The Strange & Unusual

The Most Famous Actor You’ve Never Seen

Happy birthday to Doug Jones, born 59 years ago today (May 24).

Doug Jones is perhaps the most prolific actor you’ve never actually seen on screen. His thin-visage is usually covered in heavy makeup, rubber latex, and computer-generated imagery and he’s responsible for a wide variety of fantastic characters which perhaps you never knew were him.

Doug Jones is Abe Sapien and Angel of Death in Hellboy, the Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water, the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, the ghosts of Edith’s Mother and Beatrice Sharpe in Crimson Peak, the Thin Clown in Batman Returns, Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus, Slenderman in Slender Man, PencilHead in Mystery Men, an additional Ripper in Tank Girl, and a few others.

His debut performance was for a 1987 McDonald’s ‘Mac Tonight’ commercial as a (dreading!) moon mascot which he mentioned on his Facebook page as a #TBT post. He has always worn loads of prosthetics and makeup well, yet with the lack of internet in the ’80s, it was fairly hard to trace him around as a rising talent. He later appeared on Tim Burton‘s Batman Forever as the Thin Clown who inserted that fiendish device that will allow the gang to control the Batmobile.

The Amphibian Man in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is perhaps my favorite of Doug Jones. A fish-like creature that falls for a deaf laboratory cleaning lady who rescues him from the violent hands of his capturer. Despite his beastly appearance, the Amphibian Man is infused with emotions and the longing to communicate, and he’s able to form a connection with Elisa (Sally Hawkins) an isolated and gentle woman who very much resembles the character of Amélie. The movie’s a heartwarming fairy-tale with beautiful visuals and a distinctive plot. Doug Jones is remarkable in fully transforming himself into a humanoid water creature that is visually and audibly just plain amazing!

You’ll rarely catch Doug Jones not playing a movie monster, but his physical flexibility and mimicking skills allow him to convey deep emotions, expressive body movements, and language that a perhaps only a few can match. No wonder he’s the prime choice of many directors for portraying the most bizarre beings. Guillermo del Toro recurring use of Jones alone goes to show his the go-to actor for executing extraordinary character work.

Mr. Jones has more awesome projects down the pipeline, some of which are still filming. I hope to catch up on some of them real soon, especially the What We Do in the Shadows which I think is airing… now. Jones plays Baron Afanas which sounds like a truly horrific character not to my surprise. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend catching him and Hawkins on The Shape of Water which, if you’re an online pundit or fanboy (or girl!) of the fantastic and whimsical sci-fi romance, will be added to your favorites for sure.

Happy birthday to my favorite monster man! 


13 thoughts on “The Most Famous Actor You’ve Never Seen

  1. I wasn’t aware of Doug Jones till I read your post but I’ll definitely look out for Pan’s Labyrinth which I haven’t seen. I find it interesting the kind of preparation actors like Doug must go through to make full use of make-up and prosthetics. I think people understandably concentrate on the look of things and forget that there’s an actual human being under all that who still has to bring the character of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, you’d never imagine an actual person to perform these eccentric characters with body gestures and movements so peculiar. I think if we forget it’s a good thing. Goes to show he’s that good 🙂 And I’m sure you’d love Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s an unexpected film to say the least. Enjoy!

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  2. Great post 🙂 I have to say that all of actor Doug Jones collaborations with director Guillermo del Toro ranks as my favorites of his work. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. No doubt the Pale Man is an extremely impressive monster and my favorite scene in Pan’s Labyrinth. I guess the Amphibian Man is the last Doug Jones movie I’ve seen, so he kind of stuck in my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s ridiculous fun. Not many people like it but I came out the cinema with the biggest smile on my face ever. It just hit my funny bone button. Hehe it’s definitely not for everyone. The world’s stupidest superheroes. Invisible Boy only goes invisible if no one’s looking! Blue Raja uses cutlery as he doesn’t want to hurt anyone “I didn’t expect to see you so SPOON!”. Then there’s the Spleen? well pull my finger. You get bad guys like Tony P from the Disco Boys and a supervillain called Casanova Frankenstein.
      I love it so much, seen it so many times. Yep I’ll get my hat lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Wow, that sounds right up my alley!! An Invisible Boy only invisible if no one’s looking? LOL!! Will have to check it out very soon. Might dedicate this weekend for it. Thanks for recommending 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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