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When David Harbour faced his first big action movie flop, he called someone who knows a thing or two about blockbuster failures: Ryan Reynolds.
In 2019, Harbour tried to make the leap from streaming genre star to blockbuster movie genre star with Hellboy, director Neil Marshall's rebooted take on Mike Mignola's beloved big red monster hunter. Harbour seemed like a great fit for Hellboy's working class style, but while the movie came in with a lot of ambition and spirit, audiences simply didn't turn out with any enthusiasm. The film was a critical letdown and failed to earn back its budget at the box office.
Harbour, whose work on the Netflix hit Stranger Things helped propel him to the leading role in Hellboy, went on to admit that the film had major issues, and even noted that enthusiasm for Guillermo del Toro's own unfinished Hellboy movie trilogy meant the film had an uphill battle against popular opinion from the start. Still, even with an understanding of what happened, Harbour took the failure hard. Speaking to GQ this week to promote the long-awaited fourth season of Stranger Things, the actor explained how it felt when he realized Hellboy was dead on arrival.
“It was a very difficult experience because I wanted a lot out of it. I really like [Mike Mignola, Hellboy creator], I like that character,” he said. “And then immediately when it began, even when it was announced, I realized that people did not want that character reinvented. I was very naive and optimistic about what we were going to do.”
The week Hellboy was released back in 2019, facing down the impending disappointment of the film, Harbour called Reynolds, whose experiences with big-budget flops includes films like RIPD and, of course, Green Lantern.
“I know him a little bit. I called him and I was like, 'Hey man, I just need to know something. You know Green Lantern? Huge flop for you. What the f--- is that like, because I think I’m going to hit that right now. Am I gonna be okay? Am I gonna survive this?'”
According to Harbour, Reynolds was very "sweet" about talking him through his disappointment, and the actor eventually landed on his feet. Not long after Hellboy, he joined the MCU as Red Guardian in Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow solo film, and of course the continued triumph of Stranger Things means he remains a fan-favorite genre actor. Still, it's nice to know that if Harbour or any other actor is facing a big comic book movie bomb, Reynolds is out there, ready to talk them down and remind them that for every Green Lantern, there's a Deadpool.