Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci On The Tone Of 'Cowboys And Aliens'

Since it was first announced, I've been wondering what the tone will be for Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens. Even coming out of the footage screened at Comic-Con, I wasn't exactly sure. Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci recently gave an interview with SciFiMedia Zone about the film and actually address the tone of the movie.

Here is an excerpt:

ALEX KURTZMAN: I think the tone of this is the whole ballgame in a lot of ways. Both genres run the gamut from Space Balls to 2001, and Wild Wild West to Unforgiven, so figuring out where this movie lived, and the various degrees between those movies, was the challenge of figuring out its tone. .... We always describe it as, "Imagine you're watching Unforgiven, and the aliens from Alien land," but we're never doing it tongue in cheek, we're never doing wink, wink at the audience, we are committed to a very serious tone for both, which doesn't preclude a lot of fun, but I think you have to take both genres seriously, and the collision of the genres seriously, or the movie will not work.

Read the full interview on CBM.


cowboys and aliens

Official Plot Synopsis:

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (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 (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.


I haven't read the comic, but I will admit that the title alone makes it worthy of a big screen movie. It was initially expected to star Robert Downey Jr. but has since been recast with Daniel Craig as the former Union Army gunslinger Zeke Jackson. Craig will be joined by co-stars Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. Sam Rockwell will play a bar owner named Doc who joins in the pursuit of the aliens. The role was originally written as a heavy set man, but the part was rewritten and expanded after Rockwell showed interest. Rockwell is one of the biggest surprises and best parts of Favreau's Iron Man 2. The film also features Paul Dano, Abigail Spencer, and Clancy Brown. Keith Carradine rounds out the cast as the town sheriff.

You can read a sample of the graphic novel for free online on or check out the teaser trailer for the comic book below.

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The latest screenplay was written by Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, alongside Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. Iron Man and Children of Men scribes Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus had worked on a previous draft. Cowboys and Aliens is expected to open on July 29th 2011.

cowboys and aliens