Doug Jones was inspired to start acting by Barney Fife
The awkward deputy was a welcome sight to an awkward kid.
Even if you don't recognize the name Doug Jones, you probably know Doug Jones. The tall, contortionist actor with mime training is famously known for his roles where he plays nonhuman characters in heavy prosthetics, especially in collaboration with director Guillermo del Toro. You may know him as Abe Sapien from Hellboy, The Faun and The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth, the Amphibian Man from The Shape of Water, undead ex-lover Billy Butcherson from Hocus Pocus, and most recently as Captain Saru from Star Trek: Discovery.
Jones' unique body is an asset to his dozens of screen credits. A long, lanky frame is a perfect canvas for extensive prosthetics and makeup because they can be added without making the character look unusually bulky.
However, that doesn't mean it was easy growing up as a tall, skinny kid with long limbs. Recently at Star Trek: Mission Chicago, Jones spoke about his experience as a child, saying that he was called "ostrich" by other children. Growing up in Indiana, Jones, who now stands at six-foot-three and 140 pounds, endured a lot of mocking from other kids.
At Jones' panel, an audience member asked if any specific actors inspired him to go into the business. Jones said yes, and revealed a surprising role model: Barney Fife!
As an awkward, lanky kid, Jones felt connected with the awkward, lanky Don Knotts when The Andy Griffith Show came on TV. If acting was where Don Knotts thrived, then that's where Doug Jones needed to be.
"Don Knotts was just a master and a king to me,” Jones has previously said. "He was not what you would consider a classically handsome man, so I figured if he could make it, so could I."