Hellraiser Star Shares The Process Of Getting Into Pinhead’s Skin

Hellraiser star Jamie Clayton describes how Pinhead’s iconic look helped her get into character. The upcoming film, directed by David Bruckner, is a reboot of the original 1987 horror classic of the same name. Based on The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, Hellraiser tells the story of a group of supernatural beings from another dimension called “cenobites” who are summoned to Earth by a mysterious puzzle box.

The Hellraiser remake promises a bold new direction by casting a female actor as Pinhead, a traditionally male role. The decision was mainly fueled by Bruckner’s desire to pay homage to the fearless and transgressive nature of the original Hellraiser. Pinhead, the Priest of the cenobites, was unnamed in the original novella. The nickname, which was later revealed to be hated by Barker, was adopted by the crew inspired by the character’s signature appearance.

In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Jamie Clayton reveals how impressed she was by the costume design and special effects created for her Pinhead role. She also describes how donning Bruckner’s version of the Pinhead costume and makeup helped her get into character. The actor explains:

Wild, from start to finish. The second that I saw the drawings by Keith Thompson, who did all of the drawings and who David’s worked with before, I was completely floored. I had no idea how they were going to execute that. And then the Russells at Russell FX, Josh and Sierra, are incredible in the way that they executed the whole thing.

Once I’d have the makeup on and the whole thing, it was a double-edged sword getting there mentally and then also getting there physically. The suit and the neck and the fit, it all helps me get there physically. But David and I had many conversations about the Priest’s intentions, and what she might be thinking or feeling in any of these different scenes with these different characters. We talked about them a lot, so I was able to sort of mentally prepare on the day, as going in through makeup.

Then once the neckpiece goes on, I’m kind of in it. From the minute that I step out of the makeup trailer, I’m really in it for the duration of shooting. I’m just very quiet, and I isolate myself. I really only would talk to David while I was shooting, and then to Sierra in a corner.

Why Hellraiser’s Cenobite Priest Is A Challenge To Play

Clayton’s getup in the new Hellraiser pays homage to the original design of the character, with blackened eyes, gray complexion and a bald head covered in needles. However, new elements and details add a modern twist that have received praise from Doug Bradley himself, who portrayed Pinhead in the Hellraiser franchise’s first seven installments. He voiced his approval specifically for the added neck piece, calling it “sexy” and “disturbing.” Indeed, the character’s signature design expresses the dark and tormented relationship between pleasure and pain explored in the film, an approach the Hellraiser reboot seems to have grasped and emphasized. That the design helped Clayton get into character only cements its impressiveness.

While Clayton’s performance in the Hellraiser reboot is already making waves, the look is vital in bringing the character back to life. It’s no surprise the costume was essential for the actor’s process in accessing the dark places required for the role. Not only did Clayton prepare extensively to play Hellraiser‘s Pinhead, she had to undergo quite the physical transformation. Between the makeup required for the part and the darker character work needed for the performance, this is a villain who poses quite the challenge to anyone who steps into the role. Luckily, it seems that Clayton was more than up to the task for the new Hellraiser. The character’s updated physical appearance simultaneously connects viewers with Bradley’s famous portrayal while also allowing Clayton to carve her own path as she introduces Pinhead to a whole new generation.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments