Luke Goss and Anna Walton play fraternal-twin elves in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which opens July 11. But their roles in the story, while connected, are radically different: Prince Nuada is out to reclaim the earth from humans while the reluctant Princess Nuala finds an unexpected romance with one of her brother’s foes.
Goss previously worked with director Guillermo del Toro and star Ron Perlman on Blade II, taking on in Nuada an action role that required extensive training for the fight scenes. Walton, a graduate of the Oxford School of Drama, was called on to convey ethereal beauty and the flutter of first love as she takes an interest in the amphibious Abe Sapien.
To become elves, each actor had to endure five hours of makeup and then was dressed in heavy and restrictive costumes. Walton says the process is both worthwhile and frustrating. “It depends on if you know that you’ve got a scene instantly after your makeup, or if you know that there’s a chance that you’re going to sit in your trailer for six hours before you go on set, which sometimes happens,” she says.
Goss says the makeup process is a good chance to prepare for the day’s shooting, though even that must be managed. “For me, the first three or four hours, it was using any technique of being peaceful I could to get to that point where you’re one hour before you’re ready,” he says. “Then, you start doing what you normally do (to prepare for a scene), but it definitely is a challenge.”
The actors’ characters share a psychic and physical bond in the film. Goss says they constantly talked with other to form as much of a bond as possible and develop a back-story for their characters. “We knew wouldn’t necessarily transcend in the performances or people wouldn’t pick up, but it was fun for us,” Walton says.
Goss says the training for the physical aspects of his role was intense, focusing on flexibility and fighting with swords and spears. But there was one obvious element that was overlooked in training. “We didn’t train in costume until principal photography,” he says. “So when you have all this freedom of movement and then you start training and filming with the costume — and if you’ve seen the costume, it’s restrictive — that learning curve was played out in front of my cast mates and directors and everything.”
Walton says she had some action scene envy, having done fight scenes on the film The Mutant Chronicles. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t within the character’s journey,” she says.
What Nuala does get is a sweet romance with Abe Sapien, played by Doug Jones. Walton admits the realism of Jones’ costume and animatronic mask came as a surprise, but also was helpful in playing her scenes with Abe. “The very first scene that I filmed was the scene in the library when we sort of have that connection,” says Walton. “I remember talking to him and suddenly his eyes were blinking and his gills start going, and it was quite extraordinary.”
While del Toro gets plenty of acclaim for his fantastic visions, Goss and Walton say he’s also good to work with from an actor’s point of view. “You have this wonderful dialog with him — and it’s an open dialog,” Goss says. “He saves you from maybe some of your worst choices or not so spectacular choices. But it’s not a dictatorship. He’s definitely a team player.”
While Walton has formal training as an actress, Goss got his start playing drums in a pop band called Bros. before transitioning into acting. “It was a lot of fun, a couple of world tours, it was a buzz,” he says. He next stars as Steve Fox in the movie Tekken, based on the video game. Goss says the film is being made by the producers of Ghost Rider as an R-rated film, and was unusual to work on as each fight sequence was performed in its entirety on each take.
Meanwhile, Walton stars in the upcoming NBC series Robinson Crusoe. She plays a character who appears in flashbacks to Crusoe’s life in period London prior to his being shipwrecked. She says 13 episodes have been shot and the show begins airing in October.
Having seen the final product on Hellboy II, Goss says he is pleased with the results, while Walton thinks the film has a chance to really connect with women. “I think it’s a misconception that it’s a man’s film,” she says. “The first one I was so touched by and Hellboy is such an attractive character and he’s funny and he’s attractive and he’s quite sexy, really.”