These days it’s fairly common for movies to feature unrated editions on DVD. Jonah Hex would certainly qualify for one, as its director Jimmy Hayward edited the film to achieve a ‘PG-13’ rating. The comic book Western stars Josh Brolin as a burned avenging hero, and Hayward thinks he’ll restore his cuts for the home video release.
“We had an ‘R’-rated movie that we had to trim down,” Hayward says. “It’s a very fine line between what makes it there. We made the decision to go ‘PG-13’ quite a long time ago, well before we started shooting, and we all agreed that was the way to go. So we just had to nip and tuck some stuff.”
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has specific requests for what they’ll classify as ‘PG-13’ violence.
“You know the MPAA is, ‘Can you have him punch him three times instead of five times?’ Stuff like that,” Hayward says. “There certainly is a version of the movie that has a lot more violence in it, but we never had a lot of blood or anything like that. Just more people died, and there was more punching and beatings.”
Even his star, Brolin, agrees with the cuts made for the theatrical release. He’ll be happy to see Warner Home Video’s DVD and Blu-ray version though.
“I think it belongs on a DVD,” Brolin says. “This movie, when you watch it — at least when I do — you expect it to be gratuitous, and it’s not. I think that’s much more interesting than if it were like the Grindhouse kind of thing where it’s just out there.”
The film runs a lean 82 minutes, including titles and credits, so there is certainly room to expand the story in a longer cut. However, Hayward intends to make only slight adjustments for an alternate version.
“Not super long, not really,” Hayward says. “All those scenes expand and have more violence and stuff like that. There’s definitely deleted scenes that we’re going to put out for sure.”
Somehow I'm not buying this "rah rah rah" about the DVD version. In the interviews the question came up about if they were shooting an R or a PG-13 and the responses were "we're just shooting a great film and we'll let the rating fall where it falls" type things. Now Hayward is saying they were aiming for a PG-13.
I call BS on that. Also Brolin's quote "it belongs on a DVD." is mysterious. Does he means it was straight to DVD quality? It should be on DVD like every other film ever made? I'm convinced now that actors and folks associated with film have this jargon that they toss out no matter what the question is, probably because they get the same questions over and over and over.
I'm sure I'll buy the DVD because I DID like the film but it doesn't sound like we'll ever get to see all the footage that was shot. Ah, well. At least I still have a monthly title to read.