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JONAH HEX

The Action of Jonah Hex
Of all the battles seen in the film, the most complex and elaborate took place on Turnbull's ship, where production utilized the largest number of extras in the production. Many of them were Civil War reenactors, who came with their own period-specific costumes and weapons for the fight between Turnbull's boat and a Yankee cutter.

"We used a lot stunt people to perform the falls and high risk stunts, but the reenactors did a lot of shooting because they came with their own period guns and know the drill,” says stunt coordinator and second unit director Steve Ritzi. "With so much mayhem, this scene required really careful choreography and a lot of collaboration with Tom Meyer's crew to ensure maximum safety.”

In addition to the sequences shot on location in Louisiana, some of the tight hallways and other spaces within the belly of the ship were shot at the USS Lane Victory, a ship docked in San Pedro. This is where Lilah engages in a cat and mouse stand-off with Turnbull's thugs. "Megan is accustomed to action through her work in the ‘Transformers' movies, so she was ready to take out five guys in a gunfight,” stunt coordinator Chris O'Hara offers. "On the ship, the hallways are really tight and we worked with her on how to move through them. She picked it up quickly and is very convincing in this tense stand-off between Lilah and Turnbull's men.”

O'Hara also worked with Brolin and Malkovich to bring bone-crunching realism to the stand-off between the two longtime enemies, Hex and Turnbull. "We tested this sequence with a team of stuntmen to make sure it could be done safely, considering how intense the fight is, and John and Josh came in and did it flawlessly. Having such intense actors as Brolin and Malkovich delivering lines as they're beating the hell out of each other was definitely the highlight of the experience.” Doc Cross's carnival tent was another site of a major action sequence. Built like a Western-style gladiator arena with a pit and raised bleachers above for the audience, the ring is the site of dog fights as well as fights between men. Although real dogs performed in the sequence, animatronic puppets were also used to ensure the animals weren't harmed.

This sequence features an arena fight with an incredibly nimble man who looks more like a creature than a human being. To fill this role, the filmmakers enlisted free runner, stuntman and extreme skateboarder William Spencer, whom Christien Tinsley made over as a feral subhuman killing machine. "William was able to do all these crazy moves wearing prosthetics,” describes Ritzi. "He did an amazing job playing this character where he was running across walls and flipping over Jonah. It helped make it a really visceral fight.”

But through all the action—both natural and unnatural—the cast and filmmakers sought to ground the story in the mythos of these original characters originating from the acclaimed graphic novels. From the shoot-out at Stunk Crick to the ring fight in Doc Cross's carnival tent, to the final confrontation on board Turnbull's ship, Hayward sought to merge gritty realism with a comic book sensibility.

"In the graphic novels, the whole Western mythology is a jumping off point that takes Jonah into deeper, stranger realms,” Hayward says. "Visually, we wanted the movie to take the audience on the same kind of journey.”

"We have full-tilt action sequences in this movie, but we also have quiet moments where you see Jonah with Lilah and get a window into his soul,” says Lazar. "I think that in non-sentimental ways, in the midst of this cocktail of action and revenge, this movie really brings out the heart of Jonah Hex. It may be dark and blackened, but it shows why this character has endured for so long and gained a fanbase. So, whether you're a fan of Westerns or even supernatural Westerns, we made a real conscious decision to try to bring a sense of excitement and a new wo

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