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Hellboy star says R-rating will reflect 'bit gory, a little bit horror film-y' movie

David Harbour gives us a taste of the next Hellboy movie coming next year.

Hellboy
Lionsgate

David Harbour says playing Hellboy in the upcoming reboot isn't quite so different from playing everyone's favorite Stranger Things sheriff, saying both are hard shells with a gruff exterior: "Good guys sometimes pissed off they have to do the right thing."

In an interview with CNET Magazine, Harbour, who plays the titular Hellboy, made it clear that we can expect this version of the demon to be a darker, more tortured representation of the paranormal detective. (But what else would you expect from a demon living among humans hunting other monsters?)

"[Hellboy] lives in a world where human beings don't accept him for who he is," Harbour said. "So even when he winds up saving people, they still show up with pitchforks and torches to try to kill him. I think the biggest struggle for him is he's hunting down monsters, and yet he is one."

2019's Hellboy will be the third big-screen adaptation about the demonic hero. The previous two from director Guillermo del Toro in 2004 and 2008 were brighter representations of the dark comics they drew from that failed to capture the bleak tone of Mike Mignola's comics. The upcoming interpretation, from director Neil Marshall, has a planned R rating compared with del Toro's PG-13 films.

But it's not just the language and violence pushing the 2019 version into that territory. "The R rating that we're going for is a little bit gory, a little bit horror film-y, but it's about being a mature movie with adult themes," Harbour said.

Now playing: Watch this: Hopper? Hellboy? Harbour?
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"Our color palette is a little darker. Hellboy has a lot more issues. He's a little more lost, a little more confused and conflicted. I think that makes for a darker tone in terms of what he's willing to do. ... Ours is a little more of a character study."

That follows some of the recent developments in the Hellboy comics, in which, after becoming disillusioned and abandoning his role as a government-funded monster hunter, Hellboy wandered the world, died, went to hell and is now back among the living.

Harbour also says there are a lot of similarities between dad bod Sheriff Hopper and ripped demon bod Hellboy. 

"There is this gruff exterior and this inner sort of sweetness. I mean, why is he called the Hellboy and not Hellman? He was found as a boy, but eventually he could get sick of that name, but it seems to fit. There is a boyish quality to this predicament, sort of like Hopper as well. 

"He has this strength and this bigness and this loudness, and at the end of the day he's like a little boy who doesn't understand the world that he lives in and doesn't understand adults."

After all, amid all of the apocalyptic nightmares and demonic activity in the comics, Hellboy maintains a humorous bravado in spite of the grim situations he finds himself in. Especially after drinking with skeletons.

"You can't do Hellboy without humor," Harbour said. "He's the guy who the bad guy will give a huge monologue about — I'm destroying the universe -- and Hellboy's like, 'You talk pretty tough for a guy with no pants.'"

Hellboy arrives (with pants) next April and also stars Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Thomas Haden Church, Sophie Okonedo and Daniel Dae Kim.

Hellboy's David Harbour keeps it real: Where Harbour talks about how he's bringing a bit of Hamlet to the screen with this comic book movie. 

Everything we know about the Hellboy reboot: All about the latest effort to put everyone's favorite son of Azzael on the big screen.