Even for someone who has done dozens of set visits at this point, the chance to visit a Western shooting on location is a rare thing.
I know a filmmaker who is a big fan of Westerns. You could argue that most of his movies are Westerns, only disguised as other things. I asked him one time why he didn't just make a Western finally, especially with the movie star he frequently works with, since that would be... you know... awesome.
"The horses. I hate the horses."
The thing about shooting a Western is that you make a commitment. If you're going to do it right, you have to really go for it. You have to build the world as carefully as you would a sci-fi film or a fantasy film... you have to consider your work as something with texture... and my favorite Westerns are the ones that feel lived in... worn. Leone did amazing work in that regard, and that's one of the reasons I sort of revere him. I think he understood how much dirt and distress affected the reality of a Western, and what a balance it is. He pushed it just enough to make it mythic, more so each time he made a movie. When he started, I think his style was a result of budget. In the end, the budget was the result of his style. And that's because it got more pronounced. Leone made the commitment. He knew what he wanted to create.
Jonah Hex is a character who has been around in one form or another since the early '70s, and basically, he's the Man With No Face. He's the archetypical Western hero, and he happens to have a crazy scar that covers half of the available real estate above his neck. He's taken on many forms and been reinvented several times over his life span as a DC Comics mainstay. His most recent successful run, helmed by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, was obviously on the mind of Jimmy Hayward when we arrived on-set.
You know how I know? Because he told us. Emphatically.