During this talk, Harbour said that a bunch of his friends tried to dissuade him from playing the title character after his casting caused a polarizing reaction from fans who loved the two Ron Perlman versions. Harbour said he respected fans' opinions, but that he thinks his darker version of the character (which he described as a unique take on the role) will still be enjoyed by fans who also liked Perlman's lighter-hearted portrayal. In doing so he made an obvious allusion to a version of Joker that was maligned by a large number of critics and moviegoers.
"I was approached by some very prominent nerds whom I know very well, and I respect their opinions because they're friends of mine, who were like, 'Dude, step away from the Hellboy. Step away,'" Harbour said. "I can like Michael Keaton's Batman and I can like Christian Bale's Batman. I can like Jack Nicholson's Joker and I can like Heath Ledger's Joker. There's other Jokers I don't have to like." Of course, the only other recent live-action Joker that comes to mind is Jared Leto's version from Suicide Squad. Mind you, Harbour was in that film.
From there, Harbour went on to explain that his Hellboy will be more like the character from the Dark Horse comics, but that's not a bad thing at all.
"[The comics] seem much more macabre to me, they seem much more melancholy, they seem much more primal, more struggle, more angst," he said. "And I felt like those other two movies were funnier and brighter and kind of sillier in a way, which was great for what it was. But I thought to approach this material in a different light and to do something completely different than what they had done."
"This was something that I couldn't pass up because I love those [Mike] Mignola comics. And the mythos we are in now, I feel like two strains are running. They are making these kind of popcorn-y, somewhat two-dimensional comic book movies and then there is this strain like Logan and Deadpool. That is what I am drawn to in the genre. I would love to do a Hellboy where you love him, but you're also not quite sure about him."
Harbour's Hellboy arrives in theaters on January 11, 2019.