Doug Jones Interview: ‘The Most Famous Actor You Have Never Seen’ Blazes into Phoenix Fan Fusion
Doug Jones has famously played an entire catalog of characters. He is touted as the ‘the most famous actor you have never seen’ as he has portrayed his iconic roles behind prosthetics. With roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Shape of Water, and many, many, more.
Jones has graced both the big and small screen with countless characters that we have grown to love over the years that have fallen perfectly into his niche and led to memorable collaborations with Guillermo del Toro. Jones boasts talents beyond acting as a trained contortionist and mime which have elevated his performances time and time again.
Jones is set to make his first appearance at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 27th – 29th. He will be offering autographs, and photo ops to the fandom in Arizona. Jones also notes that “huggles” are always free, making for a rare and exciting time for attendees at Phoenix Fan Fusion. You can find information on how to attend at the official Phoenix Fan Fusion website. With the pandemic putting a halt on many events these past years, it is sure to be an exciting time at the yearly convention as fans gather to celebrate the fandoms we love once again.
We got the opportunity to ask Jones a few questions about his career, his return as Billy Butcherson for Hocus Pocus 2, and more. Check out the Q&A below and be sure to stop by Phoenix Fan Fusion to celebrate with Jones and many more on Memorial Day weekend. As always, GEEK RESPONSIBLY!
GN: I heard you took miming in college. What interested you in miming and have you found that it helps with your career in portraying the characters that you portray now?
Jones: The head of the mime troupe at Ball State University approached me at the dorm we lived in down the hall from each other. He thought my lanky body and expressive gesturing lent itself to the art of mime, and he invited me to come see one of their shows. I did, and I was mesmerized with this art form of telling stories using visual dialogue instead of verbal. This training has indeed helped me find ways to communicate through all the wacky characters I’ve played on film over the years.
GN: How did you first get into acting and how did your career sort of branch into this specialty with the full prosthetic costumes/ makeup?
Jones: I started doing TV commercials with an agent who understood my background as a flexible mime. The first few commercials I booked were very physical and these roles all came with a look that involved creature effects makeup. Those monster creators were the ones who propelled my career forward by liking me, and constantly referring me for more movies, TV series, and other commercials. I owe them so much.
GN: You have played such a wide range of characters, is there a memorable/favorite one that has stood out to you?
Jones: To pick a favorite character would be like picking a favorite child. I have invested so much of myself into all of them, and connected to them with a love that helps me play them with all the gusto they deserve, even the evil ones.
They all stand out for different reasons for me. I love the quiet heroism of the Silver Surfer, the romance of the Amphibian Man from The Shape Of Water, the ambiguous mentoring of the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth, the calming intelligence of Abe Sapien from Hellboy, the endearing goofiness of Billy from Hocus Pocus, and hilarious comedy of Baron Afanas from What We Do In The Shadow, the heart and diplomacy of Saru from Star Trek Discovery, and so on and so on.
GN: Your career has been so impressive and prolific with hundreds of projects that you have been a part of in film and television. I do not think anyone will argue the dynamic duo that the two of you make with you being a master of disguise of sorts and Del Toro’s grand vision and storytelling. How did you and Del Toro establish this creative relationship?
Jones: I will give Guillermo all the credit for our long, dreamy, professional relationship. He can bring out talents in his actors that we don’t even know we possess. We met in 1997 when I did just three days on his first American movie, Mimic. We instantly connected, and he came back around for me when the first Hellboy movie was in pre-production. Now, after twenty-five years, six feature films, and a TV series, I can confidently say he’s my favorite director I’ve ever worked with. And every other director fully understands this, as they all revere his work, as well.
GN: You are also set to take on the Sanderson Sisters once again. What were your feelings knowing you would get to jump back into the role of Billy Butcherson almost 30 years after Hocus Pocus was released?
Jones: Getting to climb back into the skin of Billy Butcherson again has been a dream come true. It was surreal to see myself in the mirror looking exactly the same as I did 29 years ago, as if no time had passed at all. Reuniting with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy was also an absolute delight. If it weren’t for the fans making Hocus Pocus more and more popular as each year passes, we wouldn’t have had this opportunity, so I am eternally grateful to all of you.
GN: What do you like to do on your spare time? Any plans for when you visit our sunny state of Arizona for Phoenix Fan Fusion?
Jones: Spare time is a concept I barely understand. But I do like to write, and during the pandemic shut downs, I started writing a novel loosely based on the real me from twenty years ago. One day when spare time returns, I would love to finish this. As for Arizona, I have visited your beautiful state many times since childhood. I have family in Phoenix, and many childhood Christmas memories take place there. One of my favorite things to do was to climb Squa Peak. But while visiting for Fan Fusion, I’ll only have time for a couple dinners with family and friends there.
GN: Speaking of Phoenix Fan Fusion? Is this your first time attending the Phoenix convention? Also, how would you describe your overall experience at conventions and being around so many fans?
Jones: I did only one smaller Arizona convention a few years ago in Scottsdale, but this will be my first Phoenix Fan Fusion. I’m very excited, as this has been a long time in coming, and I’ll get to meet more fans from this very large region that I haven’t made many public stops in to date. I love the entire convention circuit. It gives me a chance to hug on the people who have watched and supported my silly career for all these years.
GN: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing you at Phoenix Fan Fusion!
Jones: Thank you so much for finding me a worthy subject, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you, as well!