News + Notes

'Cowboys & Aliens'' Super Bowl Tease

Director Jon Favreau on his upcoming Western-sci-fi-thriller

Call him Jon ''Fast Draw'' Favreau. The Iron Man director used Twitter to send out his Super Bowl spot for Cowboys & Aliens hours before the big game, literally and figuratively jumping the gun on more than a dozen other movie promos. It also roused the geek-hive fan base and stirred new speculation about his hybrid of classic Westerns and extraterrestrial-invasion thrillers. ''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,'' he says. ''We wanted to reveal the tone a little bit more.''

That meant highlighting the action and adventure, and showcasing 007 and Indiana Jones — that is, stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford — as they battle outer-space aggressors. ''For me, the first [teaser] was like, 'Holy s---, these things are coming! What are they?''' Favreau says. ''In this one, instead of everyone running for cover, you see one guy is gonna jump on the back of these things.'' Until the July 29 debut, Favreau is happy to raise as many questions as he answers. One shot shows abducted frontier dwellers lashed together by alien cables in a freaky blue light. But why? ''It's an aspect showing the nightmarish quality of the film. There are heavy stakes, and heavy stuff is going on there,'' Favreau says. And nude Olivia Wilde with her mysterious, knowing glances, drawing Craig toward a massive campfire? Is she an alien? The director laughs: ''Because she's not wearing any clothes? If it's making you speculate, then it's doing a good job. But I cannot confirm or deny anything.''

Originally posted Feb 11, 2011 Published in issue #1142 Feb 18, 2011 Order article reprints