'Horton' helmer has 'Hex' next


Jimmy Hayward, who directed the animated "Horton Hears a Who!" will make his live-action debut with "Jonah Hex," a Warner Bros. Western based on the DC Comics character.

Josh Brolin is attached to star in the film, which previously had Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor ("Crank") on board as directors. The duo, who also wrote the script, bowed out over creative differences in November. The studio, which hopes to put the movie into production in March or April, went on a fast-track search, putting together a short list that included such names as Andy Fickman and McG before narrowing it down to Hayward.

The character of Hex, known for having the right side of his face disfigured and wearing a Confederate army uniform, was a rough-and-tumble gunslinger and part-time bounty hunter whose adventures always ended in blood. One incarnation of his comic book series saw the Western genre combined with supernatural elements, and it's this aspect that was featured in Neveldine and Taylor's script. The studio will likely keep the script, though it's expected that Hayward will put his stamp on it.

Andrew Lazar's Mad Chance and Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road are producing.

Hayward, repped by UTA and manager Jason Grode, began his career as an animator on the Canadian TV series "ReBoot" before becoming a member of the Pixar family, where he worked on such films as "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo." He also was involved in Fox and Blue Sky's animated film "Robots."

Hayward made his directorial debut with 2008's "Horton," which grossed $154.5 million at the domestic boxoffice.

Steven Zeitchik in New York contributed to this report.