Absentia. I just found out that it was the number two horror film at Redbox. It's a little indie that was made on a shoestring budget, and that's quite a statement. I'm really proud to be part of that film, even though it was a small part."
Of course the entire horror world is curious as to just what's in store for the oft-rumored Frankenstein project that would reunite Jones with director Guillermo del Toro. Jones gave us a brief update. "I wish there was more info, but at the moment all I know is it's still in development at Universal Pictures," Jones said. "Guillermo del Toro is working on another film in Toronto right now. The last news I heard on this was last summer, in August, he sent in a synopsis treatment to Universal Pictures that was basically a story outline. So at that point he didn't even have a full script yet. He's not going to rush it. He's taking his time with it because it's his lifelong passion project. He's always said that Frankenstein, the book and the movie, is what inspired him to want to make monsters on film. He wants to do it right and not rush it."
However, Jones did get a peek at what the future may hold for the Frankenstein project. "I did see some designs of the Frankenstein monster character at the Creature F/X Shop, based on the artwork of Bernie Wrightson," Jones said. "And when they unveiled it for me, it was absolutely stunning because it was sculpted on my life cast. The Wrightson illustrations come to a full sculpture of something I would one wear one day actually gave me goosebumps. It's hauntingly beautiful. It's not the Boris Karloff Frankenstein that you're familiar with."
And Jones talked about why he enjoys collaborating with del Toro. "That's what I love about Guillermo del Toro, he's an excited little boy. He loves creepy crawly things. He loves things that make you go, 'Oh cool!' So the design of his monster was something he couldn't wait to see."
With an incredible acting career already under his belt, Jones has now branched out and added author to his ever-growing resume. He recently returned to his roots in mime and created Mime Very Own Book. "It's a coffee table photo book that makes light of pop culture, famous people, classic works of art, moments in history, and of course, that annoying silence of mimes," Jones said. "You'll find photo depictions of things like 'A Mime is a terrible thing to waste,' 'Mime over matter,' 'A meeting of the Mimes,' 'A lot on my Mime' and remakes of TV and film imagery from 'The Little MerMime,' 'Don't Say Anything,' 'M.S.I. (Mime Scene Investigation),' 'Mimey Vice,' 'Dirty Miming,' 'Mimey Dearest' and Jack Nicholson's 'The Miming'."
The book also parodies famous works of art and music such as 'Venus de Mime-Lo' and 'The Mime-a Lisa. "My favorite section of the book recaptures iconic Michael Jackson poses, and we titled this section 'Mime-a Se, Mime-a Sa, Mime-a Cusa!" Jones said. "If you love mimes, it's everything you love about mimes. If you hate mimes, it's everything you hate about mimes. Click below to purchase your copy of Mime Very Own Book.
If you're in the New York area, you can catch Doug Jones this weekend, April 13-15, at the Macabre Faire in Rockville Centre, NY. "We'll be screening the 2007 version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and do a little Q&A session afterward and share some love." That's what Dougie is all about, sharing the love!
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Massacre bikini-clad sorority girls in the comments section below!