"Cowboys & Aliens" director Jon Favreau calls Harrison Ford "our generation's John Wayne."
There are movie stars and then there are icons.
“Cowboys & Aliens” delivers two of the latter: one of the all-time great screen adventure heroes in Harrison Ford, and a cutting-edge action idol in Daniel Craig. And their collaborators on the film sound like they’re still pinching themselves over the opportunity to work with them.
“Harrison's like our generation's John Wayne,” director John Favreau tells PopcornBiz. “You're seeing a lot of Harrison Ford the actor, but there's also a lot of Harrison Ford the icon and the legend – the one who set the tone for all the films that have followed. And if you think of 'Blade Runner,' all the 'Star Wars' movies and all the 'Indiana Jones' movies, he's created the archetype. I don't think I could pick any actor who's been in more movies that have meant more to me, both as a filmmaker and just growing up."
Co-star Olivia Wilde agrees with that assessment. “I think that I might be the luckiest person on the planet,” she says of the chance to share scenes with Ford and Craig. “Harrison Ford arguably is a hero of the 20th Century film world. But at the same time he's just a really professional and really good human being – really grounded and really aware of what this business is, the nature of fame, the danger of fame and the importance of hard work and craft.”
When it comes to Craig, Favreau says the actor may be in line to follow Ford as the preferred action hero of his generation. “Daniel Craig carries a certain gravity and a certain dangerous quality that we played into that's different than another actor,” he says. “I loved his take on James Bond and I really, really enjoyed 'Layer Cake' as well. Once he came onboard it gave a tone to the lead of the film, because Daniel Craig has a certain presence to him. Women dig him but guys see him as a man. He seems confident, a weathered guy but with tremendous sensitivity and thoughtfulness.”
Wilde was as wild to work with Craig as she was with Ford. “I just always knew him as a great actor and then he evolved into this icon of James Bond, but without developing a chip on his shoulder about being this heartthrob, about being this sexiest man alive or any of that bullsh*t. He's really not about that. It's been such a pleasure to work with him."
“He's just goofy and he's always laughing and has a great sense of humor,” adds co-star Ana de la Regeura about a side of Craig that surprised her. “Also, his behavior is like a James Bond. He's naturally an action guy. He's an amazing actor and can play everything, but at the same time when you see him doing those scenes he's just perfect for that. I was surprised because sometimes you think it's the camera and they cut a lot – No. He does the whole thing, and it’s amazing.”
And Wilde says that with their downtime shooting in New Mexico, she found both her leading men had a talent in common not yet seen on screen. “Both are great dancers,” she reveals. “They're great actors and great dancers. No surprise there – you can tell by the way that they move.”