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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?
It’s always nice not to be covered in red makeup no matter who I’m working with [laughs]. No, the great thing about working with Guillermo is that, even though there’s this phenomenal history between us, no two projects are the same. It’s always a completely different exercise, it’s 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 he’s shooting this film is very different from the style in which he shot the Hellboy films, and I’m sure whatever he shoots next will be [different as well]. It’s fascinating to watch.
I’ve 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 I’ve been fortunate to brush up against in my years in this business, he’s probably the closest to Leonardo da Vinci. Because he’s that inventive, he’s 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 you’ve ever looked through his notebooks, his notes on how he prepares mentally and visually for the story he’s about to tell on the screen, you too would probably agree that he’s the closest thing you’ve ever seen to Leonardo da Vinci. And also, I’ve 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 don’t 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 actual… like, y’know, the writing of the trilogy The Strain? I didn’t know he was doing that while he was doing two Hellboy movies. I know how engaged he was in the two Hellboy movies; it didn’t 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; that’s the only reason I found out that he had written this thing. I said, “Well, 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 I’ve been with you most of the time, and I don’t see you writing no book, much less 900 pages.” So, I feel like a complete slacker when I’m in his presence; that’s the one thing I hate about working with him.
It can be an inspiration.
Yeah, it hasn’t 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, I’m a kind of a black market… I’ve established a contract with the guys that I have the rights to all Kaiju parts after they’ve taken them down and after they’ve taken what they need from them scientifically. So I’m 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 I’m 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 you’re 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 I’m gathering their remains for profit.
How did you get that scar on your face in the backstory of this film?
You know, I’m not really sure, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with a Kaiju. It’s never explained; it’s just kind of inferred that you don’t want to get too close, because this is what can happen if you’re not careful.
So, are you part of the scalper group or are you buying off the government people after they’re done with the stuff?
Yeah. I’m the guy. I have the sole contract for first dibs—the right of first refusal—on 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, it’s for real. There’s 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 Viagra—or Cialis—imagine his glee. He can’t 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?
I’m not sure of the act breakdowns, but I don’t show up until pretty late in the story. And I really emerge out of Charlie Day’s character’s 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 organs—brains, hearts, vital organs. That’s how I come into the piece; and it’s 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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