Paul T. Taylor is the latest individual that will be donning the lead cenobite’s gear in the upcoming Hellraiser film. I know…. I know… I thought the same thing at first. No one can possibly live up to Doug Bradley’s iconic performance that shaped the role so perfectly. Let’s hold back for a minute and give this guy a chance. He is incredibly passionate about the role and the franchise! He is a horror fan at heart and in this interview, you will see why he might just pull it off!
Pophorror: Approaching this role, what did you hope to bring to the character that hasn’t been done before?
Paul T. Taylor: I wanted Pinhead to have a certain level of vulnerability that hadn’t been seen before. Not too much, of course, but the script actually called for it. He has a moment of bravado that results in an incredibly disturbing development in Pinhead’s existence… an acceptance with a tinge of boredom.
Pophorror: It is incredibly exciting knowing that this was an authentic Hellraiser script. Can you give us insight as to how this movie explores Hell differently than Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 did?
Paul T. Taylor: Yes, it is exciting! I’m very happy with Gary J. Tunnicliffe’s script, which came from his Clive Barker-lovin’ heart. The only thing I want to say about the different way it explores Hell is that it looks behind the scenes at the creatures and mechanisms that process the souls after they have been sucked into the void that is Leviathan.
Pophorror: In the original series, Pinhead was always portrayed as this emotionless shell with no mercy. Would you say that your Pinhead is more – or less – malicious than the original? Does he show more emotion behind his sadistic acts?
Paul T. Taylor: Well, I’ve already answered that question to a certain extent with #1. But I would say he is just as delighted with his sadistic acts as ever…. And that delight leads to mischief for him.
Pophorror: What preparation did you do to become Pinhead?
Paul T. Taylor: I spent a lot of time alone in my darkened house in South Oak Cliff in Dallas and walking around the neighborhood, which is a pretty brave thing to do at night around here. I had no fear though. I was Pinhead and nobody could fuck with me. I also sat on my front porch and smoked (not a habit I kept, btw) and said the lines over and over and over and over until they felt second nature to me. I fortunately had a lot of time to prepare before shooting. I’ve done a lot of theater in my career, spending weeks and weeks rehearsing. With Hellraiser: Judgement (and all films), rehearsals are very limited. I felt myself changing daily, developing a Pinhead armor.
Pophorror: How does the film tie in to the rest of the Hellraiser universe?
Paul T. Taylor: We have Pinhead and Chatterer and the Lament Configuration (Puzzlebox), of course. A lot of this movie is creating and exploring another plane in which these things exist. It’s directly related to everything that has come before it, but it’s only relation to some of the other Hellraiser films is the presence of Pinhead. It’s still about the processing of souls in preparation of an eternity of suffering.
Pophorror: What was your favorite part of filming this movie?
Paul T. Taylor: Just being Pinhead. Anytime I was working on a scene was my favorite. The process of filmmaking is all about everything that leads to what happens between “Action” and “Cut.” It’s magical. Playing an icon brings with it a great amount of responsibility. Knowing I was up to the challenge gave me the confidence to relax and enjoy tearing souls apart.
Pophorror: What was the most difficult aspect of taking on this role?
Paul T. Taylor: The pressure that came with the character as created and developed by Doug Bradley and Clive Barker. People love Bradley in the role and I put a lot of pressure on myself to create a Pinhead that paid homage to what had come before and at the same time to make it my own, honoring the original description of Pinhead in Barkers’ The Hellbound Heart.
Pophorror: Was there anything surprising about taking on this role that you didn’t foresee?
Paul T. Taylor: Having a nicotine overdose on set! I attempted to do one of Pinhead’s lines with smoke coming out of my mouth. I had temporarily taken up smoking, not only to make my voice lower and more gravelly, but also so that I could do the smoky line. I tried so many times I OD’d on nicotine and had to leave the set for 20 minutes. I haven’t picked up a cigarette since that day! But seriously, I wasn’t surprised by anything except, as a friend texted me, my “instant cult status.” I’ve been in show business for 35 years and suddenly I’m experiencing fame at a certain level. It’s weird and wonderful.
Pophorror: What do you want the audience to know about the film before going to see it?
Paul T. Taylor: It’s a true Hellraiser film, written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, who is a true Hellraiser fan and someone who has been involved with the franchise since Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth. I am also a true Hellraiser fan, who has had all of the action figures since they came out in the early ’90s. I’m not just some actor who got a part in a horror film – I am a horror fanatic!
Pophorror: What is one exclusive insight about this movie, or your character, that you can share with us?
Paul T. Taylor: There’s a puppy involved.
Pophorror: Ooh! Intriguing! When can we look forward to seeing this film for ourselves?
Paul T. Taylor: I wish I knew! When I know, you’ll know!
One thing is for sure, I have never been more excited for a Hellraiser sequel since Bloodline! To know that this was birthed and nurtured from the minds of true horror and Hellraiser fans makes me incredibly optimistic at how all of this will turn out. Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth is one of my favorite entries. So, if Gary J. Tunnicliffe is a part of it, than I am all in! What do you guys think of this Hellraiser news? Let us know in the comments below and keep your eyes out for the latest updates here at Pophorror!