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HALON Entertainment Handles Previs for Cowboys & Aliens


Cowboys fight for their lives in Cowboys & Aliens. (Photo: ILM/Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC).
Santa Monica-based previsualization company HALON Entertainment contributed extensive previs for Jon Favreau‘s highly anticipated film Cowboys & Aliens. Set in the town of Absolution where cowboys and Apache warriors find themselves battling aliens for their survival, audiences will be awestruck by the action-packed sequences on the big screen.

Daniel Gregoire, owner and CEO of HALON, worked closely with Favreau, director of the Universal Pictures and DreamWorks film from the earliest point of pre-production through to post. Using previs, directors are able to plan everything from camera placement and movement to lighting, without having to incur the large expenses of actual production.

Gregoire created scenes with 3D animation tools before, during and after filming on the movie began in Santa Fe. Major action set pieces with shots from Gregoire and his team appeared as early as the film’s first trailer.

Daniel Gregoire, owner and CEO of HALON Entertainment.
“I was placed in a position where Jon would convey the big picture, and I was sent off to conjure his vision with whatever means I could conceive,” said Gregoire who has been the previs director for George Lucas on Star Wars: Episode II and III, Steven Spielberg‘s War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones 4 and Oscar award winner Andrew Stanton‘s upcoming film, John Carter.

“I was involved earlier than usual, traveling with the production crew and going to locations that were not even fully chosen yet,” said Gregoire.

One particular location in Santa Fe – with its complex box canyon – was particularly hard for Gregoire to recreate digitally. Instead, he took his Canon 5dmkII and shot video previs of the entire third act of the film with a stand-in. “The stand-in played all the roles” which was edited and uploaded to LA to incorporate digital elements. “It was a necessity born of the tough location and needs of the story,” Gregoire said.

HALON Entertainment has also delivered memorable sequences for helmers Ridley Scott, Ang Lee, Peter Berg and M. Night Shyamalan.

Gregoire is currently supervising a Los Angeles- and UK-based HALON team on location in London for previs on Paramount PicturesWorld War Z with director Marc Foster (Quantum of Solace).

Cowboys & Aliens premiered at Comic Con and will be rolled out nationwide, July 29.

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