When the star of”Hellboy, ” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Drive” was asked if he ever felt underrated as an actor, either on stage or screen, he replied to GQ, “Just the opposite. I feel completely overrated every moment of the day. I still marvel at the fact that people actually hire me. I try to act as if I belong there, but I really don’t see myself as underrated. I’m not being facetious or overly humble, but I really think of myself as a really, overly lucky guy. I should have been counted out of this fight many rounds ago.”
But Perlman, with one of the most distinctive faces and voices in show business, is not being counted out yet, not with hints at “Hellboy 3” and his memoir, “Easy Street, ” released.
Perlman grew up in a working class Jewish family in Washington Heights. His father was a jazz musician who, when he say his son in a high school production of “Guys and Dolls, ” told him, “You have to do this.” Perlman thought, “Wow, so he gave me permission to be an actor.”
He got his start on the stage in the East Village Off-Broadway scene. “Film wasn’t something that entered the picture until a decade afterwards. Once it entered the picture, it was so seductive, there was almost no going back.”
Perlman brings to his roles very personal feelings about his appearance, “The feelings I had about my physicality were self-inflicted. I knew there were people who looked a whole lot weirder than I do, but I felt there was a monstrousness that was a part of my physicality.” He admits bringing those feelings to the role of Charles Larton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
A peak experience in Perlman’s career was working with Marlon Brando in “The Island of Dr. Moreau, ” of which he says, “It doesn’t get any better than that. But he was only great selectively. He was only great when he decided to turn it on. He had a very strange relationship with the notion of being an actor.”
One of his favorite roles has been a judge having a mental breakdown in “Hand of God, ” and adds, “It is an amazing opportunity to explore parts of humanity I’ve never got a chance to play before.”