As I mentioned on Friday, I had a good excuse for being unable to finish a Morning Read last Wednesday. I went to Santa Monica to visit Jon Favreau at the editing suites where he's hard at work on his next film, "Cowboys & Aliens."
At that point, we were shown the new one-sheet for the film, which makes its premiere online today, and we were also shown the trailer for the movie, which you'll get a chance to see on Wednesday, and which is also being sent out this weekend with every single print of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I," so you'll get to see it theatrically as well.
We also saw the first forty minutes or so of the film, but discussion of that is going to have to wait a bit.
What I can say today is that Universal has a really big commercial movie on their hands here, and Favreau's about to prove that the "Iron Man" films weren't just hits because of an appetite for superhero movies. The trailer manages to condense the film's arresting first forty minutes into an easy to digest form, and then also throws in some surprising imagery for what is a teaser. The film has some big secrets to protect, and yet the teaser is already hinting at some of them. The thing that the trailer sells loud and clear is the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, the film's two leads, something that comes through in the film's opening act.
I love that Favreau thinks of this as a western first. He talked about imagining it as a film starring John Wayne and Steve McQueen that just collides with a SF film at some point. Ford's playing against type here, embracing his age and using it as a tool this time out. He's Col. Dollarhyde, the crusty old sonofabitch who basically owns Silver City, the town that the film centers around. He's a cattle baron, a land owner, and a brutal task master. His son Percy, played by Paul Dano, is the local menace, indulged by his father, enabled by everyone else's fear. The various locals, including Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Adam Beach, Keith Carradine, Ana de la Reguera, and the mysterious Olivia Wilde, all do what they can to stay out of Percy's way.
And then Daniel Craig comes walking into the middle of things after waking up confused and alone in the middle of the desert. That's where both the film and the trailer begin, and Craig may have had a little time off since the last Bond film, but he looks just as lethal as ever. He has some device on his wrist that he can't explain, and that comes in mighty handy when Silver City is attacked by spaceships. The entire first act builds to that attack, and the trailer gives you a taste of what happens when Jake (Craig) gets involved.
Universal's even put up a countdown clock until the trailer premieres:
Cowboys & Aliens
You'll see the trailer for yourself in a few days, and you'll get an idea of just how big a film Universal's putting together. This is one of those films that's been in development for so long that it would have been easy for it to simply fade away, but it looks like all of that development has paid off in the exact right version of this film, and I cant wait to see the rest of it once it's ready next year.
For now, what do you think of your first look at "Cowboys and Aliens"?
"Cowboys and Aliens" opens in theaters everywhere July 29, 2011.