8 months ago
Actor Doug Jones is nowhere near as well-known as the Democratic senatorial candidate from Alabama that shares the same name.
But just about everyone in the country has seen plenty of him on the big and small screens — even if they had no idea who they were watching. This Doug Jones, all 6-foot-3 and 140 pounds of him, actually has amassed 150 acting credits on a 30-year resume, though in just about all of them he was smeared in makeup or stuffed in rubber monster suits.
And Jones, the pale man behind the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, is now in the midst of a prolific period even by his standards. The 57-year-old is currently starring as the alien Star Fleet Officer, Saru, in CBS All Access’s Star Trek: Discovery, and as the creature at the center of the upcoming drama, Shape of Water, which won the Golden Lion Award as the toast of this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Quite simply, he’s cornered the market on playing monsters, aliens and oddities through practical makeup, the way Andy Serkis rules the performance capture side of the market. And now he’s ready for his closeup without the makeup, courtesy of a profile from Buzzfeed.
“A creature performer needs to be a very odd combination of marathon runner and a mime, who can express himself through layers and layers of latex and acrylic and silicon,” The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro, who collaborated with Jones on six films, told Buzzfeed News.
“It’s a very, very rare discipline … [and] there are very, very few that are actual actors, in my opinion, that go beyond being able to work in a suit or under makeup. Doug is a proper actor.”
Arriving in Los Angeles from Indiana in 1985, Jones had dreams of becoming a sitcom star. But his background in mime and an extremely lanky body that he credits to having “the metabolism of a 16-year-old,” pushed his career in another direction.
His first big break? Playing Mac Tonight, the pianist with the head of a crescent moon, in a popular McDonald’s ad campaign in the late ’80s.
“I’m hired because I’m a tall, skinny guy — with other talents, I hope,” Jones told Buzzfeed. “But the creature effects guys love to start with a skinny, long palette, because they can build on it and not make it too bulky.”