Among the many characters you’re introduced to in Pacific Rim, Ron Perlman steals the show as Hannibal Chau. “He’s the generic war profiteer who doesn’t care how he makes his money as long as he makes it,” Perman explained in a one-on-one interview with us during a press day for the film in San Francisco. In other words, when a kaiju hits Hong Kong, Chau is there to pick up the remains of the beast once it is destroyed, harvesting every piece he can to turn a profit.
How Chau fits into the story? We’ll let you discover that for yourself when Pacific Rim opens July 12th. Head inside for our brief chat with the actor whose longtime collaboration with director Guillermo del Toro began in Cronos and has thrived wonderfully ever since.
Shock Till You Drop: At this point, when Guillermo comes calling…
Ron Perlman: We’re like the Honeymooners.
Shock: [laughs] Yeah. You can never say no to this guy, right?
Perlman: I would never say no. There’s never a remote reason to say no. These are things you run to gleefully because he’s given me the coolest roles I’ve ever played. These are roles we aspire to, as actors.
Shock: Did Guillermo give you a selection of characters to choose from, because I can see you easily playing a Jaeger pilot…
Perlman: No, I think he bent over backwards to turn Hannibal Chou into somebody who could be played by a Caucasian Jew from the Bronx. Originally, I think that role was not mean to be played by somebody like me, but he made a decision at some point that because this guy is going to be this expansive, larger-than-life self-invented entity for effect, why not go as far out of field as you possibly can?
Shock: Do you still get a “wow” factor walking on to the sets that make up Guillermo’s films and get excited?
Perlman: Oh yeah, being on a Guillermo set is like being at EPCOT center. World’s Fair. The greatest artists of the century come together to blow people’s minds with where we are technically. That’s every set I’ve ever walked onto with Guillermo. The fairy market of Hellboy II was astounding. It took two and a half hours lighting that first shot and I took all of that time taking pictures of all of the little details no one would ever see. Charlie Day was talking about our set on this and there’s this Hong Kong diner set they created. There was never going to be a scene in this diner, but if you walked into it every place was set and on every menu there were blue fingerprints [from the kaiju blood]. These just existed, they were never going to be filmed but if someone happened in there, they would truly believe they were in that world.
Shock: You worked on a film called Crave which is on the way, what can you tell us about that?
Perlman: It was a film that was made with limited resources. When I saw the movie about 9 months ago, I was really proud to be in it. A smart film. I wish the director the best, I want people to see it.
Shock: You also worked on Angry Little God recently…
Perlman: That’s supposed to come out in the fall. I play a detective ’cause there’s all sorts of weird stuff going down. It’s one of these things where you find out I’m not who I appeared to be. Daniel [Stamm] is great and a smart screenplay, maybe one of the coolest psychological thrillers I’ve read.
For more with Perlman, click here for his thoughts on Hellboy 3!