Your first choice to play a union soldier in a supernatural Western like Jonah Hex probably wouldn’t be Will Arnett. Naturally, then, when the announcement is made, it seems like a pretty neat idea.
Since THR says he’ll be “a Union soldier who enlists Hex and is blindsided
by the dirty fighting style of his enemies” chances are Arnett is playing Lieutenant Grass, a hardass who sets the plot in motion, then appears a few times later in the film. That’s definitely a straight role, but I can see Arnett making it work if he keeps his sneer in check.
Michael Shannon is also joining the cast, and based on the trade description (“the bizarre ringleader of a
brutal gladiator circus event”) he’s playing “Doc” Cross Williams. “Thin, wiry, white hair, pointy ears,” the script describes him. He only shows up a couple times, but the trade says the character is eyed as a potential carryover to another film if Hex performs.
I’m not sure what I think of the script so far — there’s a sort of ill-advised Once Upon A Time In The West nod right at the beginning (along the lines of “you brought two too many”) followed by what might be seen as either a Django or a Wild Bunch nod, depending on your frame of reference. But I’m not going to read too much, because I’d rather just see this cast in action. So don’t take that one little comment about a couple of references too seriously.