Now that “Iron Man 2” is done, released and all but out of the oh-so-fleeting public spotlight (at least until the aggressive fall DVD and Blu Ray advertising blitz begins), director Jon Favreau is officially moving onto his next potential blockbuster project dubbed, amusingly, “Cowboys & Aliens.”
Based on the fairly obscure 2006 graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, the endeavor has already drawn plenty of film-geek interest for not only its killer premise and high-wattage cast, which includes Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Paul Dano, but also the attention-grabbing presence of writers Damon Lindelof (“Lost”), Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (“Star Trek,” “Transformers”), and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (“Iron Man,” “Children of Men”) on the screenplay front. With names like those, and the success of “Iron Man” bolstering him, Favreau has all but assured that “Cowboys & Aliens” won’t want for publicity on its way to theatre screens for next June, regardless of the obscurity of its source material.
In fact, some early net promotion has already begun in modest, with Favreau leaking an early silhouetted image on his Twitter account, which was later revealed, in an interview conducted by Collider, to be a camera test shot of Daniel Craig (who replaced Robert Downey Jr. when “Sherlock Holmes 2” came a-beckoning) in full western garb. While it isn’t necessarily representative of what will end up on celluloid, it does capture the iconic feel that the director is apparently aiming to achieve with the flick.
Also of intriguing note from the interview is Favreau’s subtle hints as to how he intends to use Ford:
“He’s like our John Wayne. He’s our generation’s John Wayne. How do you separate him from the roles that he’s played? He’s defined the whole genre so you have to take that into consideration.”
As a lifelong fan of the veteran actor, I’m thrilled to no end by this comment. It’s been rough the last handful of years to watch Ford’s fall from box-office grace, with lackluster by-the-numbers fare like “Firewall,” “Hollywood Homicide” and “Extraordinary Measures.” Heck, he even seemed bored resurrecting his beloved Indiana Jones character in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” all but letting Shia LaBeouf steal his thunder and deliver the most charismatic performance in the picture. While it’s somewhat obvious that, well into his fourth decade of A-list stardom, he’s become something of an antique in the current teenage boy-guided Hollywood paradigm, my fingers are crossed that Favreau can pull some magic out of him again.
For those unfamiliar with the project’s story overview, the helpful folks at Latino Review have provided a succinct synopsis:
“Cowboys & Aliens” starts in 1800s Arizona, where the local cowboys, headed by gunslinger Zeke Jackson (Daniel Craig), and the indigenous Apache tribe have been feuding fiercely for quite a while. Their skirmish is interrupted, however, by the appearance of a spaceship, commanded by an alien creature that’s bent on enslaving the human race. It’s time for a six-gun shoot-out between these cattle rustlers and space invaders, and there might even be a temporary peace between the cowboys and Indians as they both take aim at these extraterrestrial uninvited guests.”
So how do you guys feel about this kooky/awesome-sounding project? Do you think it will be the key to reinvigorating Harrison Ford’s stalled career? Will Favreau be able to deliver the cinematic goods outside of the Marvel-verse? Unload your mental six-shooters in our comments section or our forums and let us know where you sit!
. . .
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.