Ron Perlman Remembers 'Hellboy' Father John Hurt: "He Was a Beautiful Man"

"I feel bad for anyone in this business who didn't know him."
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'Hellboy' (2004)

Ron Perlman befriended Sir John Hurt when the legendary English actor played professor Trevor Bruttenholm, father to his title character in the 2004 film Hellboy. Hurt, who died Wednesday, also had a cameo in the 2008 sequel. Here, Perlman remembers his dear friend. 

He was one of the purest guys I have ever met. No matter what age he was, he still had a 9-year-old's naivety, curiosity, enthusiasm. He was so boyish in so many ways. And because of that, you wanted to take care of him, protect him from the pure evil of the world. Now, I am not saying he didn't have bouts with personal demons. However, generally speaking, he was just this wonderfully innocent, naive spirit, who was born to act. 

We offered him the role in Hellboy and much to our delight, John said yes, and the picture was then validated in such a way because the guy is such royalty in my mind. And it gave us a sense of empowerment. I think any endeavor Sir John agreed to be a part of, it brought it up a few notches. 

I have known a million actors in my day, but I have only met a very small handful of people who were born to be actors, and John was at the very top. And to be in his presence, what he was able to share with me and pass on to me, that was one of the great privileges. I feel bad for anyone in this business who didn't know him.

We did a lot of eating and talking and carousing. We both enjoyed the shit out of Prague [while filming Hellboy], which we were both discovering for the first time. He got me home drunk a few times. I got him home drunk a few times. We took care of each other. We were truly like father and son or brothers, that was our relationship for that brief time we were together in those six months in Prague.

When he came back for the small stint in Hellboy 2, even though I wasn't in those scenes, I came to the set everyday to watch him work because every moment you spent with John was a trip. It was like going to graduate school.

Not long after I heard he passed, I posted some pictures to social media: One was of Hellboy holding [Bruttenholm's] body and the other was Hellboy watching his funeral from the rooftop, not being able to participate because he is a freak. Because John had that naivety, there was a frailness to the guy who didn't have a lot of defenses against the slings and arrows. So when I had to play the scene of losing him, it was not hard to imagine losing John, and it was not hard to come up with those feelings. 

He was a beautiful man. 

 

A photo posted by Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) on

 

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A photo posted by Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) on

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