Friday, December 3, 2010

Jon Favreau Talks Cowboys & Aliens (Plus Trailer Preview & Poster)

Daniel Craig in Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens is already generating enough buzz to make it one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2011. Last week, the buzz started to increase over the impending release of the film’s trailer. Folks have been speculating about which movie (or movies) the trailer would appear with, and when it would be available online.

We were fortunate enough to be among the few to get a sneak-peak at the Cowboys And Aliens trailer in an edit bay visit with director Jon Favreau last week, and can assure fans that they will not be disappointed when it becomes available online this coming Wednesday.

In addition to an advance look at the trailer, we were also given the opportunity to view very early, work-in-progress footage from the film and will be bringing you a full report on our edit bay visit in the coming weeks.

What we are able to report now is that the trailer that you will see on Wednesday is highly reflective of the extended footage we’ve seen from the film. There is always the danger of misleading a film’s audience with an deceptive marketing campaign. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Cowboys & Aliens.

Favreau himself reflects “what I like about it as a filmmaker, is that it feels like they are selling the same movie that we’re making.” He goes on to say that this trailer encapsulates “the tone of the first act of the movie, and as we get deeper, and as more trailers come out – more will be revealed.”

Keep an eye out here on Screen Rant as we continue to bring you the latest about the film.

In addition to Wednesday’s trailer countdown clock and film experience page, the first Cowboys & Aliens teaser poster debuted on Yahoo this morning and we have it for you below.

Take a look at the official teaser poster below:

First official Cowboys and Aliens teaser poster

Poster source: Yahoo! Movies.

Here is the official synopsis for the film:

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (Daniel Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky.  Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.

Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation.  As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force.  With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents—townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors—all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

As film-goers, we have become comfortable, and used to “genre-bending” films; in fact, the tricks and tropes of genre-bending (or blending) have become so familiar and shorthand, that filmmakers now must essentially bend the bending in order to surprise audiences.

In his 2001 essay on The French Connection, writer Todd Berliner explains that, “genre-bending films rely on viewers’ habitual responses to generic codes, misleading audiences into expecting conventional outcomes.” In other words, genre-bending films typically set viewers up for the expected, only to then twist the tropes, “creating a more unsettling experience than the genre traditionally provides.”

Audiences have become sophisticated enough that most genre-films are now self-reflexive in some way, or ways.

Harrison Ford (star of Cowboys and Aliens)

In casting Harrison Ford, Favreau is tipping his hat (metaphorically) at fans; and said hat tip plays into the tone of the film. He likens the casting choice to that of a classic Western star, explaining that “when John Wayne stepped onto the screen, he brought his entire body of work with him, and you have to acknowledge that. You can go with expectation or against expectation…”. However, both filmmaker and audience are well aware that a wealth of history comes with the casting choice – a lesson Favreau learned while working with Robert Downey Jr., on Iron Man.

A wealth of history is also intrinsically present in any genre film; that element of the past is heightened in a film that blends genres, as Cowboys & Aliens does. Self-reflexive, and genre-blending it may be, and yet, from what we have seen, Cowboys & Aliens feels like a film that honors its predecessors far more than many films that attempt to genre-blend, or bend, do.

Wild, Wild West This is not.

A scene from Wild Wild West

Continue to more about the Cowboys & Aliens experience…

jon favreau cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens presented an opportunity for Jon Favreau to do something he had longed to do; direct a classic Western, in a time when audience appetites are geared towards sci-fi and fantasy films in general, and alien-invasion films specifically.

Cowboys & Aliens does not “go for the easy joke” that many filmmakers would have been tempted to go for with this particular brand of genre mash-up, however.“You can work in humor” Favreau explains (and we assure you that the humor will be present), but “in the way that the old Westerns did; a little bit here, a character actor there – but really at its core, like the John Ford films, which were unflinching in what the main characters are up against.”

Cowboys & Aliens emphasizes character, and as such, the actors “all played it straight.” The film does not “back-off of the Western genre”, and as Favreau says “young it up”, in a way that degrades the particular beauty of the style.

Rather, by drawing on films like The Magnificent Seven (and Kurosawa’s prior film, Seven Samurai), Stagecoach, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, High Planes Drifter and The Professionals, this film embraces the genre, approaching it with a sensibility that is simultaneously modern and faithful in tone to the classic Western.

A scene from classic Western 'The Magnificent Seven'

Cowboys And Aliens will be one of the only summer event films of 2011 that was neither shot in 3D, or converted to 3D in post-production. It was shot in traditional 35mm anamorphic, in the vein of a traditional Western, by the phenomenally talented cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Iron Man, The Fountain, Black Swan), giving the film an organic quality that audiences will (hopefully) be thirsty for.

Favreau was able to go straight to the source, executive producer Steven Spielberg, to explore some of the late 1970s/1980s science fiction movies that he used as both template and inspiration for this movie. Films like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Alien/Aliens, E.T and even Jaws. Science fiction that, often by necessity, invited the audience members to participate in the storytelling by actively engaging their imaginations.

Ellen Ripley in a scene from Sci-Fi classic 'Alien'

These films relied on the imaginations of viewers to fill in the blanks that were left by the technological limitations of the day. What many of us have come to realize since that time is that our individual fears will, more often than not, serve the emotional current of a film far more than overblown CGI ever could. Though there will certainly be plenty of action available in Cowboys & Aliens.

Soon enough you will be able to see for yourself that the classic Western style blends beautifully with the particular brand of sci-fi this film will be expressing.

As far as the Cowboys & Aliens are concerned, as Favreau says, “they (the aliens) didn’t know they were coming to the old-west, and they (the cowboys) didn’t know there were aliens coming – they were both coming from their own place.”

We believe the two worlds will seamlessly collide, come summer 2011.

We look forward to bringing you the trailer this Wednesday – as well as further details from our incredible edit bay visit – in the coming weeks. In the interim, you can find the countdown clock for the Cowboys & Aliens trailer below, so we can all count the minutes together:

Cowboys & Aliens

The trailer will also be appearing in theaters, beginning this weekend with Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Cowboys & Aliens has a powerhouse team of Hollywood heavy-hitters behind it; starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, written and produced by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Star Trek) and Damon Lindelof (television’s Lost); produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, with executive producers Steven Spielberg and Denis L. Stewart.

Cowboys & Aliens is scheduled for release on July 29th, 2011.

Follow me on twitter @jrothc and Screen Rant @screenrant

View the original article here

No comments:

Post a Comment