MICHAEL FASSBENDER on 'JONAH HEX'
Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for RadioFree.com
August 9, 2009
One of the films benefiting from Megan Fox's meteoric rise to the forefront of high-profile stardom is Jonah Hex, a stylized, Wild West-flavored action flick based on the DC Comics series of the same name. Josh Brolin stars as the titular gun-slinging anti-hero, while John Malkovich plays the film's central antagonist, Turnbull. Fox, meanwhile, brings the sauce as Hex's love interest Leila, a corset-rocking prostitute who can hold her own with the boys.
While promoting Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino's raucous take on World War II, actor Michael Fassbender also previewed his Jonah Hex role of Burke, whom he describes as Turnbull's "right-hand man." In this interview excerpt, he talks about collaborating with the crew to create Burke's image and working with Josh Brolin on their action sequences.
Inglourious Basterds opens August 21, while Jonah Hex is slated for a release date of June 18, 2010.
MEDIA: At the last San Diego Comic-Con, Josh Brolin said you were amazing in Jonah Hex. That's a pretty nice compliment...
MICHAEL: I know, I was very pleased. He [is] one of those special people within the industry that's just very supportive when they see somebody sort of coming new into the business. He was just a real joy. But I had met him at the Toronto Film Festival, almost this time last year, and we share the same agent. And we just hit it off immediately, and we said we definitely wanted to work together. And then Jonah Hex came about, and it was a blast. And John Malkovich as well...He's pretty amazing. And [director] Jimmy Hayward at the front of it, and, of course, Megan Fox.
What can we expect from your character, and how did you go about creating him?
I had this idea about the character...He's kind of psychotic--he gets his kicks in kind of perverted ways. But I didn't want to make it very obvious, like you'd seen it before. But I didn't know where to go with it. And then we were doing wardrobe, and [costume designer] Michael Wilkinson, who I worked with before on 300, was doing the wardrobe, and he's fantastic. And he had this three-piece suit pulled out for me, which actually was very green, and I'm playing this Irish guy, and I said, "Look, man, you've got to take the green down. I can't go back home to Ireland--they'll kill me." [laughs] So it was this sort of green, faded-down three-piece suit. And then I was going through hats, and I picked up a bowler hat. And I put on the bowler hat, and I was looking in the mirror, and I just thought, "Oh, this is like Clockwork Orange." So I thought I was going to go along that vein physically, and sort of take it from like "Clockwork Orange meets Frank Gorshin's [1960s] Riddler, with a Carrey accent." And then the guys at prosthetics and [makeup effects artist Christien Tinsley created] this sort of tattoo thing, which sort of goes all the way down to the torso and on my arms. So really, the people around you that are doing all these things kind of do the work for you as well, if you're just opened to it. So it became a really fun character, actually.
This film promises to have a lot of action. How involved were you with the stuntwork?
I try and do as much of that as they'll let me. Again, I do enjoy inhabiting that sort of physical world. And it's just good funny, really, just running around and jumping about the place. [laughs] So yeah, I did quite a bit of it. When we got together with the stunt guys, they were just fantastic. They watched both Josh and I [for our] fighting styles--they took us down to the dojo and saw exactly what way we moved and whatnot. So then from [that], they developed the fight between us, which was great. So it's like Jonah's this sort of slugger--you know, if he hits you once, you're in big trouble. And my guy's more sort of dancing around and working inside the pocket, and his weapon of choice is a knife. So it was really cool. They developed this fight and then brought us down there, and then we worked through it, and we did pretty much most of it.