When Ron Perlman starred in Guillermo del Toro’s 2021 film Nightmare Alley, it marked his sixth film with the Mexican director. It’s been a long and varied partnership that started way back in 1993 with the release of the cult horror film, Cronos.
Nightmare Alley has received positive reviews across the board and sees del Toro diverge from his usual, chilling twist on the fantasy genre. Bradley Cooper stars as a conman on the run from his past, who joins a travelling carnival as part of its many wonders. Perlman stars as the carnival’s strongman, Bruno, a kindhearted hulk of a man, who is also something of a departure from the bulky side characters that Perlman plays typically, as seen in Sons of Anarchy and Outlander.
Although del Toro’s latest outing is a departure in terms of story, many of his artistry’s most defining facets remain, including gothic imagery, violence, and a general feeling of something insidious behind the events. It’s been labelled his best outing since the iconic Pan’s Labyrinth, and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s also the best collaboration that del Toro and Perlman have ever done. Given the brilliance of the partnership on Nightmare Alley, discussions of whether Hellboy 3 will ever be made were stoked again. The cult pair of films that brought the dark graphic novel to life by del Toro in 2004 and 2008, have long been waiting for a third entry. The red-skinned demon is perhaps Perlman’s most memorable role, and the antihero was a character he shined at playing.
We know that Perlman has spent most of his career as side characters; however, he really came into his own as Hellboy. His physical presence and gruff demeanour lent themselves perfectly to the hellish imp that saves the world from no end of mythical creatures. Bolsted by del Toro’s humour and dark aesthetic, there’s no wonder that the Hellboy films are so loved.
Unfortunately, fans of del Toro’s series are yet to get a third instalment. All they got was the disastrous 2019 reboot starring David Harbour as the titular character. A huge bomb, again it had angry fans calling for the return of Perlman and del Toro. Perlman himself even commented on the disaster, and he wasn’t a fan.
It seems as if now, plans are in the pipeline for del Toro and Perlman to reunite under the Hellboy banner once more. Asked in a new interview with the Independent whether he’d play Hellboy again, Perlman said: “Am I eager to do Hellboy 3? No, I’m 71 fucking years old.”
Although he’s acutely aware of the fact that playing a hero at 71 will be more challenging than it was 18 years ago, he admitted: “We owe this to the fans.” Perlman concluded: “And we should give it to them because it would be an epic conclusion. So Guillermo, if you’re reading, I’m not done pounding you to get this fucking thing done.”
We wonder how long it will be until official news of the last chapter in del Toro’s Hellboy series breaks.
Watch the trailer for Hellboy below.