Jon Favreau Likens ‘Cowboys And Aliens’ To ‘Butch Cassidy,’ But Still Isn’t Official As Director?

Last week, we brought you the news that Jon Favreau won’t direct “Avengers,” and some comments from the filmmaker on the relationships between certain characters in “Iron Man 2,” but what about that other big film he’s attached to these days, “Cowboys and Aliens”?

While chatting with Favreau during the Bora Bora junket for “Couples Retreat,” the director offered an update on where things stand with the film and his involvement (as well as that of “Iron Man 2” star Robert Downey Jr.), and how he’s approaching the project’s sci-fi/western theme.

“When I spoke to [Downey Jr.], it was definitely something he was interested in. I saw him briefly before he went away to shoot ’Due Date,'” said Favreau. “I just started talking [Steven] Spielberg and Ron Howard and [Alex] Kurtzman and [Roberto] Orci. It’s a really great bunch of producers and writers, and it’s already a great script. It’s nice to have a piece of material this far out.”

As far as his involvement, despite Favreau being announced as the project’s director back in early September, he stopped short of saying anything was official in this interview, which took place during the last week of September.

“We’ve been discussing the idea of me directing it. I like the project, they like me,” he said. “It’s all about release dates and windows and availability.”

“When you’re a director on these projects, it’s a very director-heavy medium—moreso than any other genre i can think of, because the director has to be involved in the planning, the design, the shooting is painstaking … and the editing room, with all the CGI it’s like you’re starting a whole new movie,” he explained. “It’s a two-year process to direct one of these films, and you have to land on that date, whatever that summer date might be.”

Favreau also shared his thoughts on why the project appealed ot him, and what approach he’ll be taking to the cowboys-vs-aliens story that he’ll be adapting.

“I love the idea of a mash-up of genres. I love the western, which isn’t something you don’t often get the chance to do these days,” he said. “If you’re going to mash up genres, you have to do it right. The idea of a western mixed with an alien movie, all of a sudden it makes it a fresh concept—and that mixture seems to make it very appealing and marketable.”

The “Iron Man 2″ director even offered up some comparisons for the tone of the film, invoking some of the best-known classic—and modern—takes on the genre.

“You have to figure out what style of western is it: Is it ’Maverick’? Is it ’Wild Wild West’? Or is it ’Butch Cassidy’? … Is it ’Deadwood’?” he ventured. “I think ’Butch Cassidy’ feels like the right tone, because there’s humor, but there are stakes.”

Think “Cowboys and Aliens” is a good fit for Favreau? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!