Josh Brolin Owes Everyone An Apology For His Superhero Flop

Josh Brolin feels he owes an apology to his Jonah Hex co-stars for getting them involved.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

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Jonah Hex

There are very few people who have positive feelings about Jonah Hex, the 2010 DC Comics western superhero film that made an embarrassing $11 million worldwide and a dismal 12 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Josh Brolin, who played the titular Jonah Hex, shares those feelings. And according to an interview with Variety, he feels bad for pulling in all the big-name stars he did into it. 

In the interview, which came out ahead of Josh Brolin earning a Vision Award at the Sun Valley Film Festival, he talks about several of the big names he had join Jonah Hex. He says he still owes Transformers actress Megan FoxX-Men: First Class actor Michael Fassbender, and Being John Malkovich star John Malkovich, for getting them involved in such an incoherent mess. 

“And not that I had a ton of pull then, but I brought in Megan [Fox,] who I thought was perfect for that role. Maybe not the best actress at that moment, but for that type of parody, forget it. Her, at that moment? You couldn’t do better than that,” Brolin said. “And [Michael] Fassbender? One of our best actors, who had done Shame and Hunger, are you kidding me? Malkovich, who had just been ripped off by Bernie Madoff, and we’re asking him to do it for a third of his price. He said yes. I mean, f*ck, I still owe these people.”

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Jonah Hex

The movie features future Avengers: Infinity War star Josh Brolin as a former Confederate soldier, Jonah Hex, who killed the son of his commanding officer after disobeying an order to burn down a hospital. The officer, in turn, killed Hex’s family, scarred Hex with a branding iron, and then left him for dead. Hex was found by the Native American Crow people, and healed in a way that allows him to speak with the dead.

According to Josh Brolin, the film’s troubles started when a Warner Bros. executive told Brolin that he had two weeks to find a director for Jonah Hex, He eventually settled on Jimmy Hayward, whose only previous directorial credit was the 2008 animated film Horton Hears a Who. Hayward only directed one more feature film after Jonah Hex — another animated movie, Free Birds, which did much better at the box office (taking in $110 million against a $55 million budget) but still was widely lambasted by critics. 

Josh Brolin says he doesn’t want to completely blame Hayward for the failure of Jonah Hex, since some of the blame is on himself — for choosing Hayward. 

There was also the issue of executive meddling, which Josh Brolin claims played a big part in how badly Jonah Hex turned out. Brolin said that the studio tried to make Jonah Hex as accessible as possible, and ended up making it completely inaccessible.

The few people who saw the film got to Hex travel the south, seeking revenge on his commanding officer. Chances are that they, like Josh Brolin and 88% of the nation’s critics, also hated the film, since it was given a poor 20% Rotten Tomatoes user score and a low C+ Cinemascore.

Critics said that, despite Josh Brolin’s great performance, the movie was unfocused, tonally dissonant, and in many ways cliche. The best thing most critics had to say about the film was that it only went on for 1 hour and 21 minutes.

Despite his first step into the superhero genre being a complete failure, Josh Brolin would move on from Jonah Hex to become a huge force in Marvel films. Most famously, he played Thanos across multiple phases of the MCU, before finally being defeated at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Brolin also played Cable in Deadpool 2, before the Deadpool films got pulled into the MCU.