Yesterday, genre favorite Ron Perlman talked in detail about his memories of making Star Trek: Nemesis. Now, in part two of our interview with him, he answers the big question – what he thought of the last Next Generation silver-screen adventure, and then updates us on his current slate of shows and films, which includes the series Sons or Anarchy and the film Season of the Witch, which is set for release on January 7, 2011.
Some people consider Nemesis underrated, while other people think that the general perception of it as a letdown is entirely accurate. What was your feeling about the finished product?
Perlman: I thought it was uneven. I thought it had some great moments to it, but not enough. I didn’t think it added up, at the end of the day, to being one of the high points in the Star Trek (franchise)
Let’s get people caught up on your current projects. What made you say yes to Season of the Witch?
Perlman: First of all, it was the team, Nic Cage, (director) Dominic Sena, (producers) Chuck Roven and Alex Gartner, all guys I’ve had tremendous reverence and regard for. The script was just going to be a bonus, but it turned out to be the bonus, because I loved the character, Felson, and because it’s me and Nic as buddies moving through this strange and mysterious world together and sort of bouncing off each other from beginning to end. I love Felson’s mindset. And then I ended up having a great time shooting the film.
The story involves 14th century knights (Cage and Perlman) escorting a young woman (Claire Foy) to a monastery where the monks who live there will determine whether or not she’s a witch. Going by your previous comments about finding the “real reality” within the genre trappings, what’s the heart of the tale?
Perlman: I guess the heart of the film is the exploration of the difference between spirituality and superstition and those that would blur the lines in order to further and perpetuate their own power and leverage in the world. I guess that’s what this is.
Christopher Lee plays the Cardinal, who sends you and Nic Cage on your journey. Lee is a god to a lot of horror and fantasy fans. You’d actually worked with him before, right?
Perlman: I had worked with him on something 15 or 18 years ago, and we got along like a house of fire back then. We had lunch together every day and we had these wonderful conversations about things not having to do with movies, but about the things that he did as the run-up to being an actor. He was a hero in World War II. There are a lot of things people don’t associate with Chris. He’s a great, very-storied member of the British Empire and a real gentleman, and very unlike me. I always felt like a total slob around him because he’s just so well-mannered and always dressed to the nines and has a great respect for the life he lives. He does it in a way that’s sort of royal gentry, whereas I’m this schlub from a lower-middle-class background in New York City. But somehow there was this place that we met that made for a really, really good friendship. When I saw his name on the Season of the Witch call sheet I was surprised. I didn’t know he was going to play the Cardinal until almost the day it happened. I got to set early because I knew he was working before I was, just to hang out with him in the makeup trailer. We ended up sitting around for a few hours while they were lighting the set and talked about life and old times, and it was wonderful. I felt there was this affection between us two old warhorses and, 18 years later, we’re still at it.
Sons of Anarchy just ended its third season. How pleased have you been with the evolution of the stories and characters, and the response to the show?
Perlman: I’m very pleased with the world that we’re exploring and I’m really, really pleased with the quality of writing and the amazing quality of this ensemble cast, none of whom have any egos, all of whom are great people to be around and have this beautiful, wide-eyed enthusiasm for the work that they’re doing. And I’m amazingly pleased and always quite surprised by the response of the public. It’s the biggest hit show in the history of FX. It looks like the show is going to have a very long life if it wants to, and I’m pretty proud to be on it.
Let’s get quick updates on some projects that genre fans in general and Ron Perlman fans in particular are eager to hear about: The Hobbit, Hellboy 3 and Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Male Vampires.
Perlman: Hellboy 3, I would like to see that happen. I signed the petition. Guillermo (del Toro) said it’s because of me they’re not doing it. He had people start a petition to get Hellboy 3 made. I was the 1500th name that signed the petition. So he’s wrong about that. He’s not wrong about much. I’d love to see Hellboy 3 get done. I’ve not heard anything about that eventuality, so I can’t comment on whether it’ll ever come to pass or not. Guillermo is off The Hobbit, so I’m off The Hobbit. And Bubba Nosferatu has just been languishing because of not being able to get the financing together. I know that there’s a great will on everyone’s part to get it done. (Writer-director) Don Coscarelli, (would-be co-star) Paul Giamatti, myself; we all want to do it. I think it’s just a matter of time before we finally get that one up and running.
And what else do you have completed that you’re excited about?
Perlman: I’m excited about Drive, with Ryan Gosling and a very talented director named Nicolas Winding Refn. I’m in Conan the Barbarian. I’m excited about Season of the Witch. Bunraku doesn’t have a distributor yet, but hopefully it will in the near future. And I’m very excited about a little movie called Frankie Goes Boom. It’s a comedy that (Son of Anarchy co-star) Charlie Hunnam is the star of, that he lured me into. I play a transsexual. You can never see enough of me in a dress.
Read part one of Ron Perlman's interview here.