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Exclusive | Ron Perlman Talks The Hobbit, Hong Kong Butterfly And More!

Earlier this week, Spinoff Online had the opportunity to chat with Ron Perlman about his role starring opposite Nicolas Cage in Season of the Witch, arriving in theaters in January. We’ll have more coverage of that movie for you as the release date draws nearer, but Perlman is a busy guy and it’s impossible to talk to him without digging for info on the rest of what he’s working on.

Curious to know which role would have been his in The Hobbit had Guillermo del Toro gone on to direct it? Or what his involvement in At The Mountains Of Madness is? Then there’s the big surprise, something you didn’t know: Perlman developed and co-wrote something that he hopes to star in before he returns to the set for the next season of Sons of Anarchy! Read on for all of the juicy details…

On At The Mountains Of Madness

I’ve actually read the script and it’s magnificent. [Writer/director Guillermo del Toro] wrote a role for me which is phenomenal. I’m just hoping that logistically it all works. It’s gonna be a little bit of a conflict with some other things I’ve got on the board, but I’ve gotta be there for this one.

On Guillermo del Toro…

He’s the coolest guy I know, without equivocation. He’s in a class by himself as a filmmaker. He also runs one of the most fun sets I’ve ever been on because he’s just got this amazingly wonderful wit and great enthusiasm for the filmmaking process, which translates itself into pure joy. It’s a state of grace being on a film set with Guillermo.

On The Hobbit Role That Never Was…

I was gonna do it when he was gonna do it, but that’s all changed so I’m no longer involved. I think he had written [the character of] Beorn, the bear-man, for me. But I think it’s going to somebody else now. It’s all right.

On The Possibility Of Working With Jean-Pierre Jeunet Again…

I’m polishing up on my French because he doesn’t seem to want to do another movie in English. I think Alien Resurrection was the beginning and the end to [his] American filmmaking. I sure would love to work with him again. I have nothing but the highest regard for his point of view as a filmmaker. It’s so unique, it’s not like anybody else’s sensibilities. I’m so grateful for the two films I got to do with him and I’d love to believe there’s another one coming down the pipe, but I have no news to scoop.

On What’s Next…

I know I’m going to go back to Sons of Anarchy in a couple of months. I’m trying to fit one thing in that I developed, it’s a film noir piece, a character that’s not unlike [The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye protagonist] Philip Marlowe. He’d be the only American in China. He gets a letter that lures him into this world of duplicity and mystery and strange, arch, evil behavior. So it’s a classic film noir that I developed for myself that I’m just hoping logistically we can fit in prior to April, when I go back [to Sons of Anarchy.]

I co-wrote it. I had an opportunity to work with these Chinese filmmakers and they asked, ‘What would you do in order to sort of merge the East and the West?’ And so I gave it a little bit of thought and decided it’s such a noir place, such a mysterious place. The thing about Philip Marlowe is that he was always in a world that was filled with duplicity and lies and streets that turned into dead ends and information that turned out to be inaccurate. He was always behind the 8 ball. It was just this laissez-faire fearless demeanor that got him through, the fact that he didn’t care if he lived or died, which is a precept of film noir. I thought it was a great fit. So I’ve worked on that, it’s called Hong Kong Butterfly.

I would not direct, I don’t like working for me. I don’t like working for me as an actor and I certainly don’t like working for me as a director. If I had to work with me, I’d punch myself in the mouth!

Season of the Witch arrives in theaters on January 7, 2011.


  • RetroWarbird

    Can we have some kind of write-in campaign regarding Ron portraying Beorn? I mean … has there ever been a more perfect bit of casting? (Well … Martin Freeman as Bilbo, but outside of this film, I mean …)

  • Pennyforth

    Personally, I was hoping for Perlman as the voice of Smaug.

  • AJ Ryan

    I initially misunderstood the article title and thought Perlman was going to be in it. Immediately I thought that he would be perfect as Beorn and then I was simultaneously elated and saddened to see that he would have been but now won’t be.

    I’m now all the more disappointed in del Toro’s departure from the project. I would have loved to see what he could have done with Tolkien’s fantasticly charming story.

    While I enjoyed the trilogy films, I would much prefer a new take on Middle-Earth over a return to Jackson’s well-trodden interpretation.

  • Nebezial

    no thatll probably be christopher lee again XD making the weirdes logic lapse in the movies yaay

  • Alex Rogers

    Ron Perlman’s been in almost anything at this point. He has a great track record. In an odd note, I got the Ben Stiller Show on DVD once and it had an extra sketch where Ben Stiller played Ron Perlman. It looked nothing like him, but man, I couldn’t stop laughing at the rejected sketch.

  • KC

    I thought I’d read that Bill Nighy will be doing the voice of Smaug.

  • JMC

    Great track record? As much as I like Ron, he’s this decades “1980’s Michael Caine” seemingly willing to star in near anything to get paid. Mutant Chronicles spring to mind as his latest disaster. Luckily he’s remembered for the better roles…

  • Logan_teamx

    Always liked Ron but really enjoy what he does with Del Toro. You can tell they enjoy working with each other. Since I’m not a Tolkien fan, no loss for me that both men are no longer involved.

    But now I’m eager for At the Mountains of Madness just to see what Ron can pull off. He’s one of the few reasons why I still mumble and grumble through Sons of Anarchy (Ryan Hurst and Kim Coates are the others)… class act all the way.

    I wish him well with his own project and look forward to seeing him with Del Toro again. :)