Monday 19 February 2018

Ron Perlman 'terrified' to star in new series Hand Of God

Ron Perlman was scared about taking on his new acting role in Hand Of God
Ron Perlman was scared about taking on his new acting role in Hand Of God

Hellboy star Ron Perlman has revealed he was "terrified" to agree to star in new series Hand Of God - because he had doubts over his acting abilities.

Despite being in the industry for over 35 years, the 65-year-old actor, best known for his collaborations with Guillermo del Toro and starring in dark comedy Sons Of Anarchy, admitted he had concerns about playing morally corrupt judge Pernell Harris in Ben Watkins' suspense drama, which airs on Amazon Prime from Friday, September 4.

"What really scared me most is how emotionally broken you see this character and how compromised he is, how much deep profound pain and sorrow he's in and how everything he does springs out of that," Perlman explained.

"In order for the series to work, I knew the sorrow and the pain needed to be authentic, organic and real and I wasn't sure that I was up to it. I wasn't sure if I was able to get there without looking like I was acting.

"I knew whoever was going to play the judge was going to be tested and that's the part of it that scared me. That's what made me approach it trepidatiously."

Pernell suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the man who raped his daughter-in-law - played by Israeli-born actress Alona Tal - and tore his family apart.

Perlman said: "He's the notion of anti-heroism. He's clearly your hero - he's the guy through whose eyes you will experience this, but he's got all these aspects to him that are repellent, repugnant, questionable and uncomfortable.

"He is somebody that I really needed to spend a lot of time on in my imagination to try and figure out. He was way more complex than, 'I know how to do this'."

Viewers see the married father-of-one Pernell beginning to unravel in the pilot episode, as he frolics naked in a fountain.

"It was rather cold and you know what they say about men in cold water?" Perlman joked, adding he didn't indulge in extra gym or training sessions to tone up.

"I thought I was fat and ugly. Being naked in a fountain in broad daylight was scary."

Desperate Housewives and Body Of Proof star Dana Delany plays Pernell's wife Crystal, while British actor Julian Morris - currently starring opposite Zooey Deschanel in comedy New Girl - portrays the morally questionable preacher Paul Curtis.

Hand Of God marks Perlman's first leading TV role since Sons Of Anarchy. He said he was drawn to the new series through the writing and the characters.

"The way it unfolded was way ahead of me, way smarter than I am and teeming with really interesting characters grappling with aspects of human behaviour," he explained.

The actor, who next stars in Roland Emmerich's drama Stonewall alongside Jeremy Irvine about the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 and British comedy Moonwalkers with Rupert Grint, also said streaming outlets such as Amazon Prime and Netflix are raising the bar for shows like Hand Of God, which would previously have been deemed too risky for terrestrial TV networks.

"I think it is the most exciting time for TV than has ever happened in its history," he said.

"The amount of new players and the scope of what we're allowed to do - we're allowed to show full nudity, say anything we want and go as far as our imaginations can take us, and that's because of all the new competition."

Perlman also took a hit at movies, saying many of today's films lack originality.

"What we're seeing in movies which everything is f***ing a copycat of everything else," he continued. "There's no originality, it's all just steamed-over bullshit.

"That's why you're watching the creme de la creme all heading towards TV right now, because the environment is such that they're allowed to do what they used to do in cinema, which was original, cutting edge, controversial and sophisticated."

Perlman hopes the 10-episode first series of Hand Of God will be renewed for more seasons.

He said: "For the last year and a half, working on Hand Of God has been the high point of my career.

"We're all desperate to keep the party going because there's such a love affair with the material and one another."

Press Association

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