Actor Doug Jones Plays 'Not My Job' On 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' Doug Jones starred as the sexy sea creature in The Shape of Water, so we've invited him to play a game called "Hey, check out the shape of this water!"
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Not My Job: We Quiz 'Shape Of Water' Star Doug Jones On Frozen Sculptures

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Not My Job: We Quiz 'Shape Of Water' Star Doug Jones On Frozen Sculptures

Not My Job: We Quiz 'Shape Of Water' Star Doug Jones On Frozen Sculptures

Not My Job: We Quiz 'Shape Of Water' Star Doug Jones On Frozen Sculptures

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/926938694/927430865" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Doug Jones poses at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2013 in New York City.
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Doug Jones starred as the sexy sea creature in The Shape of Water, so we've invited him to play a game called "Hey, check out the shape of this water!" Three questions about ice and snow sculptures.

Click the audio link above to find out how he does.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people who have done a lot finally get recognized and end up wishing they had remained anonymous. It's called Not My Job. Speaking of being recognized, actor Doug Jones is usually not despite playing the lead in a movie that won the Oscar for best picture. All of his roles involve lots of makeup. He was the sexy sea creature in "The Shape Of Water." He's played monsters, aliens and heroic creatures in many other movies, including "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Hellboy." He also plays Saru now on "Star Trek: Discovery," which starts its third season. We are delighted he joins us now. Doug Jones, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

DOUG JONES: All right. Hi, guys. Thank you for having me.

SAGAL: So you are, as we've said, an extremely famous movie star. But I'm assuming that when you go out in the street, nobody recognizes you, right?

JONES: Yes. I'm that actor who's been on the cover of a best Oscar-winning picture who can walk to Starbucks, and nobody knows who the hell I am. It's great. It's great.

SAGAL: Have you ever - does that ever bother you? 'Cause you're a very successful guy, and, sometimes, you'd like to be recognized. Do you ever, like, pop a dozen hard-boiled eggs into your mouth slowly just to let people know that that's you?

JONES: Right. And they're rotten, Hellboy, Hellboy.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: No, no. No, actually, I started as a mime back at Ball State University in Indiana. And being 6-foot-3 and 140 pounds and having a mime background, it's like, oh, the creature effects. People were just all over me the minute I got to LA.

MAEVE HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. We skipped a bit. Why out of all things did you decide to become a mime?

JONES: Oh, right. No one chooses that, do they?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, it seems like - I assume people were just...

PETER GROSZ: No, it chooses you.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I assume people were just born into, like, the mime cast.

JONES: Right?

SAGAL: And they had no choice.

JONES: No. At my dorm I lived in at Ball State, I was a freshman. And a senior is one who ran the mime troupe. The mime troupe was called Mime Over Matter. Get it?

EUGENE CORDERO: Whoa.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, my God.

JONES: And so he saw how I talk with my hands and how lanky I was. He said, you know, you should come see one of our shows and think about auditioning for our troupe. And that's how the mime thing started with me.

SAGAL: Wow. And did you...

GROSZ: The same way a drug dealer likes to get on the street, you know, and, like, ropes him in.

JONES: Exactly.

SAGAL: The first fake elevator is free.

JONES: (Laughter).

SAGAL: But were you that kind of mime? Were you out on the sidewalk doing, like, oh, there's a wind, there's a wall, that kind of stuff?

JONES: My first job out of college was working at Kings Island, a theme park in Cincinnati, Ohio. And I was a walkaround mime that did just what you just said. And nobody liked me. And I don't know why I took that job.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: But it's like I'm doing my art for a paycheck. Yeah, you know? You know, Cincinnati, Ohio, is kind of, like, on the cusp of Indiana, Kentucky. And so there's not a whole lot of people in that area that knew what a mine was. So it's like, oh, honey, look at the clown. Look at the clown. Why isn't he talking? I don't know.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

JONES: So it was like - it was sad.

SAGAL: I know this is a very weird question to ask you. But can you think of, like, the weirdest thing you were asked to play? And I say this to somebody who has literally played the Angel of Death.

JONES: Yeah, it's... (laughter).

SAGAL: And a sexy sea creature. So I know it's like...

JONES: Yeah, there's that. The leading man - the leading romantic male of a movie, and it's in a fish suit. That's an odd request.

SAGAL: Yes.

JONES: But I think a giant cockroachy bug thing. I did a movie, a horrible movie called "Bug Buster."

SAGAL: (Laughter).

JONES: And I had a huge fight scene with Randy Quaid. But I was a giant insect that was guarding my pile of eggs, and he was coming to kill us. So we had a big knockdown drag-out in a cave. He came in there with weapons.

SAGAL: Right.

JONES: Bullets didn't kill me. He - then he pulled out, like, a flamethrower. I don't burn. Then he pulled out a CO2 gun. I don't freeze. So he threw all of his weapons down and said, come on, man. You and me, mano y mano. So that's when it got weird, right?

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: It got weird.

JONES: We have a knockdown drag-out, choreographed fight around this cave, bouncing off walls and rolling around on the ground. And I got up from that. And I asked my handler - I said, can you go check on Randy? I didn't see him get up after that fight, that last take.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: So across to the cave, I hear, dark buddy (ph), can you hear me? Randy Quaid. Yeah. He said, do what you're doing. It's great. We can go again. I'm fine. You're doing great. The next voice that I heard was a young PA - a production assistant going, can I get some ice over here? I can't stop the bleeding.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: I did not want to be remembered as that young, lanky fellow who killed Randy Quaid.

SAGAL: Yes.

HIGGINS: My God.

SAGAL: As a bug, as the bug who killed Randy Quaid.

JONES: In a bug costume, yeah.

SAGAL: Right. And in "The Shape Of Water," you had a particular challenge because not only did you have to be otherworldly and alien but you had to be attractive.

JONES: Sexy. Yes, I did.

SAGAL: Yes. So how did you work that out, Doug?

JONES: Well, I will say this. They sculpted me a sexy-ass body.

SAGAL: They did.

JONES: I - my skinny bones slipped into this beautiful rubber muscle suit with a fine derriere. I mean, it was - in fact, every time I stepped - stood up and walked away from our set chairs, where we're - you know, where we rest between takes, if I was in a scene with Octavia Spencer, she would sit there and watch me walk away and just say one thing.

SAGAL: What?

JONES: Mmm.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: That's when you know they sculpted a fine ass. OK?

SAGAL: And did, like, the latex artist lean out and go, thank you? That was mine.

JONES: Exactly, right.

SAGAL: Well, Doug Jones, it is an absolute joy to talk to you - as much fun as it has been to watch you do stuff, which is really saying something.

JONES: Oh, you're very kind. Thank you.

SAGAL: But we have asked you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Hey, Check Out The Shape Of This Water.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So as we've discussed, you were the lead in "The Shape Of Water." So we thought we'd ask you about actual shaped water - that is ice and snow sculptures.

JONES: OK (laughter).

SAGAL: Answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly - you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of their choice on their voicemail. Bill, who is Doug Jones playing for?

KURTIS: Lane Owens of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to do this?

JONES: OK, Lane. I'm rooting for both of us here.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. Here's your first question. Now, one of the most notorious ice sculptures ever seen was the one commissioned by Dennis Kozlowski, the CEO who served eight years in prison for fraud and embezzlement because he spent company money on things like which of these - A, an ice sculpture of himself, which he kept in a $300,000 clear glass freezer for display; B, a full-scale ice sculpture of Michelangelo's "David," which dispensed cold water to party guests through, well, his natural spigot; or C, a thousand tiny handmade ice sculptures of individual bird species made for his evening cocktail?

JONES: I'm going to go with the A because that sounds more narcissistic.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's a very good idea. But what he really did was he commissioned the ice sculpture of Michelangelo's "David"...

(SOUNDBITE OF SAD TROMBONE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: ...Which dispensed vodka through his little...

JONES: Through his hee-haw.

SAGAL: Yeah, I have no idea. The question is - and there are photographs of this. But I don't know how the guests - what they had to do to the David to get it to dispense the vodka.

JONES: Oh, to get it...

HIGGINS: Oh, believe you me. It's not easy.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Here's your next question. The U.K.'s Channel 4 came under some criticism for its creative use of an ice sculpture. Why? A, Her Majesty did not appreciate being represented by a sculpture titled Ice Queen; B, after Boris Johnson refused to participate in a debate on climate change, they had a melting ice sculpture take his place; or C, to counterprogram a Theresa May speech in the BBC, they showed an ice sculpture of her for an hour with the caption - which seems more human?

JONES: Can I go with A again? 'Cause I do love Queen Elizabeth. And I wouldn't want to think of her as an ice queen, either.

SAGAL: You can go with A again.

CORDERO: But...

SAGAL: I mean, it's possible.

GROSZ: He seems to be dissuading.

HIGGINS: He seems to B dissuading.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: Or it could be the answer B.

SAGAL: Yes, it's B.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Very good.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: Yes. The...

JONES: Good instincts I had there.

SAGAL: Although the melting ice sculpture of the planet did hold its own in many fine points of debate. All right, last chance. If you get this, you win it. A local news reporter in California went viral when he knocked over the carving of the ice sculptor he was interviewing on live TV at the state fair. But there was another twist to the story. What was it - A, the reporter had faked the accident because he was bored of doing stupid human interest stories all the time; B, he was carried away by rage when he realized the ice sculpture was of his ex; or C, the ice sculptor was his childhood enemy, and he had planned this vengeance for decades.

JONES: OK. I'm going to go with A one more time.

SAGAL: And this time, it paid off, Doug.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Yes, that's true.

JONES: OK, good. OK, good, yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

HIGGINS: Yes.

SAGAL: It was an elaborate stunt. He didn't want to do the stories anymore, and it worked. Now he has his own news channel on YouTube.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: It worked out well.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Doug Jones do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He loved A so much, he turned out a winner.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: Congratulations. Yay.

JONES: Go, Lane.

SAGAL: I have a question for - it just occurred to me as we were talking about winning. So you played the lead in a best picture-winning film.

JONES: Yeah.

SAGAL: And when you jumped up on stage with the famous actors and the famous director, was everybody in the audience going, oh, who's that guy?

JONES: Mostly.

SAGAL: Is that somebody's boyfriend?

JONES: Although I had worked the red carpet outside ahead of time, and I was interviewed on E! and the whole nine yards. So, yeah, we did it all. We did it all.

SAGAL: That's great. Doug Jones is an actor. You can see him now as Commander Saru on "Star Trek: Discovery." Season three is streaming on CBS All Access Now. Doug Jones, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. What a joy to talk to you.

JONES: The joy has been mine. Thank you all so very much for having me.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALEXANDRE DESPLAT'S "THE SHAPE OF WATER")

SAGAL: In just a minute, we hit the high notes in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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