Doug Jones finds his inner monster (and inner steampunker)
Actor Doug Jones (sporting a Silver Surfer tie, his character in "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer") in July.
February 6th, 2012
06:47 PM ET

Doug Jones finds his inner monster (and inner steampunker)

Doug Jones' first fan convention a few years ago was an eye-opening experience.

"I didn’t know this convention scene existed," the actor told CNN Geek Out. "I had no idea it had branched out so much (from 'Star Trek') and become this phenomenon! Oh my gosh, was I opened up to this world!"

Jones' best-known acting roles have been under extraordinary amounts of elaborate makeup. His indelible monster performances, which have been compared to "Phantom of the Opera" silent film star Lon Chaney, afford Jones a busy schedule of convention appearances in between jobs.

Since the late 1990s, he's made memorable impressions  in fantasy and horror films like "Pan's Labyrinth" (as the Faun and grotesque Pale Man,)  both "Hellboy" movies (the heroic fish-like Abe Sapien) as well as the classic "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode, "Hush" (as one of the ghoulish Gentlemen). Jones also stepped into less creepy-crawly territory as Silver Surfer (who was voiced by Laurence Fishburne) in "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

“I never went to Hollywood saying, ‘I wanna be a monster!’" Jones joked. "I actually (thought) I would be the next big sitcom star."

But at 6-foot-3 and 140 pounds, with a small face, Jones turned out to be a creature effects/makeup artist's dream.

"I had no idea my resume looked so delicious to monster people. The big thing was that I don’t complain in the makeup. That’s why the referrals started happening," he said.

"So here I am known as the guy who wears the rubber makeup. It’s been a 25 year career for me (in fan favorite genres)."

Boris Karloff in ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘The Mummy’ was a great influence on Jones' performances, he said. "It was his eyes. The power of monsters is a phenomenon that I now as an adult have come to grasp."

Jones' fans love monsters, he said, because, "We don’t fit in, we’re the monster in the room and it’s nice to see a monster on film working out those issues."

He also theorizes that watching the good guys in a movie defeat monsters empowers the audience to fight their own personal demons in day-to-day life. And while fans may find his monstrous portrayals cathartic, Jones finds fan conventions humbling.

The opportunity to personally thank the fans who have supported him over the years at conventions is something Jones loves. But one particular fan convention - Atlanta's Dragon*Con in 2009 - had a transforming effect on this creature chameleon.

“I was introduced to steampunk," he said, the costuming subculture that helped Jones find a new aspect of his inner-nerd. "[Seeing] all the goggles and gadgets – it was like, 'what is that?' It’s fascinating, I love the look of it all. I had been in movies like ‘The Time Machine,’ [and love] anything Jules Verne-y or H.G. Welles-y. [It celebrates] an era gone by, I just love it."

Jones has since fully embraced a steampunk aesthetic in a photo shoot for the website "Clockwork Couture," and in Felicia Day's popular Web series, "The Guild."

"I got to wear the best clothes and affect this attitude," Jones explained, about his steampunk group in "The Guild."

"We were too snooty. Real steampunkers wouldn’t do this. We took our coolness and rammed it under people’s nose. We affected fake British accents. When you wear a tailcoat and a waist coat, and a watch chain, and a monocle and a top hat, your posture changes too. Loved it!"

Jones also teamed with Day for his most recent creature role was in the web series, "Dragon Age: Redemption." (See the final episode of that series below.)

"She writes dialogue for actors very well, because she is one," he said. "I got to play Saarebas, a Qunari mage. Those who play 'Dragon Age' will know what I'm talking about. I got to stay in the gaming world with the web series 'Fallout: Nuke-a-Break.' It’s been fun to tap into a new, young [gaming] audience."

Jones credits his background as a mime for making the transition from captivating beast to debonair Victorian dandy and back again so natural for him.

Jones returned to his miming roots with the just-released "Mime Very Own Book," which he described as, "250 pages of pictures of me as a mime. Before you judge me, it’s hilariously funny. The title will tell you how punny it is. It also includes ‘Mime After Mime,’ ‘A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste.’ We also send up pop culture, you might see ‘The Mimenator' in there."

And he'll be putting those talents toward embodying alien in this summer's upcoming action comedy, "Neighborhood Watch," as well. “If you think ‘Ghostbusters,’ you’re on the right path," Jones hinted.

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  1. Psychocat

    Doug's a pretty good actor without the makeup, too! Just watch "My Name is Jerry"...his character is one that is both sad and funny; you can sympathize with him completely, since most of know someone rather like him. As for his creature roles, I find that I can spot Doug easily....he moves rather elegantly, even in the heaviest get-ups. Add to all of that the fact that he's a genuinely nice person, and you can see why he's a film fan favorite!

    February 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  2. Cheryl

    And don't forget Billy Butcherson, the Zombie and former lover of Bette Midler's Winifred Sanderson in Hocus Pocus, one of my favorite movies!

    February 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  3. George

    Don't forget he was also the infamous "Mac Tonight" with the huge crescent moon head. You'll never meet a nicer person, I guarantee it.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:56 am |
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  4. Gwen

    LOVE Abe Sapien! Hellboy II is my favorite chick flick. I will have to actual force myself to watch Silver Surfer since Doug is behind the mirror man. Maybe he can take a note from his Hellboy costar, Ron Perlman, who was known for his heavy makeup roles. It took years for Hollywood to figure out a place for him but Perlman finally has a no makeup role. I still hope there will be another Hellboy!

    February 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Die Die

      Go, Hellboy!!

      February 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  5. Glenda

    Doug was our college mascot at Ball State – Charlie Cardinal. A great guy!

    February 7, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  6. Henry Hanks

    Noted thanks!

    February 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Green

    The Dougster was actually under loads of prosthetics to play the Silver Surfer. Digital effects were added after to create reflection on the surfer's body and his eyes. I don't BELIEVE he did any motion capture at all for the movie. But don't quote me on that.

    But isn't he a lovely fellow?

    February 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |