COWBOYS & ALIENS EXCLUSIVE: Orci and Kurtzman Talk Working with Craig, Ford and Favreau
In this exclusive interview, Cowboys & Aliens screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman discuss the nature of working with actors Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, as well as director Jon Favreau on the film.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Your early drafts were written with Robert Downey, Jr. in mind, weren’t they?
ROBERTO ORCI: We wrote a draft of it with a voice that we thought might fit him, with him in mind, and then we realized it wasn't exactly right for the tone of the movie. A Western is often times about what you don't say and about sparseness and succinctness, and the events, so in finding the tone, our first draft was too jokey, and then our second was too serious, but with each successive draft, it became closer and closer to what it needed to be.
ALEX KURTZMAN: When the cast started coming together, it ended up dictating a lot of tone as well, because when you have Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and Sam Rockwell, and Olivia Wilde and Paul Dano, and everyone in this incredible cast, it starts to tell you a little bit about what the movie sounds like. We spent a good month with everyone in rehearsals, just re-writing and re-writing and getting it to a pitch that everyone agreed on.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Once actors like that sign on, they become very hands on with their characters, don’t they?
ROBERTO ORCI: For sure. I think everyone's enthusiasm across the board was really great. And then what I think happens in when you have Harrison and Daniel, AKA Indiana Jones and James Bond, it starts to really set up a series of expectations: what is it going to be like when those two amazing stars collide into each other? That determined a lot of what we did in the scene work, too.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: You guys were in place before director Jon Favreau was. What do you think he brings to the project?
ROBERTO ORCI: He would tell you himself that he is the tone police. The tone of the movie is basically the whole ball game, and he is great at tone. You can even see that with the Iron Man movies. When people weren't sure what they were going to be, he blends the needs of the comic with the needs of the general audience with the needs of fans. Here you have two tones that have to mix, you have the Western and the sci-fi, so he is really about making sure that we're not going out of the lane and into the gutter with whatever we’re doing, and keeping it as realistic without losing the fun as possible. He's great with actors, being an actor himself. I think part of the reason we got the amazing cast that we did was because they felt comfortable that John understood the leap of faith they were taking with a title like this, and that they were going to be protected and he was going to know how to communicate with them.
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