From his early credit as Frankenstein in Sabrina the Teenage Witch to his recent role as Gruagach in the new Hellboy movie, Douglas Tait has brought a myriad of monsters, creatures, and iconic characters to life on screen, often while performing with imaginative makeup effects, jaw-dropping prosthetics, and incredible costumes. To celebrate the release of the new Hellboy, we caught up with Tait in our latest Q&A feature to discuss playing the vengeful boar character, and he also reflects on meeting legendary practical effects guru Stan Winston on the set of Zathura and playing Jason Voorhees in the ending of Freddy vs. Jason.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, Douglas, and congratulations on the new Hellboy! What can you tell us about your character Gruagach in the new movie?
Douglas Tait: Thank you! In the comic, Gruagach was once a shapeshifting warrior who is currently trapped in the body of a stunted boar because of Hellboy. Throughout the film, my character seeks his revenge on Hellboy. Gruagach doesn’t have the strength to defeat Hellboy, so I enlist the help of The Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) to help me get my revenge.
Did you read any Hellboy comics featuring Gruagach to prepare for the role?
Douglas Tait: Yes, I read The Wild Hunt, which this Hellboy is based off of.
You have extensive experience acting with makeup effects and detailed costumes. What was the makeup and costuming process like for Gruagach?
Douglas Tait: It wasn’t a makeup, it was a full suit with an animatronic head. It took about 30 minutes to get in the suit and head, and it was mentally and physically challenging.
Looking back at your time on set of the new Hellboy, is there a favorite or memorable moment that stands out?
Douglas Tait: There was a moment when I was acting with David Harbour and I was thinking, "Wow, I am doing what I love working with an actor that I really respect," and it was a great moment.
Early in your acting career, you played Frankenstein’s monster on stage at Universal Studios Hollywood. Did portraying that iconic character spark an interest in playing creatures and monsters throughout your career?
Douglas Tait: I really enjoyed it, but It wasn't something planned. I was doing it as a side job while I was pursuing acting. It kinda happened on its own. People would refer me for small things, a short film in makeup, etc. I started to meet makeup artists and work for different FX shops and it slowly led to other jobs. After several years of doing it, I started to get requested and I realized that I found a great niche.
Horror fans also know you from playing Jason Voorhees at the end of Freddy vs. Jason, and your scene is strikingly haunting: Jason emerging from the water with Freddy’s head in one hand. What was it like to play a horror icon in one of the most memorable scenes of that film?
Douglas Tait: It was a surreal experience for me. I was a big Nightmare on Elm Street fan, so working with Robert Englund and wearing the Jason mask was beyond epic.
You also had the opportunity to work with the late, great Stan Winston and the talented team from his studio on 2005’s sci-fi adventure film, Zathura, in which you played the reptilian alien Zorgon. What was it like to work with Stan Winston Studio? Did you get to work directly with Stan at all?
Douglas Tait: I was a big fan of Stan Winston's work growing up. I didn't get to work with Stan directly, but I did meet him on Zathura, and we had a nice conversation. It was really special to me, and I will never forget it. His son Matt Winston is a great guy and I love how he is keeping his dad's legacy alive with the Stan Winston School. He is very supportive of my work, and is always promoting practical FX. Zathura was a great experience and the film's creature FX are still talked about to this day.
With Hellboy now in theaters, what other projects do you have coming up that you’re excited about? Where can our readers go online to keep up to date on your work?
Douglas Tait: I play a character in Annabelle Comes Home opening June 28th, and I start a new popular sci-fi series this month that I can’t talk about yet. Anyone can follow me on my social media:
[Photo Credit: Above Douglas Tait photo by George Todoroff.]
Red band trailer: