June 18, 2010
On the Big Board
||I'd like to thank the producers for having the decency at least to keep the movie short. What an atrocity.
||By the end it looked like the editor just threw the film into a blender. Huge wasted opportunity.
One of the greatest trends in filmmaking of the recent years has been comic book adaptations. And why not, when 2008 saw the five adaptations gross $1.32 billion domestically alone. Studios are falling all over themselves to wrap up the rights to comic properties. As a byproduct of Hollywood’s speculation relatively minor (to the average movie patron, I dare not cross a comic book geek’s plastic lightsaber over an argument of who is major versus minor) characters are getting a silver screen treatment. If an obscure supporting hero from a 1970s book (Blade, from Tomb of Dracula) can manage $400 million worldwide over three modestly budgeted entries, there does not appear to be a ceiling for success.
Warner Bros is betting on Jonah Hex to be the latest of a string of comic book movie blockbusters. Hex was created for the '70s DC saga All-Star Western. The character’s popularity skyrocketed and took over the series, eventually gaining its own title in the '80s. Hex has a couple of different origin stories, but in all the comics he is a former officer in the confederate army who offers his skills after the war as a bounty hunter. His trademark is the terribly disfigured right side of the face.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor were originally tapped to both write and direct the feature. The team’s claim to fame was the modest hit Crank and its underperforming sequel, Crank: High Voltage. Their tongue-in-cheek writing and gritty visual flair might have been a good marriage for Hex, but before production began they were canned, errr, they quit due to creative differences. In a move that came out of right field, Warner Bros hired Jimmy Hayward, an animator for Pixar, to replace the duo. Hayward has a worked on some of the most successful animated movies of all time, including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. The former Pixar standout offered Horton Hears a Who! as his directorial debut and appears to have great promise, but Hayward has zero experience working on a live action picture. Nevertheless, he has received high praise early from the cast.
My oh my, Josh Brolin has come a long way from his days in The Goonies. After taking on journeyman acting gigs in the '90s through the mid aught, Brolin finally got his break in Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. He brilliantly played the heel in American Gangster and Milk and jumped at the opportunity to portray a sitting president in Oliver Stone’s W. He will get the chance to play the titular Hex, but not without reservation. Brolin was reported to have walked away from the picture, expressing his disgust with both the directing team and the script. After Neveldine and Taylor were dropped, Brolin came back to the project, expressing that Hex’s script was so awful that it might be fun to give it a go. After firmly committing, he talked his good friend John Malkovich into coming onboard as villain plantation owner Quentin Turnbull. The hottest thing on two legs, Megan Fox, has also signed on to play a potential prostitute love interest for Hex. Her presence has dominated early marketing efforts, but recent comments seem to indicate her role might be a mere cameo. If only all movies had a few minutes of Ms. Fox sporting a tight old west showgirl costume. (Brian Pew/BOP)