After Stranger Things star David Harbour debuted his transformation into a “big, demon monster” for his new role in Hellboy, many fans on the Internet were stunned. How could the doughnut-loving, doughy, and lovable Sheriff Jim Hopper become a musclebound beast in such a short amount of time?
Simple: He worked his ass off.
In a recent interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Harbour said he received no computer-generated assistance in becoming Hellboy.
"None of that's CGI, right?" Colbert said. "None of that's CGI?"
“Not a single bit, man!” Harbour replied, laughing as the audience applauded. “I don’t know why people complain about ‘fake news,’ because fake news works in my favor, in terms of this. That’s all me, 100%.”
Watch the video and it's pretty obvious that Harbour and Colbert aren't being entirely serious, although Harbour's quip that "fake news works in my favor" suggests he understands the surprise among fans. And film nerds will point out that CGI doesn't account for makeup and prosthetics, which obviously got applied to Harbour to some degree, considering that Hellboy's natural skin tone is fire-engine red, and that Harbour doesn't have the sawed-off stumps of demon horns coming out of his head in real life.
So yes: Harbour is (probably) kidding. But who are we to call him out? Previously, in a video about his training with trainer Don Saladino, Harbour said Hellboy is “a very different role from something I’ve played”. Regarding his training, Harbour added that he “wanted to develop power and strength—so when I’m doing this role, you believe it”.
Harbour also confirmed to Colbert that Hellboy has already wrapped filming, and that he's going back to his doughy ways: “I’ve already started the doughnut training. Six donuts a day! We’ll get there, folks,” Harbour said.
Following Harbour’s amazing transformation, Men’s Fitness spoke with Saladino about the intense workouts Harbour used to turn into Hellboy. (Saladino also gave Men’s Fitness a sample of Harbour's workout that you can also do to get Hellboy-strong.)
Saladino wanted to get Harbour "into great shape" and "strong enough" to have the physicality of the hero. “We didn’t want an Abercrombie, ripped body,” Saladino said in a video documenting Harbour’s training. “You needed to look, like, scary—and I think we nailed it.”
Prosthetics or not, there's no doubt Harbour came a long way from his definitive dad bod to embody the demonic superhero. To wit: Harbour also joked with Colbert about how Merriam-Webster used a photo of him as Sheriff Hopper for a Twitter post describing the use of the term “dad bod”.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 8, 2017
Hellboy, directed by Neil Marshall and starring Harbour, Milla Jovovich, and Ian McShane, will hit theaters on Jan. 11, 2019.