It's a shame that the Hellboy franchise is struggling to find its footing in Hollywood. Outside of the characters that populate Marvel and DC, Mike Mignola's horror-centric hero has been one of the comic industry's most beloved creations. Given that horror pairs with the medium of comics as well as the superhero genre, it only makes sense that a character with roots in both worlds would become an icon in the industry.
However, outside of his inaugural film series, helmed by Oscar-winner Guillermo Del Toro, Hellboy has been stuck in various circles of developmental hell for a decade. On paper, the tone and style of the 2019 reboot of Hellboy, starring Stranger Things' David Harbour, seemed like the perfect antidote to the character's cinematic struggles, but once audiences saw the film, the conversation quickly shifted. Earlier this week, news broke that Brian Taylor, co-director of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence, would shepherd a new Hellboy reboot. According to Comicbook.com, Taylor has several ideas for his version of the character
News emerged last week that there would be another new take on the cult-classic comic hero Hellboy, this time with Crank and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance co-director Brian Taylor at the helm, who recently teased that his Hellboy: The Crooked Man would embrace an unsettling and R-rated tone. The first two live-action adaptations from director Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman were critical hits, though embraced a PG-13 tone, while 2019's Hellboy earned an R rating, yet was a failure with both audiences and critics alike. The new Hellboy movie is expected to start shooting in the coming months.
"I pitched an R-rated folk-horror movie and the team here at Millennium have been nothing but supportive. It's a great group of people, and they love horror," Taylor revealed to Collider. "We've definitely had a discussion of, you know, it doesn't really serve anybody to make something R for R's sake. To say it has to be R so we have to add A, B, and C. But this material, this original material is dark and scary and violent and adult. So in order to really embrace that, we just don't wanna have any handcuffs on."
While the film isn't officially confirmed to have "The Crooked Man" title, Taylor notes that this run of the character in the comics serves as a major influence on his narrative.
"So first of all, I love the character of Hellboy and my favorite run of the character is this particular era. The [Guillermo del Toro] movies were massive-scale space operas and just pure Del Toro through and through," the filmmaker expressed. "But some of the comics [creator] Mike [Mignola] was doing at the time had a very different feeling. More lean and mean, creepy, folk horror. A younger Hellboy, wandering the dark corners of the world… Paranormal investigator, night stalker… The Crooked Man in particular is just such an iconic book — written by Mike, drawn by Richard Corben, another legend. Set in the late '50s. For me, it's my favorite version of the character. So the appeal of this one, to me, is to go back to that and do a real reset, and really give us that version of Hellboy, which I just don't think we've seen yet."