Jon Favreau Talks About Communicating The Tone Of 'Cowboys & Aliens'

While the Captain America and Super 8 trailers seemed to be the big winners yesterday at the Superbowl, the new spot for Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens did pretty well. It went further than the first teaser by showing us some more effects and action, including some daylight shots of the alien ships. (Even as it avoided the aliens altogether — expect that trend to continue.)

Part of the intent of the spot was to manage public perception of the film's tone, as the title still seems to be leading people to the wrong conclusions. (That is, that the film is a comedy, or intentionally camp.) That was something that the filmmakers and Universal have known all along that they'd have to deal with, but it now seems like getting people to know what the tone of the film is will be the main hurdle to leap before the film opens on July 29. Jon Favreau talks about that exact subject, after the break.

Speaking to EW, the director said,

We wanted to reveal the tone a little bit more. The first [teaser] ... people didn't know if it was meant to be funny, or meant to be dark, but it made an impression. People are getting used to what it is now, they're aware of the title, and we want to show them it's an adventure.

I think people's first response on hearing the title, which is a play on words, is that it's going to be a comedy. They've been disappointed in the past when people have played with the Western genre, and not stuck to what's bad-ass about it. When they throw that out the window, and play a pastiche of it, they don't feel like they're getting what they want. What you want is the grizzled warrior on the parched plains, and you want to see this iconic figure, who almost magical emerges from mirage of the horizon.

And don't expect to see any of the aliens, at least for a while. (We saw only non-moving sculpts while on set, though they suggested the aliens will be equally serious, meant to be imposing and frightening rather than camp.)

We haven't shown any of the aliens. We want to hold that back. And all the images we're showing are from the beginning, up to the first half of the film. We're not showing a lot of where it goes. The first teaser was showing the opening of the film and a little of the setup. This one is showing more of the sense of adventure as things unfold. We're just trying to get people's feet wet.

There's more at EW, including some talk about just what the shot of naked Olivia Wilde means, so check out the original interview.