The first question most people have about “Jonah Hex” is, what the heck is it? After all, the cult comic character is a far cry from “Superman” and “Batman”. Probably the best way to explain the character would be something between “The Punisher” and “Batman” mixed with a little bit of Clint Eastwood.
Josh Brolin stars as the titular character, who is out for revenge after his arch enemy Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) murdered his wife and child right before his eyes. Turnbull then branded Hex’s face giving him that distinctive, half-melted face look. Hex is a loner to be sure and doesn’t have many friends outside of a whore named Lilah (Megan Fox) who he occasionally spends a relaxing evening with.
Brolin and Fox were on hand in Los Angeles this past weekend to talk about Jonah Hex, which shot last summer in the swamp regions of outer New Orleans.
As a comic character, Hex has had a history as unique as the character himself, with multiple artists and writers taking shots at the character over the years, leading to more than one theory of his origin as well as exactly how his powers (such as speaking to the dead) work. ” It was a survivalist comic book,” says Brolin. ” I loved the idea that it refused to die. It allowed us to take luxuries and do what we wanted to do. The core of the characters is there, but we go off on all these different tangents.”
” It’s nice to be able to springboard from a place that, even though it’s not real, it’s real for me,” adds Brolin. ” You look at the comic book and you say, ‘Okay, I have a sketch here.'”
” I feel like it’s impossible to really please the hardcore comic book fans,” says Fox. ” They’ll never be happy no matter what you do. I go on to Lord of the Rings forums, because I’m a fan, and they’ll complain that Frodo was eating the Lambis bread outside of Mordor instead of the mines of Moria, and they get really mad. But Peter Jackson and company won like, thirty-something Oscars for that movie! So you can’t focus completely on pleasing them, because you’ll never win, and then you’re excluding a whole other world of people who weren’t aware of the comic in the first place. I think you have to take some kind of liberties to make it into a live action film, or it wouldn’t work.”
When Brolin was approached for the part, he liked the story but had the expected reservations about the makeup. When we spoke to him on set last summer, he joked that he still wasn’t sure he made the right decision. ” We did three hours of makeup a day. [It was] a pain in the ass. I had a mouthpiece that held my mouth all the way back and that was attached to the back of my neck, and then we did three more layers on top of that, and then I walked around with half a mustache and half a beard in New Orleans for three months. So there was nothing attractive.”
Although Fox didn’t have to undergo any prosthetic applications, she did have to don a corset, which many women of the past have likened to torture. But Fox says she liked the tight squeeze. ” I loved the corset,” says Fox. ” When I showed up for camera tests, everyone thought I was in pain, or hurting, that something was wrong with me, because my waist was so small, but I enjoyed it, and I wish they’d come back into style.”
Even with two Transformers flicks under her belt, Megan Fox says Hex was a challenge. ” This was more action-heavy for me,” says Fox. ” It was more intricate, the action, in this movie, than in previous movies that I’ve done. It was really difficult for me to shoot the old-style gunslinger guns, because I have tiny little baby hands, and they’re really large and really heavy.”
” It’s a Beauty and the Beast thing, physically, cosmetically,” Brolin says of his character’s relationship with Lilah. ” I think the parallel and the kinetic connection is because they’re equally broken.”
Rumors of reshoots had many speculating on problems with Hex, but Brolin says that wasn’t the case. ” There’s a difference between reshoots and additional shoots,” explains Brolin. ” There’s always perception, like oh, is there a problem? First of all, who cares, because the end result is all that matters. When we saw the initial cut, we go, ‘Oh wow, there’s a lot more humor than we thought here, so maybe it’s not as dark and gritty throughout the whole thing.’ It was more about enhancing what already was. I think that we missed some things during additional shooting that we didn’t realize, because tonally, there’s no model for this.”
When Brolin is asked about his upcoming projects, one journalist asks if Woody is next. Brolin smiles, unable to resist a comeback. ” I’ve got a woody next. I’ve got chubby after that. And then I have a half-mast after that. (Laughs) And then after that, I’m just going to relax and be flaccid.”
After some laughs, Brolin does elaborate on his upcoming projects, even admitting that the rumors of him playing a young Tommy Lee Jones in a new Men in Black are true. ” I’ve got Woody’s movie that was in Cannes,” says Brolin. ” I’ve got Oliver’s movie, Wall Street, that was in Cannes. We got True Grit coming out Christmas. Men In Black, if it all works out, is going to happen. We just sold something to Warner Bros. that I’ll direct probably next year, and a couple of other projects that are really good that I can’t talk about.”