Cowboys and Aliens Interview
Cowboys and Aliens Interview
Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford have played some of the most famous heroes in cinema history, with roles such as James Bond, Indiana Jones and Hans Solo under their belts. Now they’ve joined forces alongside newcomer Olivia Wilde to star in the alien themed Western, Aliens and Cowboys, where extra terrestrials set about capturing people from a one horse town in 19th century America.

Recently in London, they talked to View’s Matthew Turner about their experiences on set, their love of the Western genre and how to live up to the classic characters created by Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen and John Wayne.
Which side of this movie appealed to you more - the cowboy side or the alien side?

Daniel Craig

Probably the Western, although I’m a huge science fiction fan as well. I think I’ve always wanted to play a cowboy, so that was the bottom line.

Harrison Ford

To be fair, I don’t really care what the genre is. I’m in it for the money. No, I was playing a part of the Western side of the story, so that really is what attracted me. But in particular it was a special character, not the genre. And the opportunity to work with all of these wonderful people.
Although I’m a huge science fiction fan as well, I’ve always wanted to play a cowboy...
Can I regress you to the summer of 1977 and ask what your nine-year-old self might have thought about sharing the screen with Harrison Ford?

Daniel Craig

The truth of it is, I don’t know when Blade Runner came out but I went and sat in the cinema on my own because not many people went to the cinema I went to. I had no idea what was playing but Blade Runner came on and I thought then: ‘I want to work with that man!’ And I did.
When a stranger arrives in a Western town you immediately think of Clint Eastwood. Did you go with it that, or did you try and fight it?

Daniel Craig

No, you go with it. I wouldn’t try and fight that. If you’re asking me whether or not I watched Clint Eastwood for this movie, of course I did, but I watched everything else as well. You know, I watched lots of John Wayne, Butch and Sundance ... I’m just reeling off Westerns now! [Laughs] But yes I kind of stole everything I could – but nothing specific.
Was this a more physically demanding role than Bond?

Daniel Craig

It was just different. I don’t get to ride many horses in Bond. That was the main distinction, I guess. But no more than usual. There’s a lot more that I couldn’t do in this because horse riding, although I’m getting better at it, I’m no expert. So, a lot of what you see is my brilliant double and my brilliant stuntmen. Funnily enough, I picked up more bruises at the studio, when we got back to LA, than I did out on my own, when we were on location. I think everything’s made of fibre glass and that seems to scrape and bruise you worse than the real thing!
How much of the classic Steve McQueen technique of going through the script and ripping out your lines did you do, so that you could say something with a look rather than a lot of dialogue?

Daniel Craig

It was kind of a natural process. It kind of ended up being like that. I mean, I’m glad - as far as I’m concerned the less I get to say the better! But more the character talked about how he felt about things, the less real it seemed. It turned him into more of a man of action as opposed to a man of words.
Can you expand upon that?

Daniel Craig

Isn’t there a legend that Clint Eastwood only has 11 lines in one of his movies? Literally, the character was initially more verbose but I didn’t think he would talk about his feelings before he goes and starts shooting. I thought he’d just go and start shooting and maybe talk about it afterwards. It was as simple as that. I mean, I make a joke out of it but it was something that happened completely naturally as opposed to it being a conscious decision. We’d sometimes be going through the script and we’d find places where I didn’t need to say the line - that story had already been told with the actions I was doing. It just leant itself to the Western: the fewer words, the better, in a sense.
Did you have much input into the script? Or feel the need to cut some of your lines?

Harrison Ford

Well, these filmmakers were very willing to be collaborative and for me it wasn’t so much a question of taking away lines, or adding lines, it was a question of honing the speech, or sharpening the focus. But they were always willing to entertain suggestions or notions and work with it.
For every thousand saloon girls in Westerns, there’s a Belle Starr or an Anne Oakley. Your character clearly is in the minority. So, what kind of research did you do into the gun-toting women?

Olivia Wilde

Well, I loved doing the research for this role because I got to learn about the women of the Old West, which was really fascinating. There’s a great museum in Los Angeles called The Autry and I spent a lot of time there because they had a very helpful exhibit called Women of the Old West, which was nice! I loved reading about how tough these women would have to be. I mean, everybody would have to be tough in order to be pioneers, to settle in these border towns was not easy. I don’t know how long I would have lasted but I did have some ancestors who did just that, so it was really interesting for me to do this research.

I looked at probably a lot of the same guys we all were. I thought that Ella had a great Clint [Eastwood] thing to her as well. I was so excited when I realised that I was going to step out of the shadows in the saloon to approach Daniel. It was one of those moments that really felt Western-y and fun. When I grew up watching Westerns, I wanted to be Steve McQueen, I didn’t want to be the girl.
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Content updated: 17/06/2019 14:34

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