When I went to the Oscars a few weeks ago I got a chance to talk to “Milk” costar and supporting actor nominee Josh Brolin on the red carpet for a few moments. I really had only one question for him and it had nothing to do with this year’s Academy Awards race: How are you feeling about “Jonah Hex“?
The movie star’s face lit up.
“I feel great about it. I feel better than I thought I would be feeling, you know. We got a director in now, Jimmy Hayward, he’s great, and [John] Malkovich is on board as the villain, and that’s amazing. So things are going spectacular, really. I’m glad to see it.”
He’s glad, of course, because earlier in the project “Hex” seemed to be living up to its snake-bit name. The adaptation of the gritty six-shooter tale from DC Comics was moving forward with co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (known best for their tandem work on “Crank“) and while their screenplay is still in play, Hayward (from the decidely non-gritty “Horton Hears a Who“) was brought in late last year to take over.
Brolin has at times sounded like he was approaching the Old West project as some sort of slumming lark or counterintuitive career experiment. He told MTV in November that the script was awful but added, oddly: “Maybe the thing to do is to do the most awful movie I can find.” Um, really?
No wonder Brolin was so emphatic (and irony-free) when I chatted with him on the carpet. Maybe it will be interesting to see which version of the Jonah Hex character ends up in this project. Borys Kit at the Hollywood Reporter had a story a few days ago saying that nubile “Transformers” star Megan Fox was in “final negotiations” to join the cast and Borys summed up the plot like this:
In “Hex,” being directed by Jimmy Hayward, Fox will play Leila, a gun-wielding beauty and love interest of Hex (Brolin), a scarred bounty hunter tracking a voodoo practitioner (Malkovich) who wants to raise an army of undead to liberate the South.
Well there you have it. I loved Jonah Hex comics when I was kid. Like DC’s “Weird War” comics, Hex intrigued me with its unnerving stories based in history-book settings. And he was just so damn ugly, too. That’s reason enough to root for Brolin to ride off into the sunset with this most unlikely of properties from the superhero-dominated DC library.
— Geoff Boucher
RECENT AND RELATED
CREDITS: Josh Brolin on the red carpet of the 2009 Oscars, photo by Chris Pizzello/Associated Press. Neil Gaiman photo by Jennifer S. Altman/For The Los Angeles Times. Artwork courtesy of DC Comics.