Sometimes movies let fans down. News can break that Hollywood is working on bringing a favorite character to the big screen and fans spend months, sometimes years, letting their anticipation grow and getting excited to see their heroes grace the hallowed halls of the Cineplex, only to be see something so vastly disappointing that it ruins their faith in the power of movies. Comic book readers know this feeling well, and in the annals of cinematic adaptations there’s one name that might stick out over all the rest: Jonah Hex.
That Jonah Hex was an unmitigated disaster has become something of lore to comic book and movie fans. The project starring Josh Brolin (Guardians of the Galaxy) serves as a sort of monument to the perils of studio interference, producers not understanding the source material, and dangerous rewrites. To call it flawed is to scratch the surface, and many disappointed fans of DC’s scarred anti-hero have lived their lives wondering just what might have been had the movie been done right the first time. While it does little to assuage the letdown they experienced, perhaps there’s a measure of solace in knowing that the star of Jonah Hex shares the fans’ feelings.
Brolin recently spoke to Comic Book Resources about the DVD release of his latest film, Hail, Caesar! In the interview, the actor expressed his pride in Jonah Hex and its potential, despite his acknowledgment of how it turned out. His comments were brief, but the actor got right to the point, saying:
“People say, ‘I like your résumé, I like what you’ve chosen.’ I always appreciate that. I would still do Jonah Hex again. I don’t like the way it turned out at all, but I do think that there’s a good movie there. I think my intention was right. You’re never going to be perfect, man. You just do your best.”
Brolin has been vocal about the failure of Jonah Hex in recent months. Back in February, he opined on the failure of the film, what went wrong, how he’d remake the movie if he had the opportunity. There, he said that he envisioned Jonah Hex being more along the lines of High Plains Drifter, the 1973 film starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. Then, he suggested he would be interested in remaking the film:
“Oh, Jonah Hex, hated it. Hated it. The experience of making it — that would have been a better movie based on what we did. As opposed to what ended up happening to it, which is going back and reshooting 66 pages in 12 days…I remember when I was talking to Warner Bros. about doing [Jonah Hex], High Plains Drifter is what I put on the TV, I said, ‘That’s what I wanna do.’ I would do that movie still. If I ever had the balls to spend $5 million, which I don’t, I would do that movie, ’cause that’s the version of that movie that would have been successful, for sure. And it didn’t need to cost anything more than $8-$10 million.”
While none of this means much to fans of the Jonah Hex character — after all, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the maimed gunslinger on the big screen anytime soon, especially after the character was recently introduced on The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow earlier this year — it is nice to know that Brolin still has passion for the character and wishes that fans had gotten the experience they deserve with Jonah Hex.
But who knows? Perhaps if Brolin keeps expressing his love of the character and his wish that things had turned out better someone at WB will give him the chance. Say what you will about the movie overall — and there’s definitely a lot to be said — Brolin was an inspired choice to play the deadly bounty hunter, and he absolutely deserves a second chance at the role. For now, though, Jonah Hex seems destined to be remembered as the failure it was, languishing forever in the halls of what could have been.