The Hollywood trades are reporting today that comedic journeyman Will Arnet and Oscar nominated creepy guy Michael Shannon have signed on to join Jonah Hex, the Jimmy Hayward directed comic adaptation about a scarred bounty hunter tracking a voodoo practitioner across the wild, wild west. As you may have heard, Josh Brolin is set to star as Jonah Hex, the film’s gunslinging hero, while John Malkovich will play the voodoo-loving bad guy who is trying to raise an army of undead in order to liberate the South.

Arnett will reportedly play a Union soldier who enlists the help thwart the plan, a role that is described as not being “inherently comic.” Whatever that is supposed to mean. I guess if the role doesn’t work, we can blame the fact that it isn’t “inherently comic,” thus pidgenhoeling Arnett as a comedy only guy. Shannon will play Doc Cross Williams, the bizarre ringleader of a brutal gladiator circus event, a character who has a recurring role in the Hex comic series, leading to speculation that he might be ripe for some sequel action, should it get that far.

As someone who’s never read a Hex book — sorry kids, I can’t read everything — I will admit that I was sold the minute I read ‘brutal gladiator circus’ and connected it to the Civil War era and Michael Shannon. That guy is mega-creepy — see his performances in Revolutionary Road and Bug for evidence — and he’s a perfect fit to run a psycho circus. As for Arnett, we’ll see. Though it is great to see him branching off and taking on roles that aren’t “inherently comic.”

Jonah Hex is currently set for an August 6, 2010 release. It will also star Megan Fox.

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