Role Recall: Ron Perlman Reminisces on ‘Hellboy,’ Brando and More

Ron Perlman
Ron Perlman

It's been said that Ron Perlman is a leading man in a character actor's body, which might explain why the veteran actor has spent so much of his career under heavy prosthetics and makeup.

(Don't tell that to his legion of #Perlgirls on Twitter, though; you'll rarely find such a devout fanbase. That could be exactly why they love him: The guy's been an underdog his whole career.)

Perlman's adventures in the disguise department began with his first role, Jean-Jacque's Annaud's caveman epic, "Quest for Fire" (1981). That would put Perlman on track to explore his primal instincts once again under heavy coating in CBS's surprise late-'80s hit "Beauty and the Beast." And one could surmise these two roles laid the foundation for the actor to assume the role of Unlikeliest Superhero when he ascended from the nether world to play the title role in "Hellboy" (2004).

You have to assume, then, that it's somewhat of a relief for Perlman to avoid the early morning cosmetics and look like plain-old Ron Perlman (we didn't mean it like that, #Perlgirls) in a project like his latest film, "Crave," which finds the actor playing a detective and confidant to a photographer-turned-vigilante (Josh Lawson).

"'Crave,' I'm very proud of," Perlman says. "It's one of those movies that, seeing it was very different in terms of what I was expecting from the actual experience of filming it. It didn't appear that we were filming something that ended up being as stylish as 'Crave' ended up being."

As "Crave" hits theaters (and on-demand channels), the tall, dark-voiced New York native dropped by the Yahoo's studios to tell us about his many great parts and more in our new series, Role Recall:

Among the highlights:

—Perlman shares a little-known fact that George R.R. Martin, living legend of the fantasy realm and author-creator of "Game of Thrones," worked as a writer on "Beauty and the Beast" (1987-90) and wrote around "every fourth episode." In 2002's "Star Trek Nemesis," meanwhile, he worked with a young "rather obscure" character actor by the name of Tom Hardy. "You knew you were in the presence of somebody who potentially was gonna have a pretty major career, because this dude could act, flat-out act."

—One of Perlman's other legacies may be that he's worked with some of the greatest filmmakers around the world: Annaud on "Quest for Fire," Jean-Pierre Jeunet on "The City of Lost Children," Nicolas Winding Refn on "Drive" … but clearly his favorite remains Guillermo del Toro, whom he first worked with for 1993's "Cronos" and would of course reunite with for the "Hellboy" movies (and later, "Pacific Rim"). Perlman recounts del Toro's seven-year struggle to get the green light on "Hellboy," a major obstacle being the filmmaker's insistence that it star Perlman.

He recounts the director finally telling him (with his best del Toro/Mexican accent): "Yes, you're right my friend, I'm going to move on. I'm probably going to make the movie with The Rock. And he was bulls--tting me the whole time."

—And then there's "This Island of Dr. Moreau." It was perhaps not a crowning cinematic achievement — OK, that's putting it lightly, it's considered one of the biggest turkeys in movie history; Perlman even calls it a "complete mess." But it did afford the actor the opportunity to work with one of the greatest actors to ever live, the late Marlon Brando.

"I heard Marlon Brando was going to be doing this movie and it didn't really matter what I was going to be doing, it didn't matter how much I was going to be making, nothing mattered," Perlman says. "The only thing that mattered was that me, along with every actor since 1950, was looking for an opportunity to just sit there and watch this mother f--ker."

Watch Perlman talk more about his once-in-a-lifetime experience with Brando in a Role Recall bonus clip: