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Doug Jones on Pan's Labyrinth Costumes

Published December 29, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Picturehouse.
Pan's Labyrinth Poster Pan's Labyrinth
Doug Jones is the guy in the costumes. After Morlocks, Abe Sapien and the upcoming Silver Surfer, we won't be seeing his actual face anytime soon. In Pan's Labyrinth, Jones plays two characters: Pan, the faun, and the Pale Man, a monster in the labyrinth.

Jones Talks Pan's Labyrinth Costumes

"He mentioned the pale man in that first e-mail as well and I thought, 'Oh right, you cheap ass,'" said Jones. "'You've got me in Spain, you want me for free, you get a second character out of me. Right.' But after seeing the film and seeing how it all came together, I'm looking at it and I can see like, 'Okay, if Pan is creating these tests for Ofelia to pass to claim her birthright or whatever, could the Pale Man not be a creation of Pan?' Anything's possible in this world that he's from. So I looked at it that way and then it made sense on film. Guillermo doesn't make any decisions that aren't really calculated, so to have me play both parts was something that he had in mind. I really trust that man. if he wanted me to take a crap on film, I would take that crap and I would know that he would form it into some piece of art that would be gorgeous and we'd be winning awards next year for it."

The two creatures carry themselves completely differently, which was a combination of Del Toro and Jones' influences. "With Guillermo, what he does is he directs me ahead of time. We get together and we meet and he will give me physical quirks and characteristics he'd like to see along with character development ideas and what not. I get to go home and put my own spin on that and practice that and rehearse that, go in front of mirrors at the gym and get posturing and movement. And then also when doing the dialogue as well, putting my own spin on that as well. So Pan was interesting too because he aged backwards. I don't know if any of you caught that when you saw the film. The first time you see him, he's a big grayer, his hair. One of his ram horns is kind of eaten away at the end and his whole coloration, and I was carrying myself a little bit more hunched, my steps weren't as smooth. By the end, he's auburn hair, his horns are completed and shiny and he's more erect and fluid. So that was a subtlety that again, I didn't even ask questions. I just said, 'He's aging backwards. For some reason, I'm gonna go with this.' But to me, he might have gotten younger and stronger and more fluid and more powerful as the movie goes on because if this is a part of Ofelia's imagination, we don't even know for sure is it real or is it imaginary, if it is, she's depending more on this fantasy life throughout every step of the way in the movie because her reality is getting worse and worse."

The Pale Man is only in one scene, so he's not aging either way, but there was still a process. "The Pale Man evolved as well. At first, Guillermo even thought that he should maybe have a gallop to him of some sort, that is fast and terrifying in a you can't get away from me sort of way. But what he evolved into is what you saw on film where he's creepy, crawly and has a stiff I've been asleep for a long time sort of walk to him. But he's still scary. And he's moving slower. Ivana was running down the hallway much faster than I was coming after, but it was terrifying somehow because it's like as I interpret it, he's in his own chamber and when children get in there, they don't go out. So he had all day. I'll find her eventually, right? She'll tire. So that's how I looked at it. But of course, she finds a way to outfox him. So yeah, but if you look at those two characters, you may not know that it was one person playing both of them but I don't know."

Both costumes were about the same hassle. "They were both about five hours. Pan came together glue-wise and makeup-wise a little bit faster but the mechanics were something that had to be plugged in. A lot of things had to work in concert with them together and with puppeteers operating half my face and all so he had many various elements that had to be screwed on mechanically and zippered and pinned and snapped and Velcroed. The Pale Man was more of a glue down job and color blending that had to happen with silicon pieces. Pan was mostly foam latex and the Pale Man was silicon because it had to get the little wartle. Silicon has much more of a lifelike movement to it and he was piece by piece glued on."

Don't tell Guillermo, but Jones found a way to speed up the process. "In order to get more sleep for me and for the makeup team, I wore a lot of the Pale Man back to the hotel. I didn't tell anybody this during the shoot because I knew that Guillermo would have my hide for it because he wants me to relax and out of this all. But I had them take my head and neck off and my hands off but leave the arms and the torso on. The legs came on, the Pale Man legs were really thin and bony. Yes, I'm thin and bony, yes, but those were like actual bones with skin dangling off of them. I was wearing the complete makeup around my torso but it would blend into the bony legs that were attached to the front of me with my legs in green screen color. So they could take those off pretty easily too with the drop of my pants, which I did a lot that week. But this glued on bit, it takes hours. They would wrap me in saran wrap so that the flaps wouldn't stick to themselves or to my sheets, oh God. So labor of love. Have I said that before? Yeah, yeah."

The sacrifice didn't end there. "I couldn't sit in a conventional chair. When I was in the Pan, the leg contraption was quite elaborate. They CGed part of my leg out with the green screen wrapped around my leg and other parts of leg built around that. Very complicated and with the ram horns on the head, to hold my head up was like ugh, I can't take it anymore. It was heavy. So to rest, they had like a bar thing with a bicycle seat sort of thing on it and a T bar this way that I could rest my head on forward. I couldn't lean back on it but I could lean forward. So it was this one position. That's all I could. I would eat but then I'd be like, oh, yeah, yeah, then put my head forward again. It was really a labor of love, can we talk about it?"

Pan's Labyrinth opens to theatres today.

For more movie info, movie stills, posters and the 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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