Roberto Orci on Fringe and Cowboys & Aliens

We go one on one with writer/producer Roberto Orci.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Cowboys and Aliens

Writer/producer Roberto Orci came to WonderCon without his partner, Alex Kurtzman. The team produced Cowboys & Aliens and wrote the script from previous drafts by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. After Jon Favreau showed footage, he and Orci did some press, so I made sure to add a few Fringe and Star Trek questions to my Cowboys inquiries.


Crave Online: I always seem to see you without Alex?

Roberto Orci: Is it several times now you’ve seen me without him? He’s been directing his first movie lately so I have to do everything else.


Crave Online: Does any of the original comic book/graphic novel end up in the script?

Roberto Orci: Elements of it, but the trick is to do something that A, translates to live action, B, is a surprise. You don’t want to just adapt what’s already out there. You want to change it up a little bit and make sure that it’s original.


Crave Online: What did their aliens look like?

Roberto Orci: Well, check ‘em out.


Crave Online: Are the Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford characters in the books?

Roberto Orci: No.


Crave Online: The footage really looks like a [Sergio] Leone western. Is that all in how Jon Favreau shoots it or does it come from the writing too?

Roberto Orci: We have Matty Libatique who just did Black Swan as a cinematographer, just lit it beautifully. You’ve got those amazing vistas out there. Anywhere you point a camera out there was kind of a beautiful spot. I like the look of the film too. That’s why we shot it on film as well. Part of the decision not to go 3D was in order so we could give it kind of a classic look. When we did 3D tests, it was like oh cool, the horse is in 3D but I don’t know, it just felt fake somehow.


Crave Online: What are those things the aliens use to snatch people up?

Roberto Orci: Those bolos? Yeah, again it’s one of those things where infusing the sci-fi and the western genre, you think okay, aliens sometimes come by in a UFO and they grab you. What if it’s like a lasso? What if you’re like cattle? That’s where that idea comes from, trying to use as many things that are common to both genres as possible, instead of a tractor beam.


Crave Online: Congratulations on Fringe getting picked up again. What do you want to do next year in a fourth season?

Roberto Orci: We plan badly in that if we had not been picked up for a fourth season, we would not have gotten to tell the stories we want to tell. So it’s lucky that we didn’t just sort of finish off and go bye. We get together at the beginning of every season and the middle of every season in what we call a mini-camp where all of us writers just sit around and go, “This year could be this” and “well, it could be this.” You want to have a big reveal every few episodes so we’re about to start that process again.


Crave Online: With the tidbits coming out about the Star Trek 2 script, like Captain Kirk’s love life, how excited are you to start to explore that?

Roberto Orci: Hopefully we’ll be shooting in the fall if everything goes well. Because we’ve all been working together with J.J. for so long, it’s just a very organic process. We’ll be working and tweaking that story through shooting and this time we don’t have a strike. So we’ll actually be able to change things on the set. On the last movie, we handed in a script and that was it. You couldn’t change a word. This one feels like we’ve got all the time in the world.