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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • An interview with Ron Perlman

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  • Ron Perlman has made a pretty good living as an actor, even though for a big part of it, no one’s been able to recognize him. He was covered by makeup as far back as when he played Vincent in “Beauty and the Beast” and as recently as the two films in which he starred as the horned, bright red Hellboy.
    We actually get to see his big head, jutting jaw and huge teeth when he plays Clay Morrow on the TV series “Sons of Anarchy,” and as black marketeer Hannibal Chau in the new science-fiction-monster movie epic “Pacific Rim.” But for the film, director Guillermo del Toro has adorned him with scars, tattoos, an earring and dark glasses.
    Perlman, 63, boasting a deep, mellifluous voice, recently spoke about his career, his newest character and working with del Toro.
    Please introduce us to Hannibal Chau.
    Hannibal Chau is a war profiteer. He is a for-profit-only guy who has absolutely no idealistic allegiances and no political affiliations. He has no moral compass whatsoever. He is a slave to his unending infinite appetites. He’s a natty dresser, and knows how to accessorize. When Guillermo made the choice to use me to play Hannibal Chau, he added a layer of kind of P.T. Barnum onto him. This is a guy who probably grew up Howie Schwartz, in Bensonhurst, then went on to study at the feet of Adnan Khashoggi, and learned the ways of profiting off other people’s misfortune.
    You’ve working with Guillermo quite a few times, starting with “Cronos.”
    It’s an ongoing relationship. I’m the beneficiary of probably the greatest creative union you could ever ask for. Over the course of five films, he’s given me the most wonderful array of humanity to play. He’s been incredibly loyal to me. He fought for seven years on my behalf for the “Hellboy” franchise, when everyone else said we need a real big name. He was dogged in his determination to not make the film unless he could make it the way he wanted to make it. And he’s the greatest guy to collaborate with because of how much he brings to the table and how good he’s gonna make you look.
    How did you prepare for the role of Hannibal?
    Hannibal was more of a stretch than Hellboy. I needed to actually understand Hannibal. He was a guy whose psyche was not in line with my own. He was a bit of a reach. But he was a guy who we could build from the outside in. When I saw the accoutrement – all of the things that Guillermo adorned him with – I began to build a value system about what it is he admires, what it is he would live or die for. Those are important questions to answer when you try to create a psyche.
    Page 2 of 2 - How did acting come into your life?
    I was on the swimming team in high school. The whistle blew, the coach said, “Perlman, get out of the pool.” I said, “What did I do?” He said, “You’re going with this guy.” I said, “Who’s this guy?” He said, “He’s the drama teacher. He’s putting on a play, and 35 girls auditioned, but no boys.” And then he said, “Maybe you can do the drama department a little bit more good than you’re doing the swimming team.” I loved it immediately. So I’ve got him to thank.
    What makes you happy?
    I love, love, love working as an actor. I love being on movie sets and I love the people I work with. If I’m spending time with my family – my wife, my two great kids – I’m happiest. And when I want to recreate, the only thing that floats my boat is I play some golf, get some sunshine, hang out with the boys, drink some beer.
    Do you still swim?
    Yeah.
    Have you gotten better?
    No. I spent too much time onstage.
    “Pacific Rim” opens on July 12.

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