Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Happy Birthday Ron Pearlman!!
Today the gravelly voiced giant Ron Pearlman turns 60, with a career that is still going strong, while also currently appearing in the fantastic “Sons of Anarchy” alongside one of my heroes for life Henry Rollins and as I sit down to write this I am still eagerly awaiting season two which is to be soon shown here in the UK.
Still the dream at the moment is that he will take on the role of Tom Waits when someone finally gets around to making his biopic, which in an idea world open with Waits himself sitting on a barstool smoking and reminiscing, before flashbacking to Perlman as Waits or even if the whole film was like this clip from “Coffee and Cigarettes” I’d personally be happy.
Still in the meantime to celebrate today, here are my top five Ron Pearlman roles.
Hellboy (2004): Honestly if there was one role he was born to play, it really is the titular role of Hellboy, the demon who was brought to earth by the Nazis during WW2 only to be recruited by the allies. Now present day he works for the Bureau for Paranormal Research (BRPD) as a paranormal investigator.
When it came to casting the role both director Guillermo del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola both named Pearlman for the role and it proved to be a wise choice, as Pearlman here shines as the wisecracking demon, embodying the character and even managing to squeeze out a one liner, even when facing certain death.
It’s this world of Hellboy that Del Toro also manages to faithfully recreate; thanks to a potent combination of being a huge fanboy of the series and by using old school effects were possible, as he brings to the screen a truly memorable cast of characters.
The last supper (1995): A black humoured tale of five liberal students and the dinner parties they hold, poisoning their guest if they decide that they don’t like their views and burying their bodies in the tomato patch.
True Pearlman might only have a small role, as the controversial pundit Norman Arbuthnot (based loosely on real life pundit Rush Limbaugh) whose presence is always there in the background, usually in the snippets of interview footage which appear throughout the film, before becoming their guest at their final supper.
Its not a perfect film, but if you can look past a few minor scripting errors, it makes for dark hearted fun, while certainly providing an interesting solution for dealing with annoying dinner party guests.
City of lost children (1995): A wonderfully bizarre movie, in which Pearlman plays One, the whale harpooner turned circus strongman, who teams up with the orphan Miette, to rescue his little brother who has been kidnapped by the mad scientist Krank, who plans to steal the dreams of children, in order to help stop his rapid aging.
Packed with interesting and unusual characters which would become the calling card of the work of directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose film often present themselves as grown up fairy tales, this film is certainly no different.
As the sole American member of the French cast, Pearlman doesn’t standout as he plays the slow and almost childlike One, having learned all his lines so well, he gives a flawless performance in French which blends his performance seamlessly with the others, completing the illusion of this surreal society.
Afro samurai (2007): A fantastic exercise in genre mashing as Blaxploitation, Kung fu, Splatter flicks and Westerns meet in a head on collision, wrapped up in Japanese animation, to create the most exciting ninja anime since “Ninja Scroll” (1993) as the titular afro samurai (voiced here by Samuel L. Jackson) hunts for his fathers killer Justice voiced by Pearlman, who brings a full on western drawl to the character, who dresses anyway like he’s stumbled out of a western. Still Pearlman certainly embodies the role, making the character of Justice not, just clearly evil, but chilling in how cold and calculating he really is, especially when it comes to maintaining his spot as the number 1.
Containing some fantastically choreographed fight sequences, while never worrying about what seems plausible and what should appear in this vision of a feudal Japan, with a futuristic twist, which honestly only adds to the fun and madness and after all how bad can a film, featuring Jinno a samurai who wears a giant teddy bear head actually be??
Alien Resurrection (1997): True it might not be the most popular of the Alien saga, but it is certainly the last of the good films, before the series went to pot with its sterile “Alien vs. Predator” spin offs. Still there is a lot to like here, as visionary director Jean-Pierre Jeunet attempts to bring take his surreal visions in a more nightmarish direction with Joss Whedon appearing on scripting duties, a lot of the ideas introduced are clearly with the intention of keeping the series fresh, such as a human alien hybrid, while keeping a sense of familiarity with its setting, that the series had built up with it’s previous three films.
Pearlman here plays the muscle headed jerk Johner and its certainly the kind of role which he does well, as a character who cares mainly about saving his own hide than the fellow members of his team, while also taking great delight in taunting Vriess, by memorably dropping a knife into his paralysed legs.
So there you have it my five favourite roles portrayed by our friend Mr. Ron Pearlman, who hopefully will continue to bring even more iconic characters to the screen for even more years to come, maybe slapping on the red body paint once more to bring us, one final Hellboy adventure….well I can but wish.