On Casting Frontier’s 14th episode of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind continue their interview with Hollywood’s go-to actor for creature performances, the remarkably versatile Doug Jones.

Jones’ early dedication to the art of miming paved the way to his prolific acting career. The star often collaborates with the acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro with celebrated roles like the Amphibian Man in the Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water; Abe Sapien in Hellboy; and the Faun and creepy Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. In this second half of a two-part interview, Jones discusses the importance of not complaining while on set among other acting insights. 

But first, a shout out to Doug for his authenticity! Actors are always encouraged to embrace whatever it is that makes them unique—whatever that may be. Well, Doug Jones is a shining example of such an actor. While just starting out, the six-feet three-inch, 140-pound aspiring actor knew he did not have a leading-man look and he never tried to pretend he did. Instead, he accepted who he was and made the most of his unusually slender, lanky appearance while mastering his remarkable gift in the physical arts.

With every opportunity over the years, Jones has made sure to maintain a positive attitude and refrain from complaining while on set—even while being liberally smeared with silicone, thickly layered with prosthetics, spray painted, given wild contact lenses to wear along with a 30-pound sculpted prosthetic torso, all the while trying to balance on five-inch hoof-boots. Putting on this kind of heavy-duty creature wardrobe and make-up can take several hours, and it can be a lot to deal with before any acting even begins. 

Jones says, “Actors have a tendency and a reputation for being a bit diva-ish. We do. We have that reputation. And if you’re putting stuff on someone that brings discomfort, heat, and weight, then you’re going to get [complaints]: ‘Ahh! This is terrible—get it off me!’ You’re going to get those comments, right? If you’re the guy or the lady who does not do that, they think you’re exceptional. ‘Oh my gosh, you’re the nicest person ever!’”

Every creature and every monster he portrays moves in a distinct, individualized manner, and Jones uses every muscle in his body to express each character. “Here’s the thing I want to stress for actors watching,” he says. “It doesn’t take animal make-up to make us wake up our whole body. Every actor should play their character from head to toe, whether it’s a guy in a t-shirt and jeans or if it’s a monster with horns and a tail … It’s a whole-body experience no matter what we’re playing.”

Jones’ career spans more than three decades with over 150 roles. But he doesn’t accept every role that comes his way. Rather, he sifts through screenplays, only selecting roles if the project features a redemptive quality. After all the gnarly creatures he’s embodied, it’s not all that surprising to hear Jones say he yearns to act in Hallmark movies with happy, fluffy endings. 

But be on the lookout later this year when Jones will play his dream role in David Lee Fischer’s feature-film Nosferatu: The Vampire Lives. He portrays the iconic vampire Count Orlok in the remake of the classic 1922 horror movie Nosferatu created with a mixture of new footage and colorized digitally recreated backgrounds from the original film. 

Please make sure to watch the first half of The Curve interview with Doug Jones here.

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Stay tuned to hear more valuable tips and stories from an assortment of industry insiders each week.

Watch Doug Jones transition into the noble alien First Officer Commander Saru for Star Trek Discovery. The series can be viewed on CBS All Access. 

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