Doug Jones (born May 24, 1960) is an American former contortionist and a film/TV actor best known to science fiction, fantasy, and horror fans for his various roles playing non-human characters, often in heavy makeup, in films and television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy and its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pans Labyrinth and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Jones was from Indianapolis, Indiana. After attending Bishop Chatard High School, he attended Ball State University, from which he graduated in 1982.
Although known mostly for his work under prosthetic make-up, such as the zombie Billy Butcherson in the Halloween film Hocus Pocus (1993), or the lead Spy Morlock in the 2002 remake of the 1960 film The Time Machine, he has also performed without prosthetics in such films as Batman Returns, Mystery Men and Adaptation, and indie projects such as Stefan Haves’ Stalled, AntiKaiser Productions’ Three Lives, Phil Donlon’s A Series of Small Things and as Cesare in David Fisher’s 2005 remake of the 1920 silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Jones really came to prominence when he performed as Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of the Mike Mignola graphic novel, Hellboy (2004), although the voice was performed by an uncredited David Hyde Pierce. Explaining the challenge of working so often in rubber suits and prosthetics, he notes, “I have to make that a part of my being and my physicality and again, acting is a full body experience and that’s a part of it when you’re doing a costumed character.”
In 2005, he renewed his association with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, starring as the Faun in del Toro’s multi-Oscar-winning Spanish language fantasy/horror project El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth). He also has a secondary role in the film as ‘The Pale Man’, a gruesome creature with a penchant for eating children. Working once more under heavy prosthetics in both roles, he was also required to learn large amounts of dialogue in Spanish, though his voice was ultimately re-dubbed.
The year also brought success for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the film receiving three awards at the Screamfest Horror Festival in Los Angeles, including the Audience Choice Award. In 2006 Jones appeared in the feature films The Benchwarmers and Lady in the Water, and reprised his role as Abe Sapien by voicing the character in the new Hellboy Animated television project, recording two 75-minute animated films.
In June 2007 Jones appeared in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the Silver Surfer (though Laurence Fishburne portrayed the character’s voice). He was the best thing about the movie. He also reprised his role as Abe Sapien in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, once again under the direction of Guillermo del Toro, for which he played both the voice and body performance. He also played two other roles in the film: the Angel of Death and The Chamberlain, both under heavy prosthetics. In 2009, del Toro announced on BBC Radio that Jones would be playing the monster in his upcoming version of Frankenstein… we’re still waiting.
In 2010, he appeared in the French-language film Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque), written and directed by French comic-book author Joann Sfar and produced by Universal Europe. Jones played La Gueule, the grotesque fantasy muse that teases, guides and accompanies Gainsbourg throughout his life. He was once more working under prosthetics designed and created by the Oscar-winning Spanish FX shop DDT Efectos Especiales, with whom he worked on Pan’s Labyrinth. He also featured in Legion as the creepy ice cream truck demon.
Recent roles include a role in Absentia, award-winning 2011 horror film written and directed by Mike Flanagan. The film follows two sisters who begin to link a series of mysterious disappearances to an ominous tunnel near their house. He will soon be seen in John Dies at the End, an upcoming American dark comedy horror film written and directed by Don Coscarelli, based upon the novel of the same name.