The former British pop star-turned-actor talks about his latest film, Guillermo del Toro, Tekken and much more
Luke Goss certainly has taken an interesting route to Hollywood. After early success in England with his pop duo Bros, he caught the acting bug and has appeared in a variety of films since then, most notably his smashing turn as the baddie Nomak in Guillermo del Toro's Blade 2. Now he's back working with his old director again, taking on another baddie role portraying Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on November 11. I had the chance to speak with Goss over the phone and here's what this versatile actor had to say.
So how did this role first come to you and were you a fan of the first film before you signed on?
Luke Goss: Oh, I was a huge fan, because I had already done Blade 2 with Guillermo. It was like, when your buddy makes a film, or a friend of yours does something, you just want to check it out. I was shooting with Sam Jackson, actually, at the time in Toronto and I went with my wife to a midnight showing of the first movie, after filming. We were sitting there like a couple of groupies (Laughs). So, absolutely, I'm a fan. To be honest with you, as spoiled as it sounds, Guillermo wrote this for me and he just offered it to me. I got the script and I got a phone call in Los Angeles and he said to me, 'I'm glad you responded to it.' I said, 'Come on, man. I was just excited to get it.' I'm like, 'Respond to it, my ass,' you know? (Laughs) It's a Guillermo del Toro script. Yeah, let me think about it... for about three seconds.
That's great. It's especially great with how hot Guillermo has been lately.
Luke Goss: I remember watching the Academy Awards and there he was with all these nominations. It was just amazing. The call wasn't so long after that so it wasn't like he was struggling for choice. I felt greatly honored and I was kind of thinking, in the back of my head, 'Why does he want me again?' but I didn't want to suggest that, in case he changed his mind.
Were you a fan of just comics in general when you were growing up in England?
Luke Goss: A bit. It wasn't as easy to get a hold of them like, lets say in Los Angeles. There are so many stores, so many places to buy graphic novels. Now, if you walk into any bookstore, you'll see a section of graphic novels. It's becoming so discovered, thankfully, because some of the best stories I've read, like Magdalena which I'm doing next year, it's another great premise. I've been baptised through the fire with Guillermo, I guess. I've become... I am a geek now, officially a geek.
You've been with Guillermo for awhile now. With this film, has his style changed at all, really, since he's been starting to blow up, or is it just everyone's starting to catch on?
Luke Goss: I think he has a little more swagger on set and I think he's slightly more driven. It feels a little bit more intense, just a tiny bit more intense because I think now, and this is just my observation, I don't know how true it is, but before he would make the independent films and then there would be studio films. Now they're becoming very much related. A Guillermo del Toro movie is now a Guillermo del Toro movie and he's not being second-guessed by people who don't understand who they're working with. These studios know the filmmaker they have in front of them now. Thank God. It's about time. I think its becoming similar versions of that filmmaking process, with different budgets and different stories and I think the great thing about Guillermo is that he tells the stories because he needs to. He doesn't need the bucks. He tells a story that needs to be told. I think on set, he definitely seems... I mean, he wants what he wants. He's an established filmmaker now and on set you get a sense of that more than the first one. My perspective has always been having the privelege of friendship with him and observing him in action. I'm a fan of his and I'm so happy that he's doing so well. For somebody who one day wants to direct, which I do, I watch him like a hawk. I'm fascinated by the way he works. He doesn't ever, every guess. Never. He never scratches his head and goes, 'OK, how am I going to do this?' He thinks about it, works it out, he might not have the answer then and there, but we won't move on until he does have the answer and he does know exactly. He wants to know everything.
What was it like working with Ron Perlman and, just in comparison, how did both of your makeup processes compare?
Luke Goss: Well, I think Ron's was, surprisingly, about a half-hour shorter than mine. Obviously Ron's makeup is very structured so it's got some rigidity to it, it's got some structure. These teams have done it before. With mine, it was so thin. If you held up my makeup in your hand, it would look like a tissue. It was so thin. There was no structure to it whatsoever, so to apply that was very very unforgiving. It's a very soft piece of latex and it has the structure of maybe three tissues. The makeup process speeds up as the shoot goes on, and we only shaved off, maybe, 20 minutes, at the end of the film, after all those months, because there was no way to really speed it up. So, my process with makeup, eyes, hair and teeth, the whole thing and costume was about five, five and a half hours. With the opening scene, that was more like seven and a half, eight hours.
So how was it like just working with Ron in general? Did you get any acting tips from him or anything like that?
Luke Goss: Well, I think with any actor, rather than tips, I think when you enjoy working with somebody and you enjoy what they do, I think your reaction is partly to be doing what they're doing, so you're learning all the time, whether it be sub-consciously or whether it be just through the person you enjoy working with. Ron and I worked together on Blade 2 so we knew each other. He and I pretty much ate our way through about 9,000 ribs and 9,000 vodkas between us. So, as much as on screen we were each other's enemies, we're very good friends. I call him Red and he calls me Ivory (Laughs). We're just dear friends and I absolutely think the world of him, really. That's not just showbiz bulls*%t. I really think the world of Ron. I adore him and I think he's a great actor as well. He's the only person that can play that role.
What about Selma Blair and Doug Jones or any of those guys?
Luke Goss: Well Doug is, I think it's in the Guiness Book of World Records, he is the sweetest, nicest, most consinstenly generous human being on Earth. I think that's official. I mean, he's so nice, and I think I'm a fairly friendly person, but he makes me feel like a demon (Laughs). I've never heard him complain about makeup. I kept telling him, 'You have to complain more.' Selma is both bloody sexy and funny and talented. She's not a bad girl to hang out with. She's great to work with. We were all really close, actually. We are all very good friends still.
Since you started acting, you've picked a pretty wide range of projects so far. What do you look for when you're choosing your projects?
Luke Goss: Well, I have the luxury of choice, it's happening more and more. I think Sir Anthony Hopkins said that your roles choose you and then you finally get to the point where you choose them. Like, for example, movies that producers approach you and want you to do, like Bone Dry. It's a thriller and I read it and I remember thinking, 'Oh my God. If we can pull this off, one it would be amazing and two it would be so challenging it would probably be miserable.' It's not like I want the misery, it's just fascinating to know that the only way to achieve it is to do some sacrifice. Roles that involved, whether it be training, whether it be physicality, getting skinny, like I had to get crazy skinny for Hellboy, there's some investment. There are roles that you do like that and sometimes there are roles that you do to make sure your family doesn't starve, but then you have to still say, 'Is there something I can do with this? Can I do something with this that will be fair to the people watching it and fair to my time as well?' I'm at the point where that luxury of choice is getting more and more for me, absolutely, but it's more primarily roles that are more demanding of me in every way. To be honest, that's awfully intimidating. I get awfully inspired by that idea like, 'Can I pull this off?'
You mentioned before about ambitions for writing or directing. Is there anything that you're writing right now or is that something you're going to explore in the near future?
Luke Goss: Yeah, I've written a film called The Chennai Heist. I've got some film companies in Europe right now - I sound flaky but it's actually true - that are really very interested in making it. I would be in it and producing it and I've written it. I think after maybe a couple of things like that, maybe I would probably want to direct. There's a movie that I want to direct, it's this period piece - I don't want to say it out loud because we're still talking about it - but it's a kind of psychological thriller set in 1944 just towards the end of the second World War and it's a really bloody cool story. I see it so clearly in my head I think I could probably do that with some really smart people around me. That might be something I would try to do next year, but absolutely I'm going to keep writing stuff and I'm producing stuff. I definitely want to eventually direct, at least try to direct and hope that if it's not great that everyone still talks to me.
Is there anything you can tell us about Tekken? I'm a huge fan of tht game so I'm kind of curious to see that.
Luke Goss: Yeah. I've seen some billboards around L.A. and I've heard that there's some scenes being screened at the AFM (American Film Market) in L.A., which is kind of cool. I just literally got an email about that an hour ago. Some scenes are being screened and I think they're locking picture within the next week or two. The good thing about it is, I think, just what I understand, is that it's not going to be a PG-13 or any of that rubbish.
Luke Goss: You've got Cung Le (Marshall Law), then you've got John Foo (Jim Kazama) and myself and, I mean, my fighting in the movie is out of the ring. I play Steve Fox and the Tekken Corporation, they pretty much run the show. Then you've got this really cool underbelly that surrounds that and one of the stories I read is that Steve Fox was asked to throw a fight and he didn't and he ends up in the underbelly in the outskirts of Tekken and he's trying to find a protoge. A young kid that can kick some ass. It's kind of cool. I like my role because my fighting is not inside the ring, it's outside the ring and we shot it in one entire take, each time. I fought about six guys and it was fun and it was in one take each time. We had multiple cameras around but we ran it about 45 minutes to an hour and we did it in its entirety.
So each fight is just one take? That's awesome. I can't wait for that now.
Luke Goss: It's no big deal because it's not going on for hours, but the good thing about it is it's pieced together, but it's pieced together from a combination of one-takes, which I think is kind of cool.
Are you lobbying for a role in The Hobbit as well?
Luke Goss: What do you think? Let me ask you a question. Are you lobbying for a role in The Hobbit?
I would love to lobby for a role in The Hobbit (Laughs).
Luke Goss: Let's get online right now, all of us. I'll just be one of many, just trying to get in the damn thing (Laughs).
Finally, Hellboy II: The Golden Army comes out on DVD next week. For those who didn't get a chance to catch it in the theaters, what would you like to say to maybe entice people to pick it up on DVD?
Luke Goss: Well, obviously del Toro. You've got Pan's Labyrinth and, I mean, not everybody, we know, but there are some people out there who don't understand the connection between the man that directed Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. It's like, 'What's Hellboy? That sounds kind of scary.' There are people out there like that. How dare they (Laughs). I think it's magical, it's mystical, it's got action. I think it's just a piece of filmmaking that's a visual adventure and I think that's enough to see it.
Well, that's about all I have for you. Thanks so much for your time, Luke.
Luke Goss: Thanks. I hope to speak to you again.
You can catch Luke Goss as Prince Huada and the rest of the cast of Hellboy II: The Golden Army when it hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on November 11.