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Luke Goss used the pain and discomfort from the make up and tricky costume to feed it into his characterisation of Prince Nuada in Hellboy II The Golden Army, a role which Guillermo del Toro wrote with Goss in Mind, the actor tells Andrew L. Urban.

It’s clear blue skies over West Hollywood, as Luke Goss stands in his living room looking past the famous Chateau Marmont hotel towards famous Sunset Boulevard, enjoying just talking to someone in Australia – a country he visited in another life as a member of British band Bros. “I’d really love to be back there,” he says with enthusiasm, as we talk about Hellboy II and his work as Prince Nuada, a role which writer/director Guillermo del Toro wrote with him in mind.

"I was like a kid with a new fancy toy, I was so excited"

“I was sent the script and when I read it I had a suspicion that the Prince Nuada role was mine, but I also thought that it was probably just a script my agent sent in hope. But then I got a phone call from Guillermo saying he’d heard I responded to it, and I told him, ‘Responded??!! I love it!’ I was like a kid with a new fancy toy, I was so excited.” But then Goss had already worked with de Toro on Blade II (as the vampire Nomak) and they had both enjoyed that experience.

“He stays true to his ideas,” says Goss, “and he does not guess. He knows. And when he asks you for input, you better know the answer; you have to know what you’re doing. If he has chosen you, it’s because he believes in you. He’s a filmmaker with great knowledge of every aspect of filmmaking and he knows every inch of the set and he’s not afraid to have friendships with the actors, like some directors. He’s my favourite director to work with … and I owe him.”

Goss sympathized with the Prince and trained hard to make him a worthy adversary. “He aims to balance the scales by the most succinct means possible,” says Goss. “I can see his point. He wants to enjoy and not destroy the planet. When he walks into Blackwood’s auction house, he sees people sitting there with no idea about what they’re trying to buy. They’re selling his history, and it outrages him.”

Goss instantly understood Nuada; “As I read the script I saw the demise of the planet and his father doing nothing about it … I saw the decay of a beautiful life, and the betrayal of that world.” Goss says he had learnt how to mesh the sensations of wearing the extensive make up and costuming required. “The stuff on your face, the false teeth, the eyes and hair … and I look in the mirror and there he is. I can’t see properly, no peripheral vision, lots of pain from the teeth, discomfort in my back … it all feeds into what it feels like to be him, Prince Nuada.”

In Hellboy II, everything shifts for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) after it responds to an emergency at an Upper East Side auction house in Manhattan. Each team member is stretched to the limit by the chain of cataclysmic events unleashed on that rainy September night by one very ticked-off son of the earth: Prince Nuada Silverlance, exile of the Bethmoora Kingdom. The self-appointed revolutionary of the elves, fairiefolk and creatures of the shadows has been subsiding on the crumbs of the industrialized world, while his beloved planet withers under human masters. It was not always so, and the prince is determined to change the balance of power, even if it means defying his father and endangering his beloved twin sister.

“The Prince is a great villain because he is very dangerous and a great fighter, but he also happens to have a strong moral stand on what he does and why he does it,” explains del Toro.

The prince hasn’t surfaced with the intention of taking on Hellboy, but no matter. He’s ready to engage him physically and psychologically. Nuada also knows how to reach the secret places in Hellboy’s soul. At a crucial moment, he calls him out and forces him to face who is he is and where his loyalties lie. “Guillermo has upped the ante of what Hellboy’s going through in this movie,” says Perlman. “Eventually, Hellboy has to ask himself why he’s working for a bureau dedicated to neutralizing creatures who are really his own kind.”

"close collaboration between stunts and special effects"

The stunts team worked closely with the visual effects department in planning Hellboy’s battle with the computer-generated Golden Army soldiers. But the one-on-one fight between Hellboy and the prince is a flesh-and-blood encounter that required close collaboration between stunts and special effects, not to mention close calls between Ron Perlman and Luke Goss.

“When making Blade II, Wesley Snipes told me at the start that when you fight eight hours a day, it’s going to happen: you’re going to get hit. I actually punched Wesley on the nose one time,” says Goss. “But it’s a matter of trust – and lots of help from very talented people.”

Goss was part of the multiplatinum-selling British band, Bros. By age 20, Goss had won the Brit Award, performed at Wembley Stadium and sold out arenas across Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada. His best-selling autobiography on the experience, “I Owe You Nothing,” was published by Harper Collins in 1993.

Goss started a new career, and found a new audience, playing Danny Zuko in the smash hit musical Grease on London’s West End. He later toured with the production throughout the United Kingdom. He says he owes his career switch to one of the few female theatre directors with her own residency at a repertory company, Marina Caldoni. “She called me after seeing me on a talk show saying she thought I’d be good for a play she was doing. I was absolutely terrified when I went in; there were all these trained actors … but they embraced me, encouraged me. I felt more camaraderie in that room than I’d felt in five years with the band. I was relieved and very excited.”

And he still is.

Goss established himself as an actor on screen in 2002 with performances in two very different features: David S. Goyer’s independent drama ZigZag, with John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Natasha Lyonne and Wesley Snipes; and Guillermo del Toro’s hit Blade II, with Snipes and Ron Perlman. The following year, he starred in the title role of the well-reviewed British gangster film Charlie, and in the title role in the Emmy Award-winning Hallmark miniseries Frankenstein, with Donald Sutherland and William Hurt.

"opposite Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole"

In 2005, Goss travelled to India for the title role in the Biblical epic One Night with the King, opposite Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole. “There was this moment on that film when I was playing a king, sitting astride a beautiful white horse in India delivering lines to Omar Sharif on my right, and I though to myself, ‘this is ridiculous … how did this happen?” As for Omar, Goss had been a fan and found the man to be “all that you’d imagine. He’s funny, intense, playful - and the biggest flirt with the ladies.”

Published August 28, 2008

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Luke Goss
(McVirn Etienne photo)


... as Prince Nuada

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