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Doug Jones En Espanol

Published December 27, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Picturehouse.
Pan's Labyrinth is a Spanish language film with all Spanish speaking actors, except for one. Director Guillermo Del Toro tapped his friend Doug Jones to play the film's key monsters, without telling him about the language barrier.

Interview: Doug Jones on Pan's Labyrinth


"I'd already worked with him twice before, once on Mimic and once on Hellboy, so we had a relationship established," said Jones. "And when he sends me an e-mail saying, 'You must be in this film. No one else can play this part but you,' you tend to perk up your ears and listen. Okay, what's the script? So I read it within hours of getting it and I couldn't put it down. I turned the last page closed, wiped a tear and said, 'I do have to be in this movie.' I read an English translation of it, so I wasn't in the Spanish mode yet. I was like, 'Oh, what a great story. What great characters. Ah.' Then I went back to the e-mail where he was like 'da da da da it's going to be in Spanish.' IT'S GONNA BE IN SPANISH??? Oh no. So I'm telling him, 'What do you mean no one else can play this but me? There's a ton of Spanish actors who know Spanish.'"

Del Toro had planned for that. He was prepared to dub Jones in Spanish later. "I was terrified and he assured me that everyone would be fine, we'll get a voice over actor if you just want to count to 10, just do it in the right pausing, in the right mode and move, give me the right feeling. I can't count to 10. I can't do that to him. So he also talked about learning Spanish phonetically. I'm like what does that mean, phonetically? So he put together, he said, 'For instance, if you want to se blah blah blah blah blah in Spanish, you might say the cheese cup fart.' It's a sounds like game, the phonetic thing, a string of English words together that are nonsensical but you at least know the English words and can remember them, and then it forms a sentence in Spanish that makes sense. Well, to me, that form of memorization was even harder than just going to the page and learning the Spanish which is what I did. It's an ancient form of Spanish. Is that more difficult than the contemporary? I don't know, I don't know either one. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter."


Pan's Labyrinth Pan's Labyrinth


Pan's Labyrinth What happens when you never, ever where sunscreen

Jones had plenty of time to learn a new language waiting around in the makeup chair. "I really, really buckled down and committed myself to learning that word for word and I got the pronunciation semi right before I even went in. They offered me a dialect coach that could help me form my words and I said, 'No, let me try this on my own.' I got proud about it, you know. I had five hours of time every day getting into the Pan makeup and costume and mechanics. It was quite a multi-faceted process to become Pan from head to toe. So they would hear my dialogue over and over. We had five hours for me to practice the scene today so one of them would pick up the script while they weren't doing something and read the other lines with me. And if I was pronouncing something horribly wrong, they would correct me. Some words in Spanish are like seven syllables long for one word. I went golly. So knowing where to put the punch or the accent on that was like please help me, please help me, please help me."

Pan's Labyrinth will have a limited release on December 29th.

For more movie info, movie stills, posters, clips, early reviews and trailers, go to the Pan's Labyrinth Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Picturehouse.
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