Ron Perlman Talks Selling Monster Organs And Reuniting With del Toro On The Set Of Pacific Rim

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-06-21 00:35:27discussion comments
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Is this time working with Guillermo del Toro different in any particular way, and from your perspective, was it nice not to be covered head-to-toe in red makeup?

Itís always nice not to be covered in red makeup no matter who Iím working with [laughs]. No, the great thing about working with Guillermo is that, even though thereís this phenomenal history between us, no two projects are the same. Itís always a completely different exercise, itís always a completely different lens that the material is being viewed through. He seems to adapt his visual sensibility to the material and tailor it; so the style heís shooting this film is very different from the style in which he shot the Hellboy films, and Iím sure whatever he shoots next will be [different as well]. Itís fascinating to watch.

Iíve always kind of put him on a rather lofty pedestal in terms of his magnanimity as an artist. I believe that of all the people Iíve been fortunate to brush up against in my years in this business, heís probably the closest to Leonardo da Vinci. Because heís that inventive, heís that inclusive of everything from the skeletal origins of things to all the facets of evolution that something currently exists and the possibilities of what would happen if they were allowed to completely evolve in some sort of warp-time reality. If youíve ever looked through his notebooks, his notes on how he prepares mentally and visually for the story heís about to tell on the screen, you too would probably agree that heís the closest thing youíve ever seen to Leonardo da Vinci. And also, Iíve never met anyone who has the output that he has. The amount of things that are exploding out of him in a 24-hour time period is truly humbling. I donít know anyone that has the output of Guillermo del Toro.

You mean in terms of ideas?

In terms of not only ideas, but putting them into actualÖ like, yíknow, the writing of the trilogy The Strain? I didnít know he was doing that while he was doing two Hellboy movies. I know how engaged he was in the two Hellboy movies; it didnít seem like there was time for him to be writing a 900-page volume one of three, which I ended up doing the audiobook to; thatís the only reason I found out that he had written this thing. I said, ďWell, Jesus, when did you have time to do that? Did you have a particularly advanced state of diarrhea that kept you in the bathroom for a while? Because Iíve been with you most of the time, and I donít see you writing no book, much less 900 pages.Ē So, I feel like a complete slacker when Iím in his presence; thatís the one thing I hate about working with him.

It can be an inspiration.

Yeah, it hasnít rubbed off.

We got to see you shooting with Charlie Day in the Hong Kong ruins. Could you talk about what was going on in that scene?

Well, Iím a kind of a black marketÖ Iíve established a contract with the guys that I have the rights to all Kaiju parts after theyíve taken them down and after theyíve taken what they need from them scientifically. So Iím selling Kaiju parts to strange, twisted collectors in the world who are willing to buy these exotic organs and skin samplings and fingernails and eyeballs and stuff; and Iím doing quite well doing that. So my relationship with our heroes in the film is quite convenient and quite profitable for me. This sequence that youíre watching us shoot now is the latest result of this battle between our robotic soldiers and these [Kaiju] creatures. And two Kaijus have fallen and Iím gathering their remains for profit.

How did you get that scar on your face in the backstory of this film?

You know, Iím not really sure, but Iím pretty sure it had to do with a Kaiju. Itís never explained; itís just kind of inferred that you donít want to get too close, because this is what can happen if youíre not careful.

So, are you part of the scalper group or are you buying off the government people after theyíre done with the stuff?

Yeah. Iím the guy. I have the sole contract for first dibsóthe right of first refusalóon the fallen Kaiju.

We were told earlier that various parts of the Kaiju are used for holistic medicine and I think bones are kind of used for a potency kind of thing. Is that something your character actually believes in or is he just hocking that stuff?

No, itís for real. Thereís no part of the Kaiju that Hannibal Chow has not figured out how to profiteer from. And when we find out that Kaiju bone powder is even more effective than Viagraóor Cialisóimagine his glee. He canít wait for the next Kaiju to fall.

Does your character appear throughout the film or do you have more prominence in the second act or the beginning of the third act?

Iím not sure of the act breakdowns, but I donít show up until pretty late in the story. And I really emerge out of Charlie Dayís characterís notion that, if he were able to have a freshly killed Kaiju to study, that he might be able to learn something about their patterns that would give our heroes the edge in terms of eradicating them. So he seeks me out and tries to hang out with me so he has access to these freshly killed, non-ruined Kaiju organsóbrains, hearts, vital organs. Thatís how I come into the piece; and itís pretty late in the piece, probably toward the end of Act 2, beginning of Act 3, as things are beginning to become more and more dire.
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