“Sons of Anarchy” star Ron Perlman leads a long and successful career, but this week the actor is paying homage to his first movie. The 1981 prehistoric fantasy adventure film “Quest for Fire” follows early humans’ struggle for control over fire. The project helped launch a dependable career for the actor. On the 40th anniversary of its release, Perlman hopped on Instagram late Saturday night to pay his respects.
“My 1st movie… there would be 4 more with the amazing Jean Jacques Annaud. Happy Anniversary JJ…,” Perlman wrote.
The 71-year-old performer re-posted a “Happy Anniversary” caption that another page shared earlier in the evening. “One of the most unique takes on that era of history ever put on film and the film that gave us Ron Perlman,” the post reads. It’s a true masterpiece, an underrated gem that highlights the best of everyone involved and one of many that shows the range of Jean-Jacques Annaud.”
Perlman’s background in theater primed him for his big-screen debut. However, Perlman’s true “breakout role” came in 1987, when he starred opposite Linda Hamilton in a 1987 fantasy series adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Ron Perlman Has a History With Beastly Roles
Perlman certainly seems to have an affinity for roles than involve intense prosthetic makeup or characters that embody animal-like features. In a compilation of interviews collected by “Treasure Chambers,” the star chats about his experience working on “Quest for Fire” and how in-depth the process was.
The makeup that Perlman wore his role as a Neanderthal took several hours each morning to apply, requiring the process to start at 5:30am.
The makeup involved a new nose, jaw, and complicated dental prosthetics. However, Perlman says the meticulous process really added to the authenticity of the role and what humans looked like back then. “Audiences reacted to the hardship they saw on our faces,” Perlman recalls. “But imagine how the Ulams must have suffered 80,000 years ago. Our pain – and it was real, believe me – made the film that much more realistic.”
After the project was finished, Perlman was sure it was a turning point and that his life would completely change afterward.
The Actor Faced a Rude Awakening
“I projected that as a successful actor I would get the amount of attention I had always wanted; all the hip people would want to have lunch with me; I would no longer have any problems,” Perlman admitted in an interview. The actor shared that he also truly believed that with fame, ‘I would no longer have a terrible self-image.’”
However, he quickly learned that wasn’t the case. “There was no difference, no phone calls, no offers, people were not jumping through hoops to meet me. I had been set up and then none of the things they promised came true. I was destroyed.” Perlman says he was “drained,” and he withdrew from the acting world completely to become a limo driver.
“It was almost like an exorcism,” Ron explains. “I had been purged. It was like an incredible dividing line between my childhood and my adult life.”
Just a few years later Perlman would return to acting via his role in “Beauty and the Beast.”
The project won him a Golden Globe and a reliable fanbase, leading to the career he has today.