Perlman, talking on PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, explained how del Toro worked for years to get a Hellboy movie greenlit, with the specific and unchanging proviso that Perlman would star as the big red lug himself.
“I said to him from the get-go, ‘That’s a great idea and god bless you, I love you for entertaining the idea, but it’ll never happen,’” Perlmant said, as transcribed by Entertainment Weekly. “Sure enough, for seven years he’d go to these meetings at these studios, and he’d say, ‘Ron Perlman.’”
And del Toro kept doing that until, after Blade II was a surprising success, del Toro finally got enough pull to get what he wanted.
“Blade II opened to like $40 million on the first weekend, and everybody wanted to do Guillermo’s next movie, and he said to himself, ‘If I’m ever going to get Hellboy done with Ron, it’s going to be this week,’” Perlman said. “Sure enough, somebody said to him, ‘How do I get in the Guillermo del Toro business?’ and he said, ‘Well, I really want to do this movie Hellboy.’ They say, ‘Any conditions?’ and he says, ‘Yeah, Ron Perlman,’ and they go, ‘Hmmm… Okay.’”
Perlman’s reign as Hellboy may be over, but its existence is a triumphant reminder that you do not get in the way of Guillermo del Toro. That man has a way of getting what he wants.