|Owen: You are a
legend to almost all horror fans for your
menacing portrayal of the lead Cenobite
Pinhead in all 8 of the Hellraiser films. What are the primary means you use
to get into character for your portrayal?
Doug: Well, the thing with a character like Pinhead is
that most of the methods normally open to you as
an actor are not available to you. By that I mean
the conventional things we do like asking
ourselves questions about the characters
life what car does he drive, what music
does he listen to, what does he eat for breakfast
and so on. Nor can you as far as Im
aware go anywhere to watch Cenobites at
work to study and observe them.
That means really the work
is initially done between the script and your
imagination its true for all acting,
actually but especially so here. The
script, the script, the script. Read and reread
and grab whatever you find swimming up from your
unconscious mind, no matter how slight or crazy
it might seem. Hold it tight and examine it for
nuggets of gold. You can always reject the dross
later. Ive read that Hopkins got
Lecter while reading the script. He said he heard
Lecters voice in his head and had an image
of Starling running down a long dark tunnel, and
everything flowed from that moment. For me it was
initially the line No tears, please, its
a waste of good suffering. I kept going
back and back to that line. It was the baleful,
bleak, mordant wit that was intriguing me.
Fascination and boredom in the same breath. That
was also where I started hearing Pinheads
I also of course had the
great luxury of being able to discuss the
character at length with Clive before I ever got
near the set.
And above and beyond all
this: the make-up. Ive talked and written
at length about the first moment of looking in
the mirror and seeing not me but Pinhead looking
back at me. As Ive said before, 90% of my
beats for Pinhead came in a rush of
thrilling excitement there and then. Still today,
its having the make-up and costume on that
does it. The joking and goofing around stops and
the serious stuff begins. Occasionally, Gary will
play Chris Youngs Hellraiser theme
(Hellbound in fact to be absolutely accurate)
just to push me over the edge.
make-up for the Hellraiser series has to be brutal and time-consuming -
and you also had rather extensive prosthetic
make-up in 'Nightbreed' and 'Proteus'. What
do you usually do to while away the time in the
Everyones always terribly
impressed and awed by the amount of time I spend
in the make-up chair and Im very happy to
bask in that. But from time to time, a gnawing
sense of guilt forces me to point out that I dont
actually do anything in that time: its the
make-up artist who does all the work.
do I do? I chatter, listen to music, drink
coffee, take smoke breaks (I wouldnt any
more: I quit nine months ago). Not to be
immodest, I am very mindful of the make-up and
try to be co-operative. There are times when you
have to stay absolutely still, not talk, keep
your eyes closed etc. Theres no point in
goofing around during this process and then have
the make-up causing problems all day. Im
less tolerant of constant touch-ups than I am of
the original application. But Im not a
saint and there are days when Im just so
sick of the whole thing that I tend to give
everyone a hard time but theyre few
and far between.
Ive also been lucky
for the most part to work with make-up artists
that I have absolute trust in. Thats very
important. Then its like a partnership: youre
making each other look good. Also Gary
Tunnicliffe and I share pretty much the same
sense of humour and wickedness and that
it a welcome joy in other film roles like 'Archangel
Thunderbird' or your newest film 'Urbane' where make-up
really isn't an issue?
Doug: There is a
delight in being dismissed from the make-up chair
after ten minutes. Sometimes Im looking
around, thinking, is that it? Surely you have
something else to do? But youre in the
mind-set of whatever the part is: if it requires
lengthy make-up, its part of the job: if it
doesnt, it isnt.
is not only a physical menace; he
thrives on psychological torture as
well. Does that quality (along
with perhaps Freddy Kreuger) rather than other
"bodily-harm" horror icons (like Jason
Voorhees and Michael Meyers) allow you to develop
and deepen him as a character? If so how do
you see him developing?
absolutely right, and without question the fact
that Pinhead is not just hiding in the shadows
waiting to dice and slice whoever comes along
makes him more interesting and satisfying to
watch and play. No offence, Jason, Michael: take
it easy, guys. But the rich, poetic language
Clive and Pete gave the character, the Wildean
aphorisms and the psychological games are
certainly all elements that grabbed my
imagination first the physical harm was a
secondary thing for me not that I dont
revel in that as well.
In terms of development, Id
like to push further into the heart of Pinheads
darkness, psychologically and physically. Hes
maybe got a bit clean later. Too much
sermonizing. We know he can talk the talk; Id
like to see him walk the walk a little more.
Owen: Speaking of that, I know you are friends
with Freddy himself - Robert Englund, your
costar as well in 'The Killer Tongue'.
Did you two bond over your shared
horror-character icon status?
Before Killer Tongue, wed
been passing ships at a couple of conventions: if
we met it was only hail-and-farewell. We didnt
get to know each other properly until we did that
movie in Spain down in the desert near
Almeria -where theyve shot so many films
including the Spaghetti Westerns and in
Madrid. And weve kept pretty closely in
touch since then.
Of course the movie thing
is part of our friendship we wouldnt
know each other otherwise, but its not the
only glue. Robert (and his wife, Nancy, one of
the worlds great e-mailers) are great
company whatever youre doing, though with
Robert, everything gets back to movies
eventually. Thanks to him, I have only 3 degrees
of separation from DW Griffith. And thats
are also becoming closely associated with the
work of Frazer Lee --- you have starred
in his award winning shorts, 'On
Edge' and 'Red Lines',
and have a commanding role in his upcoming
feature length debut 'Urbane'.
What about his work and methods initially
attracted you and how has that changed throughout
the three films?
first contact with Frazer was when the script for
On Edge dropped through the
letterbox. It had the usual accompanying letter
short film, no money, basically. I liked
the script a lot and set up a meeting. I liked
Frazer immediately; I liked his energy and
enthusiasm and also warmed to a certain
hardheaded cynicism. But he was clearly a highly
creative guy with big plans and by the end of
lunch Id said yes.
I was not disappointed.
The shoot was short, sharp, pressured, fun and
rewarding and I was delighted with the end
product. Therefore I had no hesitation about
saying yes when he approached me with the Red
a great script and a great part for me, but I wont
talk about it because, at this point, there is no
guarantee the film will get made. I really hope
it does and we seem to be not far off getting all
the funding in place but Sods Law has
taught me that the more you talk about a project,
the less likely it to happen.
the best part about playing the bad guy?
should roll out the bit about the devil and the
best tunes at this point, shouldnt I? I
have to say, Im not overly analytical about
all this and I dont actually
approach Pinhead thinking Im playing
the evil or the bad guy. It would be as
disastrous as approaching a comic role thinking
Im going to be funny. Its
all about truth. My touchstone would be Peter
Cushing, one of my acting heroes, who could
switch from bad (Baron Frankenstein)
to good (Van Helsing) and do
both with a great purity and passion
Id have no problem playing
the good guy, though I think the only interesting
heroes are the seriously flawed ones.
are also a very hot ticket at horror
conventions. What is that experience
like? Is it a bit surreal being so well
known as someone else?
Doug: Well, Ive been doing them for 16 years now,
so Im well used to it. The first one I did
(Fangorias Weekend Of Horrors in LA in 89)
was a trip. I went out with Tony Randel (director
of Hellbound) for breakfast and came back to find
a huge line outside the hotel. As we walked in
there was clearly a lot of recognition going on.
I assumed they recognized Tony. 20 minutes later,
when I still hadnt made it to the elevator,
I was only too well aware of my mistake.
Id be lying if I
said they arent without their surreal
moments: Id be lying if I said there arent
times when you wish everyone would go away and
leave you alone, but I do genuinely enjoy doing
the conventions. Its great to meet your
colleagues, many of whom are now friends, and
occasionally a hero or two. And I enjoy meeting
the fans: its not often as an actor that
you get to meet the people you actually do all
Bottom line: three days of
drinking too much and having people say the most
absurdly flattering things about you. Whats
to have a problem with?
projects do you have lined up in the future?
about (this week, September 22) to record a
feature-length audio play of Doctor
Who for Big Finish licensed by BBC
Worldwide. Its not for broadcast, but will
be available on CD. Im playing the bad guy
opposite Colin Bakers Doctor.
about to get the green light for the second Dominator
movie. Ill again be voicing the
part of Dr Payne, undertaker extraordinaire, and
Ill again be Executive Producer. Very early
days, yet, but its aimed for theatrical
release either autumn 06 or early 07.
This October Ill be
out in the States doing some Halloween stuff and
also performing my one-man show, An
Evening With Death.
Im also currently
negotiating over a horror movie in the states
this fall, but (see above) Ill say no more
to say its nothing to do with Pinhead.
Well, not quite
frightens you in real life?
Doug: Requests for
email interviews, buff envelopes from the Inland
Revenue, wasps (which seem to be disappearing in
this country: can it be true?) and fundamentalism
of any kind people with closed heads,