Archive for August 22nd, 2012


cowboys and aliens, the art of, part 1


I have always wanted to work on a western and I was so sad that I completely missed out on “True Grit”.  I have always wanted to work on a Coen Brother film and I was so sad that I completely missed out on “True Grit”.  So If I could have gotten on “True Grit” I could have fulfilled all my movie dreams at one time and either died happy or retired with a big smile on my face….  Sadly none of the above happened, but what happened next was  “Cowboys and Aliens”.

My Friend Russell Bobbitt who was my prop boss on  JJ’s  “Star Trek” and “Iron Man 2” called and asked if I would like to help him out on this crazy Space Western. I said sure and couldn’t wait to start!!!  He put me on the Cowboy and Indian stuff which was really what I wanted to work on the most.  I was so happy that at least in a half kinda way I was working on a WESTERN….  Anyways, this was back in 2010 and Working for Russell is always a treat.  He is one funny guy with an incredible talent for creating awesome props for the shows he works on!  He plays guitar, he has a two terabyte collection of music, and he always has the funnest crews to work with.

For “Cowboys and Aliens” Russell had the world famous Chris Ross working on the alien props and I got the rifles and bows!!!  Can’t stress enough how much fun this was.  The Apache Indians were the chosen tribe for the film, and it was a good time doing all the research and getting to talk to so many Native Americans about their heritage and all about their ancestors’ ways of life in the 1800’s.  Harrison Ford had just been cast as one of the lead roles, and he really got into the props for his character.  All of the research that Russell and his assistant Melody Beth found for a wealthy cattleman of the time would go full circle with the research that Harrison was doing!  It was very cool to see Mr. Ford get so involved, and he and Russell became good friends!

Over at my desk, the first thing I was given to do was Apache shields, Yellow Boy, Sharps, and Henry rifles that were used by the Indians.  The guns were to be obtained by the tribe either by being stolen or trophies from white man kills.  Each rifle was to be decorated with tribal skins and trinkets, so a whole slew of different variations were called for.  The same with the shields, tons of variations were requested.  So with all that said here is some the production art from these two props.

Henry rifles

Sharps rifles

yellowboy version 10

yellowboy first pass

Apache shields version 1

August 2012