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Comic Writer Jim Palmiotti-Jonah Hex

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Comic Writer Jim Palmiotti-Jonah Hex Empty Comic Writer Jim Palmiotti-Jonah Hex

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:08 pm

EXCLUSIVE : Jimmy Palmiotti Interview

February 15, 2010 by 48:65:78
Jimmy Palmiotti

Brooklyn based writer of the Jonah Hex comic and various other comics Jimmy Palmiotti was kind enough to take a break from his comic creation schedule to give an interview with us :

Have you been involved in the making of the Jonah Hex movie – If so in what way and how were you approached for your contribution?

The producer Andy Lazar is an old friend that helped Joe Quesada and I sell a character we created called ASH to DreamWorks years ago.

When he got the go ahead to do the Jonah Hex film, we spoke and he asked me if Justin Gray and I would be interested in reading the script and maybe give our opinion. Andy and the guys all told us that the new comic series really got the ball rolling to put Jonah on film and that alone is pretty cool in my book.

The director, Jimmy Heyward , also spoke to us a few times and we gave him whatever information on Hex he needed. Jimmy wanted to know everything and his passion for this project shows in each and every frame. Having both of these guys involved really gave us a good feeling about the movie. In the end, all we really contributed was a solid amount of work they can pull from.

What do you think of the casting for the Jonah Hex movie?

Josh Brolin is actually dream casting in my eyes. When they first mentioned Josh for the part I was in shock because I couldn’t believe how dead on a choice it was. Honest, when I saw the first make up shots of Josh in costume I was so excited…and then on the set visit to see him with the long coat and on the horse…well, it was like the character leapt out of the book and became real.

Past the visuals, Josh is a brilliant actor. When we met, he told us he read the comics and was super excited to have this part and the feeling was mutual. I do have to add that he is also one of the nicest people I have met and has this energy about him that is contagious. So yeah…I am happy as hell.

Having Turnbull played by John Malkovich was another stroke of genius in my eyes…again, another one of the finest actors in the business and a real character as well. When we spoke on set, John came across as a gentle, smart and well read actor…and when the cameras were rolling, he became this angry bloodthirsty maniac right before our eyes. Yeah…I totally think he was a perfect choice.

The rest of the cast really speaks for itself…Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Michael Shannon, Aidan Quinn, Will Arnett, Julia Jones…even David Patrick Kelly…one of my favorite bad guys from the warriors [ I know, my age is showing] is in this movie.

I got to meet and speak to Megan at comic-con this past year and she is just plain awesome.

Jonah Hex is a comic that you have been working on for some years and have written many books for. When you first learned that it was possible that they would be making a movie out of Jonah Hex, were you protective of the character?

Well, I was very happy to hear about the movie and wanted to help in any way possible. Of course we were protective, but in the end, we had the comic to worry about and no matter how the film is or does, we still have to come out with a top quality book each and every month. Once the casting and director were announced, Justin and I both relaxed.

Is there a story line from the comic you would have liked to have made it into the movie that wasn’t used?

Well, the obvious one for us was to bring the Tallulah Black character into the film somewhere, but if there is a second film, it makes sense on a number of levels to do it there.

As far as the overall story, there are a lot of touches taken from the comics and in the art direction alone, they actually reference the books a whole lot.

We write the book monthly, so there are many stories to tell…what the film does is introduce who Jonah is to people and then goes at a lightning pace to tell a kick ass heavy metal western tale.

Some strange things have been written about things that may be in the Jonah Hex movie; I’m of course referring to the rumors of voodoo, zombie armies, robot horses and other such oddities. Do you think the origins of this are just bad research and did it amuse you?

Where that came from was maybe an old script from the 80’s that made the rounds and died. The zombie army stuff couldn’t be more wrong and all the rumors of all the supernatural elements have become tall tales.

There are some elements of the fantastic surrounding the legend and legacy of the character, but most of the action and story is rooted firmly in its own reality. And yeah…it did amuse me till people started thinking it was a cowboy vs zombie movie…which it so isn’t.

When you first started writing Jonah Hex did you seek any advice (on content or style for example) from John Albano or Michael Fleisher?

Yes I did, in the printed work they did. Everything I wanted to know about the character was right there in the books us to read. I never met either of them though. Before this, I was just like everybody else…a huge fan of their work.

Jonah Hex is something of an anti-hero character with a complicated past, his story has explored darker themes and horror elements and Hex himself doesn’t have any special powers as such. Is that a type of character you are more interested in working on, as opposed to super-hero type characters?

I love all genres of storytelling and like westerns, superheroes to me are another genre. I prefer to tell stories that are rooted in the real world, but I really also enjoy fantasy, history and science fiction as well. The great thing about writing is that you can explore all these genres and enjoy them all for different reasons.

I wouldn’t want to ever only write westerns, or only do superhero comics. Right now I work on a western, a female superhero [ Powergirl] a world war 2 action adventure [ time bomb] and a horror book [ Splatterman] . I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Having taken many roles in the comic creation process (inker, writer, artist) do you have a favorite? Do you feel you are expressing a different part of yourself in each role or does it come from the same vein?

Hands down, writing is the job I was made for, but on the road to becoming a writer I have done just about every single element of the comic creating business. With writing, I can apply my drawing skills to the visuals I am creating…I can see the finished page and apply it to my script and in doing that, it makes it easier to collaborate with an artist…

But yeah, writing and creating new characters is what I live for. I have always been a storyteller. It may have to do with growing up in Brooklyn , being surrounded by so many cool and interesting people.

You’ve also worked on some computer games, was that something of a different challenge and is it something you would like to do more of?

I like playing video games…and writing them is a challenge for sure, but one I would love to keep doing. Video games are involved and can take years to make and you work with a group of people creating them. They are really collaboration on every level and they really have opened a lot of doors for me…things like Justin and I getting to write the Deadspace animated movie would have never come our way without the experience behind us.

We really were hoping to create a Jonah Hex game, but the timing was off…and there seemed to be no interest. If the movie does well and there is a second film, that might all change.

Which of your other works would you most like to see be made into a movie?

I would like to see a PAINKILLER JANE feature finally as well as a book we did called THE MONOLITH for DC Comics. BACK TO BROOKLYN is another one that with the right people behind it, it could be huge.

Other than those, the current work like SPLATTERMAN and Powergirl are both really film friendly.

Honestly, every single Character I have created would be a cool movie in the right hands…so it’s all good.

Here in France, comic books are perennially popular and quite mainstream with an audience across all generations. Obviously there have been a number of comic-based Hollywood movies in recent years, do you think comics in the U.S. are thriving or is it becoming more of a niche interest?

I think they have become a genre, like science fiction and westerns and so on. I think there will be a ton of them made for the next few years…then a break…and a ton more. It’s a genre that is here to stay.

Following on from that, interest in the Jonah Hex comics looks likely to increase in the coming months, I should imagine that is something you welcome as a good thing? Do you see it changing the way you view the character or the way you write the comic?

Nothing changes in the comic…the movie was made because the comic worked so well. The best we are hoping for is that dc can sell the rights to print the book in many languages and the books become more popular. We would welcome a wider audience.

Your wife is a comic artist as well, aside from projects you officially collaborate on do you work together on ideas for your comics or is there a separation?

Most of the ideas I have eventually get talked about with her and she always has some constructive notes and ideas and I welcome them.

Amanda is one of the finest artists in the business and people are now starting to really appreciate her work and I couldn’t be happier. After Powergirl, we plan on doing some creator owned books together.

You’ve been around the comic industry for quite some time now and comics are obviously an art form that pre-dates a lot of modern technology and tools that we have available to us now. Digital art is something that has grown immensely in the last decade or so and while web-comics are certainly a whole other form to comic books, digital coloring is becoming more popular for comics too. Has your working or creative process been influenced by these changes over the years and do you make use of digital techniques?

When we were hired to form the Marvel Knights label at marvel, we brought in digital coloring and scanning into the company. Phil Noto, one of my favorite artists, did most of the BEAUTIFUL KILLER and NEW WEST series digitally and so on.

I am one to embrace technology on every level and things like the iPad coming out next month, will start to make the comics I own available in that format as well.

For me telling the story is most important…the tools to get them to the reader will always change and that’s fine.

You seem to be someone who enjoys frequently attending comic conventions and meeting with your fans. Do you see that as something of a professional obligation or are they events that you want to attend as someone who loves comics?

I attend the cons to meet the fans, get feedback and celebrate the art form. I hope one day to be a guest at Angouleme and lucca . I have done the Barcelona con and it was an amazing experience.

For me, it is important to get to know the audience of my work and as well exciting to meet different people. I have a blog at that I interact with the fans at and a facebook fan page where I also answer questions. It’s the fun part of my job.

Lastly, speaking of conventions; what is the strangest thing you have ever been asked at a convention?

Well, there are a few: sign a baby’s foot, sign a bowling ball, sign a hot dog…then there were a few sexual things asked by a couple of female fans…oh…and on more than one occasion, I was asked to sign woman’s breasts. Who am I to refuse?

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:30 pm

Being Jonah Hex: Palmiotti & Gray Visit Hex Set

by Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer | More from this Author |
CBR News
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Category: TV/Film

Posted: 12 hours ago

Hex-perts Palmiotti and Gray discuss their set visit with CBR

While Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray didn't create Jonah Hex, the writing team has been sauntering side by side (by side) with the riotous wrangler for nearly five years telling the tales of DC Comics' Western anti-hero in the pages of his own monthly ongoing series.

So when the opportunity presented itself to visit the set of the upcoming "Jonah Hex" movie during its production in Louisiana, Palmiotti and Gray couldn't say, "No."

No doubt armed with "Jonah Hex" trade paperbacks, the two were welcomed by the cast and crew with open arms, and while there were major differences and subtle nuances to both the character and his world transitioning from the comic to the movie, Palmiotti and Gray were quite pleased with what they saw and now know for sure that the movie will only raise the awareness of the entire franchise and, thanks to endless commercials being shown during the NHL and NBA playoffs, make Jonah Hex a household name.

Directed by Jimmy Hayward ("Horton Hears a Who!"), Jonah Hex is played by Josh Brolin ("No Country for Old Men"). The Warner Bros. movie is steeped in supernatural elements – a theme Palmiotti and Gray rarely explore in the ongoing series. Megan Fox ("Transformers"), who plays a new character introduced to the mythos named Leila, works in a brothel and is Hex's only connection to the real world. Hex's arch-nemesis, played by John Malkovich ("Burn After Reading"), is also walking the line between living and dead in the movie version and is gathering an army that he plans to use to unleash Hell on Hex and whoever else stands in his way.

CBR spoke with Palmiotti and Justin Gray about the time they spent in Louisiana and discussed Hayward's vision, Brolin's performance and what the movie means to the future success of the "Jonah Hex" ongoing series from DC Comics.

First off, after living and breathing Jonah Hex's Wild West for the past five years, was it a surreal experience stepping onto the set in Louisiana?

Jimmy Palmiotti: It sure was – exciting, surreal and a whole lot of fun.

:Jonah Hex" opens this Friday, June 18

Justin Gray: It is always fun being on a film set, interacting with the crew, actors and director, but seeing Josh as Jonah was amazing and like Jimmy said, very surreal.

Who arranged for you to visit the set?

Palmiotti: Andy Lazar set it up. He is a producer on the film as well as an old friend. He originally helped sell "Ash" to Dreamworks for me back in 1996. As soon as Andy got the go ahead on the film, we met up and offered our help in any way they might have needed it.

Were the cast and crew aware of you and your work on "Jonah Hex?" Had anybody on set been reading your ongoing series?

Palmiotti: When we got to the set, they knew we were coming and were pretty excited because they had done their research. As well, a chunk of the crew was talking to us about the Tallulah Black character, so we knew we were among readers. The art director had a folder with art from our books and they were matching some of the art to the set design, which was all pretty cool.

Gray: Oh yeah, they were well versed in our run, and extremely complimentary. In fact, a number of people were asking if we had the latest issue with us so they could read it.

While you're no doubt sworn to secrecy on many specific plot points, what can you share about the major differences between your work and depiction of Hex and what they're doing with the movie?

Palmiotti: You get the major differences right away in the trailer. The movie Hex talks to the dead, has surreal weapons and is a bigger and broader make up of the comic character.

Gray: When you're looking at making a wide release feature film, you have to appeal to as many people as possible and as I've said many times before a western is a hard sell regardless of the medium. With the monthly book we write, [readers get] a mash-up of straight western with spaghetti and grindhouse, stories that have a pulp nature, but are firmly rooted in the realism of the old west. I really think the way the film is shot and the differences will appeal to a young audience, and that's what makes sense in terms of marketing.

If you can share, what specific scenes did you see filmed?

Palmiotti: We saw a grave robbing scene and a main scene with Turnbull, Jonah and his family – a lot of fire, swearing and the scene where Turnbull brands Jonah's face. It was all pretty cool and all shot in a bug and critter-infested swamp.

Gray: The branding scene was awesome because we were watching Josh and John work out the way the wanted to play it, very emotional and visceral to the point where Josh decided to start spitting on the other actors as part of the scene, and I don't think anyone knew he was going to do it. For anyone that's never been on a set, one of my favorite aspects is watching the actors – how they work with the performance. It is amazing.

Can you describe the look and feel of the movie based on what you felt while visiting the set?

Palmiotti: It's a heavy metal, over the top action western.

Gray: I really think Jimmy [Hayward] was going for an action-driven spaghetti western that embraces the core emotional elements of who Hex is. Granted, the film alters some of the core mythology, and that might not sit well with all fans of the comic, but believe me, fans should be rooting for the film to do well because it will help ensure they get their monthly Hex fix.

From what you saw and heard, do you think Akiva Goldsman et al. have a good feel for scripting Hex and the others?

Palmiotti: Akiva added some dialogue that made some real sense to us, so in my eyes, he can do no wrong.

Gray: When you're talking about dialogue in a film, 80 percent rests in the hands of the actors' ability to deliver the lines with emotion, authenticity and power. From what I've seen, there's a strong cadence and rhythm to it.

From the trailers and your own reports, the film evidently combines supernatural elements with traditional Western storytelling tropes. Is that something you think was necessary to separate the film from other Westerns and is it something that you would consider including into the mythos you're constantly expanding each month in the ongoing series?

Palmiotti: We have visited a few times the supernatural elements of Jonah's world. Taking it much further in the film comes down to how they are going to sell an almost unknown property to the regular summer movie goers. Making it a straight western might have been death in the box office, and I understand that on some level. As far as making the film elements part of the book, well, we don't own the character, so if [DCU Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio said tomorrow Jonah has to start talking to the dead from now on, we would deal with it how we saw fit.

Gray: In my opinion, it always goes back to your target audience and what you think is going to put asses in the seats. Westerns as a genre have been saddled with a certain perception, and that's not always going to grab the attention of a young audience. You're not going to get a big theater draw if you're looking at the sweeping epic of a "Lonesome Dove." I seriously doubt that "Unforgiven" would have had the impact it did without Clint Eastwood, because he has been synonymous with Westerns for forty years. That film was Clint putting his western life behind him, and no one has been able to fill that void. I think the only expectation this film has is to deliver an enjoyable summer action movie and on that level I have faith it can succeed.

A friend of yours, Thomas Jane, was actively pursuing the role of Hex, but Warner Bros. eventually landed on Josh Brolin? You mentioned him earlier, but what did you think of his performance?

Palmiotti: Thomas would have been amazing. I think he is a fantastic actor and really gets the character and showed how much he loved it by trying to get the part. I am happy to say he got to record Jonah's voice for the animated short.

As far as Josh, we got to see him act his ass off and he is just brilliant in the part: funny, mean and insane looking. Everything we were looking for in an actor. No matter how the film plays, what we saw is amazing. Josh nailed it out of the gate.

Gray: When Josh asked us what we thought of him in the role, I said, after seeing "No Country for Old Men," how could they not cast him? Everything that you need to portray Hex is there on screen: the stoic confidence, the cunning, the bravery and a tragic element that Josh delivered with such style and power.

What about John Malkovich as Quentin Turnbull?

Palmiotti: I am a fan of John ,and I think he is good in just about everything he is involved in.Tthis is another memorable character for him to add to the resume. Off camera, he is friendly, quirky and personable.

Gray: I love John's work. The funny thing is that he can effectively deliver an astounding dramatic performance and he can deliver a wonderful campy performance that might be more difficult. "Con Air" is a wonderfully bad movie, but I'll watch it every time it is on because it somehow transcends its flaws and John is hysterical as Cyrus the Virus. Hopefully his Turnbull is somewhere between the two.

Megan Fox's performance is already being panned, and the film isn't even out yet. Do you think this is a backlash from her pulling out of "Transformers 3," or does she have what it takes to be a femme fatale in a big budget comic adaptation?

Palmiotti: Transformers backlash? Is there such a thing? Let's be honest, who really cares who the girl is in "Transformers 3?" I think almost any beautiful person in the entertainment business has the public pick on them at one point or another. I also think it's just stupid to pan anything you haven't seen yet, but of all of Megan's roles, this one is her biggest to date as far as screen time and playing with the big boys. I met her at Comic-Con [International], she was super nice to me, we spoke about the role and that was it. I personally don't care how beautiful she is, all I care about is how she will be in that part -- a very important part, I might add, in the big picture of things. I am not in the school of basing my like or dislike of a person based on what others say, so yeah, I think not only will she be good in this movie, but she has the chops and is still growing as an actor. I would hire her to play a character of mine any day.

Gray: I think whenever you have someone skyrocket into the public eye, even though she has been working for a while, there is going to be a contingent of people who are vocal in their opposition, jealousy or whatever. I think Megan gets a bad rap, and honestly, if she's willing to stand up for herself and take a director to task, that's not my problem or my business. I actually haven't heard anything about her performance, but then again I'm too busy with my own life to worry about gossip and slander.

Finally, and we talked about this over on CBR a few weeks back, but what does this movie mean to the overall Hex franchise, and specifically your ongoing series?

Palmiotti: That's really simple. The movie raises public awareness of the character, got us to write an original graphic novel and get it in bookstores, got a lot of foreign markets to take a good look at the comic and start translating them in different country,s and if the movie does well, it looks like not only will there be a sequel, but we might have the chance to pick the numbers up some and be around for a few more years without the cloud of cancellation hanging over us. If the movie doesn't do well, it's business as usual for us, and again, more people know who Jonah is. It never hurts.

Gray: We just want to keep delivering enjoyable and thought-provoking Jonah Hex stories, and the movie is a big step in that direction. I like everyone involved in the film, Warners and DC have been amazing to us and to work with. Non-superhero based comic book movies need the industry's support just as much as those great heroes we've all grown up with. DC Entertainment is doing some amazing things to bring their characters into the public light where they belong because they're our pop culture. The better those films and TV shows featuring your favorite DC characters do the better it is for comics. So get your butts to the theaters on June 18.

"Jonah Hex" comes to theaters across North America on June 18.

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:23 am

Wes Bentley, Jimmy Hayward Jonah Hex Interviews
Sunday June 20, 2010

Director Jimmy Hayward makes his live-action feature film directorial debut with Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender, John Malkovich, and Megan Fox. Wes Bentley (Ghost Rider, American Beauty) co-stars in the sci-fi Western action film about a disfigured bounty hunter who can talk to the dead and whose mission is to kill the man who murdered his wife and children.

On the red carpet in Hollywood for the film's premiere, Hayward told me he wasn't sure what to expect from making the jump to live actors from animated characters. "You really don't know what it's going to be so it was a great learning experience, like directing my first huge animated film was a learning experience," explained Hayward. "It all is, you know? It's all just stories and movies." Check out the rest of my interview with Hayward as well as what Wes Bentley had to say about facing off against Malkovich:

* Jimmy Hayward on Jonah Hex, Josh Brolin, and an R-rated cut
* Wes Bentley talks Jonah Hex and working with John Malkovich

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