Without a doubt, Doug Jones is one of our favorite actors. The personable, prolific performer always has some interesting projects to talk about, and he recently sat down with Dread Central to discuss some current and future endeavors.
Jones began by describing an intriguing new movie series. Space Command: Redemption is the first installment in a proposed franchise.
“It’s an original piece by writer/director Mark Zicree, who has such a pedigree in writing for film and television in the science fiction genre,” Jones said, “a hugely decorated writer who has written for everything from “Star Trek: Incarnation” to “Babylon 5” and beyond. So there’s elements of all that. It’s got all the trappings of a science fiction show that takes place in space, but it also has a warm, heartfelt soul that’s unlike anything I’ve read and I think that’s what attracted me to it. And to be surrounded by a cavalcade of great science fiction actors from Robert Picardo from “Star Trek: Voyager” to Bill Mumy from Lost in Space and “Babylon 5” and Mira Furlan also from “Babylon 5.” It’s such a cool project to be involved with.”
In Space Command Jones plays Dor Neven. He shed some light on the character. “I play an android and I’ve always wanted to play an android,” Jones said. “I’ve played robots in a couple things before, in funny projects like Benchwarmers or when I played Nick Swardson’s wacky character Gay Robot. But this is more of a human with mechanical innards. And what I loved about it was my character, Dor Neven, sort of breaks through the mechanical machinery he is and develops an opinion and attitudes and feelings and thoughts of his own, and it takes an inhibitor chip to keep him in line. And without the inhibitor chip, he can either run amok or feel feelings and be a human, depending on your perspective of him.”
He elaborated on the details of the androids. “Mark did a great job of creating this fantasy world where we have androids that were created to help the work force, Jones said. “But once they start waking up to the fact that they’re alive, they feel entrapped and enslaved. Mark tied in human history with other cultures that have been enslaved or felt pushed down before and put them in this fantastical place where we can work through those issues on film and get some entertainment out of it and be empowered at the end of the day, too, by the rally for the underdog.”
And as we often see him, Jones is an antagonist in Space Command. “I’m sort of portrayed as the bad guy in this,” Jones said. “I’m the one who’s the loose cannon on deck that needs to be stopped. But by the end of it, we’re finding out that maybe I don’t need to be stopped; I need to be set free.”
Sometimes he’s absolutely covered in make-up and prosthetics, but as Dor Neven, Jones is quite visible. “Very little make-up, which was another drawing point for me,” Jones said. “They did not obliterate my face. They made me a little less human, but very much Dougie showing, which always appeals. I like when I can go to the craft service table and get my own snacks.”
Moving on from Space Command Jones discussed a very popular new television show that he’s involved in, “The Strain”. “I was originally slated to do much more with the show,” Jones said. “Guillermo del Toro, my hero in this world who champions me for everything he does, wanted me to be a character in the pilot who would then carry on for the entire five-year plan of the show. But because of my prior commitment to “Falling Skies”, I couldn’t, schedule-wise. I was available to do the pilot, but I wasn’t available to do any episodes after thatâ€¦until “Falling Skies” was finished filming for the season. Then I could run to Toronto and do the season finale of “The Strain”. So that’s when you’ll see me, in the finale of Season 1. They’ll introduce me in a guest cameo, a one-scene deal. But when you see me, and my kind on film, you’ll say, ‘Ohhhhh! More of those to come later. Yes!”
And, of course, Jones appears weekly as Cochise on “Falling Skies”. “We’re right in the middle of Season 4, airing on TNT at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights. In a competing time slot with “The Strain”, unfortunately, but that’s why we can DVR one and watch the other,” Jones said. “I continue this season, I’ll make my entrance and offer up lots of heady dialogue and information, the technology the humans don’t have. It’s like, I walk into a scene and say ‘Here’s the gadget you need to get through this moment in your life. Here’s how you use it. And here’s what the Ashwini want from it. Okay, I’ll see you later.’ A season full of that for me. And my friendship with Noah Wyle’s character, Tom Mason, does continue and only grows stronger throughout the season. And that’s my favorite part of the show, the humanity I get to play through this alien character. What I’m learning from humans and their relationships and what a good example of true heroism and family that Tom Mason and his family represent on film.”
And what’s up with Hellboy 3? “Isn’t that the question of the year,” Jones said. “If you look on IMDb, it still looks like it’s rumored and in development. I don’t know who put that up there. Nobody does. They’re having a standoff. When you ask Guillermo del Toro, here’s what he’ll tell youâ€¦he and Ron Pearlman and me and Selma (Blair), we all want to do it. There’s no question that we would love to come back and finish a Hellboy trilogy for you. The standoff that Guillermo is having with the studio system is over the fact that he did the first two movies for a budget that was less than what a mega-budget like that normally would get. He made those look bigger than they had the money for but he begged, borrowed and stole to get favors and make those movies look as big as he could. He doesn’t want to do it that way for a third one. It was very stressful for him. I don’t blame him. Now he’s saying he wants a full $150 million budget that other films of that size get and there’s no studio in town who’s willing to give him that for the Hellboy franchise right now. So he’s holding his ground, they’re holding their ground and in the meantime, we’re not making a movie, unfortunately.”
As the rapid-fire interview rolled on Jones gave us a little info on the upcoming movie Crimson Peak. “I was able to do this after I finished “Falling Skies” in Vancouver,” Jones said. “I ran over to Toronto and we got three weeks of Crimson Peak in. You’ll see me in a few scenes with key moments that will make you go ‘aieeeee!” It’s a great haunted house story. With Guillermo, you’re always going to get some kind of classic filmmaking with his own thumbprint on it. And he’s involving a very young, hip, happening, very followed cast. Everyone from Tom Hiddleson to Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and the beautiful, gorgeous, young Mia Wasikowska. It’s her storyline we follow through the whole movie and her journey to see love and belong somewhere, but she ends up in a haunted mansion in England and the haunted mansion is a very key character in the story and all that happens in and around it. What I can tell you, there’s a lot of secrecy around what’s haunting the house and why, so I can’t expose that. But I told Guillermo while working on the film that I’m going to be doing a lot of press this summer for “Falling Skies” especially. What do I tell people when they ask me about what I did on Crimson Peak? In his typical fashion he said (in gruff del Toro voice) ‘Well, tell them it’s a haunted house story and what the ‘f’ do they think you played.'”
An avid reader of Dread Central, Jones commented on an article he recently read on our site. “Guillermo del Toro did an AMA on Reddit and part of it was on Disney’s Haunted Mansion,” Jones said. “This has been in the news for five years now that he’s going to be writing and producing, if not directing, depending on his schedule. So they’ve been retooling and rewriting the script and he’s been making multiple trips to Disneyland to keep going through the Haunted Mansion attraction. That’s all good news. It’s not a dead project, it’s very much alive, but they’re just hammering out script issues. So in the middle of this articleâ€¦I’ll just quote from him. He said, ‘One thing we have done so far is create a look based on the face and body of Doug Jones for the Hatbox Ghost’â€¦which is the character I would have leaned toward and I’m lusting over anyway. So to read that as a quote from him for the first time on Dread Centralâ€¦I was very pleased when I read that.” Awww, thanks, Dougie!
And one last word on del Toroâ€¦“He has another secret project in the works, something he wants to do in black and white,” Jones said. “It would be a smaller film, something he plans to produce independently like he did Pan’s Labyrinth. And rumor has it, based on very good authority, that I might be involved in this. That’s all I can say about that. It’s uber, uber secret on all sides.”
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