Cowboys and Aliens Director on Casting Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and Getting Advice from Spielberg
07.29.10 by Ryan
Jon Favreau is used to turning comic books into successful movies, but Cowboys and Aliens presents a unique challenge. Based on the graphic novel created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Cowboys and Aliens is a blending of both the Western and Sci-fi genres, and, to do them both justice, Favreau told IGN, it's important to give each genre respect. "If you're going to do a mashup of genres," said Favreau. "I think you have to play the genre down the middle." Favreau also said it helps to cast the movie correctly and have Steven Spielberg as your executive producer.
Daniel Craig inherited his role of Zeke Jackson from the departing Robert Downey Jr., who had already left the project by the time Favreau signed on. Favreau says that Craig epitomized the character for him, which he described as "straight-ahead."
As a matter of fact, there was something about the idea of Daniel Craig that was very evocative to me as I looked at him, even though you'd never think of him as a cowboy, as a Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven. There's something wonderfully compelling about him.
Unlike Craig, Favreau says that Harrison Ford joined the project because he "had always wanted to do a western." Favreau compared his presence in the movie to that of John Wayne.
with Harrison Ford there's a certain version of Harrison in his performances that is so captivating to me. [T]here's an authenticity to him. You don't know if he's a bastard or a hero. But there's a charm that he has that makes it forgivable.
Favreau admitted that the hardest part of working with Ford was not being "preoccupied with the fact that I'm sitting with Harrison Ford." He could also turn to Spielberg for help, even if was for advice on how to shoot a particular scene.
Then to have Spielberg as executive producer, I could actually turn to the guy and say, "How did you shoot this? How did you do it when you only had practical rigs, what did you do?" Then he's like, "Well, you have better rigs now, but this is what we tried to do." It's great to have a guy like him to ask questions and bounce scripts off of, alien designs, that type of stuff.