Doug Jones is more than his monsters.

In the latest episode of The Summit, renowned creature effects actor Doug Jones sits down to talk about his career to speak about his career from Hocus Pocus to Star Trek: Discovery, his approach to acting, and more!

On His Trek Towards Discovery

"Little Dougie Jones in Indianapolis would be shocked and surprised to see where I am now. 'Cause I came out to Hollywoodland as pursuing the sitcom thing," reflected Jones on the start of his career. "So I did not expect to be sitting here today with a long 36-year career full of monsters."

"As a teenager in the Midwest, I thought that what I was built like was an absolute detriment to any acting career," stated Jones. "My first agent sent me out on anything that involved, creature-y movement or miming ability. Those roles often came with a look."

On Finding Community with Creature Effects

There is one distinct group of people that Jones credits to helping him build his career at the start, and it's the creature effects community, with Jones giving a special shout-out to creature effects makeup artist, Tony Gardner — the person who designed and applied his makeup on Hocus Pocus 29 years ago.

"Creature effects people were the ones who actually gave me the self-esteem that I have carried into my adult life now," remarked Jones. A session in the makeup chair on the set of The X-Files changed his outlook when the artist looked at him with fascination and called out his "beautiful neck." It was then, for Jones, when he thought, "Maybe it's all about perspective."

"Maybe I need to look at myself with and see the beauty in what others find flaws," continued Jones. "Maybe those are the beauty marks that I have that will be useful, and turns out that it has been."

"It's the creature effects people that really propelled my career forward with these referrals over the years," stated Jones."

Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys; Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Doug Jones as Saru; Mary Wiseman as Tilly
StarTrek.com

On Being Guillermo del Toro's Muse

In addition to Gardner, there was another individual who had a profound effect on Jones' life. "Guillermo del Toro has changed my life," shared Jones. "He's single-handedly kind of catapulted this unknown tall skinny guy, into a place of being a leading man in a weird way, you know, a weird-looking leading man."

"We met on Mimic, his first American studio film way back in 1997," Jones reminisced. "And it was an immediate click. We were just like two 12-year-old boys going, 'Ah, I love monsters, ah!' So I knew that set him apart 'cause he has a fanboy in him that loves to create movies that fanboys will have a 'geek-gasm' over, as he calls it."

"He is my favorite director I've ever worked with, and every other director knows that going in," Jones claimed. In fact, del Toro would go on to write The Shape of Water with Jones in mind. "Guillermo knows more about me than I do," noted Jones. "He's a very people absorber. So every actor he's ever worked with, he sums up their personality within minutes and he knows what buttons to push to get things out of them as a director. It's a brilliant gift to have as a director."

Saru talks to the computer
StarTrek.com

On Finding Saru and Continuing His Lifelong Love of Star Trek

"So I was born in 1960, The Original Series was on network television in '66 when I was a six year old boy going, 'What is that? Whoa,'" reflected Jones.

The actor worried his time in the Star Trek universe would never come, revealing, "The career that I've had being under rubber bits, it seemed like it would be a no-brainer to have me in one of these shows or movies along the way as an alien, something, something. And I made it all the way into my mid to late 50's going, 'Nope, I guess it's not gonna happen.'"

"Then the phone call comes, 'Hey, Doug, there's a new Star Trek show coming called Star Trek: Discovery," shared Jones. "They just came out with a straight offer to play Saru, a Kelpien."

The opportunity to help develop a new species for a beloved legacy of a franchise delighted Jones, noting that he jumped at the chance. It was the show writers that sweetened the deal for him. "I was told by the writers' room, you know, you're a Kelpien. You're not a Vulcan, but you are the Spock of this show."

It was Spock who made him feel connected in his youth. "When I was a kid, he was my guy," said Jones. "He's the one I related to on the show, he was the taller, thinner one that looked different than everybody else. And like, visually didn't quite fit in and yet no one made mention of it.... I love him, I wanna be him. And so when they said you'll be the Spock of the show, it's like, 'Really?' So now, sure enough, I am the tallest on the bridge of the starship Discovery."

With a long career in creature acting, the 61-year-old stated, "Saru has been a joy and a journey. And that I find so much of myself in him and I've learned so much from him to incorporate into my own life, believe it or not."

Head over to The Summit to see the full interview with Doug Jones! And discover more of Doug Jones on Star Trek: Discovery


Star Trek: Discovery currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. Internationally, the series is available on Paramount+ in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics, and on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Discovery is distributed by Paramount Global Distribution Group

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Star Trek: Discovery