After a disappointing attempt to bring Hellboy back in live-action film form in 2019, audiences could be forgiven for being skeptical about a fourth Hellboy film — a second attempt to reboot the character in live-action movie form in just a few years. But the next Hellboy pic sounds promising, because the director says he wants to tap into the “lean and mean, creepy folk horror” of the Hellboy story The Crooked Man.
Hellboy: The Crooked Man, both the comic and the upcoming film, tell a story set in 1950s rural Appalachia. In the film, which will star a younger Hellboy, he “and a rookie BPRD agent discover a small community haunted by witches, led by a local devil with a troubling connection to Hellboy’s past: the Crooked Man,” according to an official synopsis.
Actor Jack Kesy (Deadpool 2, The Strain) will star as Hellboy, taking over for Ron Perlman and David Harbour. Brian Taylor (Crank, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) is directing a script written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and Chris Golden.
Taylor told Collider last month that Hellboy: The Crooked Man will be “a real reset” that will give audiences a live-action version of Hellboy “which I just don’t think we’ve seen yet.”
“The [Guillermo del Toro] movies were massive scale space operas and just pure Del Toro through and through,” Taylor said. “But some of the comics 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 [...] For me it’s my favorite version of the character.”
Hellboy made his live-action debut in 2004’s Hellboy, and director Guillermo del Toro followed that up with a sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, in 2008. del Toro floated the idea of a Hellboy 3 in 2017, but after discussing it with Perlman and Mignola, said, “100% the sequel will not happen.” The director later explained that changes in the film market — namely the decrease in Blu-ray and DVD sales that gave Hellboy a second life on home video and led to Columbia Pictures financing the sequel — were to blame. Mignola said that del Toro also pitched him on a Hellboy 3 comic book sequel, which the Hellboy creator declined.
Director Neil Marshall (The Descent) gave Hellboy another shot at Hollywood in 2019, but his Hellboy was a critical and financial flop.