DC is experiencing a bit of a renaissance as of late with their live action output. On television, they have Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham, and Supergirl. On top of that, the DCEU is headed towards direct competition with the MCU as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits movie screens just a few short weeks before Captain America: Civil War ushers in Marvel’s Phase 3. With so much going on, and even more looming on the horizon, now is a great time to be a fan of DC.
That’s the hope, anyway. DC has an interesting history with translating their properties to TV and movie screens. For every The Dark Knight it seems there are two or three films that continue to instill skepticism in the minds of fans. While there’s no shortage of lackluster adaptations to choose from, there is, perhaps, one that stands among the crowd: the 2010 Josh Brolin vehicle, Jonah Hex. As disappointing as that movie was to just about everyone who saw it, no one was more upset than Brolin himself.
In a recent interview with The Nerdist (via Indiewire), while promoting his latest film, Hail, Caesar!, Brolin opened up about his experience with Jonah Hex. In the talk, the actor recalls the problematic journey from page to screen and how he would approach the movie given a second chance.
"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 and that being… Listen, I understand it's financiers, you’re trying to save their money and it becomes a financial thing, but if — there’s this thing called revenge trading. And I’m disciplined enough to know you never do it."
The revelation of reshoots goes a long way in explaining how Jonah Hex wound up the way it did. That’s rarely a good sign for the quality of any movie, but it definitely showed in the finished product. The version of the movie audiences were left with becomes even more disheartening after Brolin describes his vision for the movie.
"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."
An updated comic-book universe take on Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter is certainly more in line with the spirit of the Jonah Hex character. Still, even if Brolin did put his money where his mouth is, he’d likely be unable to resurrect Jonah Hex on the big screen, thanks to the character's upcoming inclusion on an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, where Hex is set to be played by Johnathon Schaech (Quantico). Still, Jonah Hex is only scheduled for one appearance in the series, and it’s possible that fans will have a renewed interest in the scarred gunslinger after the episode airs. Perhaps the time is right for Brolin and for Jonah to get another chance to shine.
Whatever your thoughts on the movie were, Brolin still feels like an inspired choice to play the character, and it’s a shame he didn’t get the chance to shine. At the very least, maybe the actor can be convinced to do a more straightforward remake of High Plains Drifter. It wouldn’t be Jonah Hex, but it still might be cool.