They are, admittedly, biased. But Cowboys & Aliens screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers) have three good reasons why people should go see Cowboys & Aliens, their new genre-mixing sci-fi western starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, opening July 29.
1. Because the film represents the collective wisdom of a highly advanced alien species: producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and exec-producer Steven Spielberg. “It’s an historic match up of talent,” Orci tells EW. “The keepers of the western and the sci-fi genres — Howard and Spielberg — hashing their point of view onto this new generation in [director] Jon Favreau. They were like referees as the rest of us generated the story. They would push us back on the field if we went too wrong on the western or too wrong on the aliens.”
2. Because it’s the first hip-hop summer tent pole. Not musically, of course, but in mixing different genres in order to create something new and original. “We’re not asking the audience to acclimate themselves to something unfamiliar, but at the same time we’re hoping this feels fresh,” says Kurtzman. “It’s something you really haven’t seen before.” Adds Orci, “This sort of genre mash-up relects a movement in music, to sample and mix stuff together. But, in a way, we’re mixing genres that have already been mixed. Star Wars is a space western. Star Trek was pitched as Wagon Train to the stars. We’re just not hiding it in this movie.”
3. Because Harrison Ford didn’t wear the chaps. “There were a few situations between Ford and Craig,” Orci confides. “They were like two bulls coming into the ring and they did sort of do the thing with the foot. Like when they were picking out clothes. Harrison joked that he wanted the chaps but then he saw Daniel in them with his ass sticking out, and he was like, ‘You keep the chaps.’ They busted each others’ balls like guys on a sports team. But they really came to respect each other.”