Exclusive: Johnathon Schaech on bringing Jonah Hex back to Legends of Tomorrow

It's a week full of big news for The CW’s hit series, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The network just announced it's ordered four more episodes to up this season's total to 17 installments. We've also learned that in January, the show will move from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights to be paired with the network's top-rated series, The Flash.

On top of that, one of the most popular guest-stars in the show's short history is back: Jonah Hex!

In tonight's new episode, titled “Outlaw Country,” the team returns to the Old West to prevent the Time Trouble Of The Week and find their old pal Hex in a bit of a bind. Turns out Hex’s old enemy Quentin Turnbull is trying to take over the Western territory. Clearly, our heroes can’t let that happen, so they team up again with Hex to put an end to it.

I think we can all agree that Jonah Hex’s appearance was one of the highlights of Legends’ first season.  Watching the iconic DC Comics gunslinger on the small screen went a long way toward washing away the stench from the hysterically bad Jonah Hex film. 

Much of that credit should go to Johnathon Schaech, who was an instant hit with fans as the scar-faced Hex. He was so well received that the Powers That Be in the Arrowverse made sure Hex would return in Season 2.

Blastr was able to spend a few minutes on the phone with Schaech, who called in from location in Bulgaria, where’s he’s currently filming a movie. 

We talked about a wide range of things, including returning to the role, getting to work with his friend Jeff Fahey again (Fahey is playing Turnbull), and how Hex will react to seeing Sara now in charge of the Legends and the news of Rip Hunter’s disappearance.

The first time we see Jonah Hex in the trailer for this new episode, his neck is in a noose. Why is he about to be hanged?

 

It’s because my arch-enemy Turnbull  thinks he’s gotten me and is finally going to put me out of my misery … for like the 25th time. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

How quickly did you fall back into the character of Jonah Hex once they put the scarred-face makeup on you?

I kind of found the voice for him from being in the makeup. You can’t really move … you can’t really articulate very well with it. But I have to make sure you hear the lines. A part of me wanted to mumble through the entire performance, kind of like Benicio Del Toro (laughs). When you put that makeup on, that hat on, there’s a certain sensibility, a humor to him. Man, this is like my Pirates of the Caribbean role. I have a chance to have a lot of fun with it.

The fans reacted so positively to Jonah’s appearance in last season’s episode, “The Magnificent Seven.” I don’t think anyone is surprised that they brought you back, because it seemed like such a no-brainer. Why do you enjoy playing this  character so much?

I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun playing another character as I’ve had with Jonah. There’s enough characterization that I get to play around with … and I kind of know him, i understand where he comes from. You know, I grew up reading the Hex comic books. He reminds me of the way my father is. Being a man’s man, being gruff. Being good, but…taking care of business when it needs taking care of, standing up for people when they can’t stand up for themselves. And not really caring about algebra or physics, you know, and caring about real things (laughs).

 Out of all the Legends, it seems to me Mick and Jonah would actually get along the best in the Old West. 

I agree! (laughs)

How does Jonah react to finding out Rip Hunter is gone and Sara is now leading the team?

First off, when he hears about Rip, there’s something there. I think he realizes, Rip’s his friend. He doesn’t try and go off after him. He just kind of goes, ‘yep. uh huh.’ In other words, wherever he went, I’m sure I’ll see him again. That’s basically his relationship with Rip.

And when he has to take orders from a woman, it’s kind of like, its not natural for him. It’s not ok at first. You have to remember, in his time period, a man was a man, and a woman was a woman. They didn’t have … liberties. He’s not bad to women. But taking those commands, it’s a really hard thing for him to do. If it wasn’t the White Canary, and she wasn’t played by Caity Lotz, I don’t think he would have done it.”

When did you learn your old pal Jeff Fahey was going to be playing Quentin Turnbull?

Jeff and I did a film called Texas Rising way back when, and we spent six months in Texas riding horses together. (laughs) so we’re like, ‘God man, give us a horse!’ It was great to … when I looked down on the call sheet and saw his name, I couldn’t believe it. It was awesome. I love Jeff.”

Can we expect a good amount of Old West action? Do you get to show off your cowboy skills?

There is a showdown. I have a lot of fun with the cowboy stuff. I keep going back to being a cowboy, but Jonah’s the fastest gun … ever. There’s no one faster so I got to do a lot of fun stuff. But I didn’t get to ride a horse as much as I would have liked to. I’m pretty damn good on a horse because of all the movies I’ve done. I’ve been trained to ride horses in five different countries, if you can believe that. Five different ways!

And they wouldn’t let you ride a horse this time? Why not?

There was no scenes that really required it. [This show] isn’t easy. I got up at 3:30am on a monday and finished the week at 5am on Saturday, so …it’s a quick turnaround, doing the makeup, travel … the other guys got to ride horses, but Jonah never got to ride a horse! But let me tell you, I can ride any horse. (laughs)

We talked to some members of the cast and they all said — especially Brandon Routh — the weather while filming last season's Old West episode was terrible. How were conditions this time?

The conditions were so much better. [Last year], we had flooding, literally. No joke. The town was about to disappear because the water kept rising. That’s what was going on. We were in mud…the cars, the water was up to the doors. I’m telling you man, it was crazy! You’d come out of your trailer in your costume and you’d look and say, ‘that river looks like its flooding. Why isn’t anyone freaking out?’ This time, it was so much easier.

Given that the CW has cut deals with other actors to be regular guest-stars, has there been any discussion with you about a deal to make Jonah Hex a regular visitor across the Arrowverse? 

The thing about Jonah is he actually could fit anywhere. He was actually … he went to Gotham and he fought Batman so I could see him fighting the Arrow. I’m sure he’d like to punch him in the head.

In the comics, he actually went into the future himself and was bounty hunting in the future. He took off the confederate uniform and and just became Hex. But yeah, he could definitely jump onboard and go along anywhere. As long as he’s up against someone who’s worse than he is, then he has no problem. 

Just to confirm, you’re only officially confirmed for this one episode appearance this season?

That’s all I know. I’ve been away here in Bulgaria filming for a long time, so I haven’t even talked with my reps. Marc (Guggenheim) and I have exchanged niceties about the episodes by email. I don’t know what’s going on. I know online there’s a #TeamHex hashtag that’s going around …I’m working with Antonio Banderas right now. If I can convince him to put on the mask again, we can have Team Hex and Team Zorro (laughs).

DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs tonight at 8pm on The CW.

Are you excited for Jonah Hex’s return? Sound off in the comments!

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