Cowboys and Aliens Interview
Cowboys and Aliens Interview
Your character stars out as almost the villain of the piece. Is that more fun to play than the hero?

Harrison Ford

Oh, I don’t know if it’s any more fun. I thought it was interesting for the character in the telling of the story overall. It was fun. I didn’t know where it was going as I read along the script but I was pleased by what I read and I thought it was something different for me to do.
I gather you weren’t too keen on the project when you first heard about it? What changed your mind?

Harrison Ford

Well, I didn’t really know what I was reading. I was impatient with it a bit until I had finished the script and became more interested in the character and spoken to Jon about what tone he was looking for with the film. Then I was reassured. But you can read the same words and imagine different music and his intention to be committed seriously to the Western rather than do a tongue in cheek, kind of pop mish-mash, is what reassured me. That, and just getting to know what work he had already done. On my first meeting with Jon, he showed me a lot of graphics that had been developed showing the look and feel of the thing. But he also made it clear to me that he was committed to the reality of the characters and the relationships of the characters, which is what makes my part work in the film.
Obviously, we now have the ability to replace a man in an alien suit with a computer generated alien...
What was it like working with the special effects in the film?

Harrison Ford

Obviously, we now have the ability to replace a man in an alien suit with a computer generated alien and what I was pleased with in Jon and his group’s creation of the alien is that it didn’t move like a man in an alien suit. They created a movement for the aliens that wasn’t humanoid, which was interesting. But the danger of computer generated graphics is that there’s a temptation by many directors to generate more than they need. Often when I do see [films] they tend to lose human scale. And so if you get too much of any one thing, you begin to think about it.
Can you give us some more detail about the craziness of doing the stunt where aliens lasso you? How did you persuade Jon Favreau to let you do it?

Olivia Wilde

Well, that stunt was supposed to be done by my great stunt double and we started off with me on a mechanical horse - which was the horse they used in Seabiscuit - but it looked way too slow for our movie. So, I ended up getting on the real horse. I felt safe because Daniel [Craig] was riding next to me. [Laughs] I galloped through two 80ft cranes and then at one point, a bungee chord attached to my waist yanked me back 40ft into the air. The danger was that I would get stuck in the stirrups, so the trick was to not get my feet stuck and get ripped in half. But it was a lot of fun. It was amazing to be floating above the set and to have this unusual perspective. And there was our crew looking like little ants and these incredible deserts and mountains and canyons around us. It just made me realise how ambitious it was to lug these giant machines and cameras out into the middle of nowhere to tell a story.
How did you convince people you knew what you were doing with a handgun? Was that tricky?

Olivia Wilde

Daniel taught me how to shoot my gun, which was cool because now I can always say that James Bond taught me how to shoot. But it was cool because the guns were really beautiful. I mean I’m not a big gun person - I’m a pacifist and I don’t really love guns in general but I loved these antique guns. They were so interesting and not easy to shoot! We did have a gun expert who was teaching me how to spin the gun. But I never got to spin the gun like that. I think sometimes in some of the wide shots we’d all be spinning the guns, hoping we’d be able to do it. But Jon would say: “Guys, not all of you can spin your guns, so stop!” But I did learn how and I have that skill.
There’s a very funny clip of you on YouTube being pitched the idea of Air Force One 2. Have people floated some similarly ludicrous variations on things you’ve done over the years?

Harrison Ford

What’s ludicrous about Air Force One 2? I’m in negotiations right now! I happen to think it will work. [Laughs] You know, I’m trying to think if there was ever a sequel pitched that I didn’t go for. [Smiles] I don’t think so ... When we did the sequels of Indiana Jones, my ambition was that we take advantage of the audiences’ knowledge of the character and extend and complicate that knowledge. That led to bringing in Indiana’s father and finally bringing in the son he never knew, those kinds of things. I wasn’t the only one who was ambitious for that but it’s something I felt very strongly about.
Is it true that you're a Trekkie and you have a deep desire to play Captain Kirk?

Olivia Wilde

Well, I grew up watching Star Trek with my family, often! And my sister was a Trekkie as well. So, there have been some great female characters in Trek over the years and still are! There was Capt Janeway, who did it well. She has that voice that I could never deal with. But I would love to play more powerful women in science fiction. I think what Sigourney [Weaver] did for women in science fiction is just incredible and I think she sort of set the standard. I love the genre and I’d love to do more in it.
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Content updated: 23/03/2019 04:20

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