Ford and Craig in alien encounter

James Bond and Indiana Jones - aka Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are in town promoting their new film Cowboys & Aliens.

For many fans, it’s basically James Bond and Indiana Jones sharing screen time together, although the two may not want to see it like that.

Ford, who celebrated his 69th birthday last month, “hemmed and hawed” about the role until he discussed his concerns with director Jon Favreau. But he finally agreed because of the talents of the people involved.

“It was the opportunity to play a character different from any I’ve played before. The chance to make a movie that might be popular and successful. All of that, and a bit of money,” he says with a smile.

“And I wanted the chance to work with Daniel. He’s a very talented actor and fun to be with. Simple and straight forward.”

The appreciation is mutual, with Craig revealing: “This was a dream come true. Harrison’s lovely - you’ll find out.

“First and foremost, he’s an actor and he loves the job. He loves getting on with it and the collaborative process... So once you get over the fact he’s a screen legend, you find out he just wants to get on with the work,” Craig adds. It’s hard to imagine the British actor, the first to be cast, losing his cool over a fellow thespian, but he freely admits: “Of course I was excited. Yeah, a little bit. It’s Harrison Ford, for Christ’s sake!”

As a child, the Bond star - who is set to reprise his iconic role in the 23rd film of the secret agent franchise - found himself shaken and stirred by Ford’s films, especially Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. “I went to the cinema on my own, saw Blade Runner and thought, ‘I want to work with that man!’ And I did,” he recalls, his icy-blue eyes twinkling.

It didn’t take Craig, who based his character on the “silence of Clint Eastwood”, long to get into character.

“The cowboy just comes out. We’re in a desert, I’m wearing chaps, a gun around my waist, cowboy boots, a hat and I’m riding on a horse. I couldn’t have been happier,” he continues.

In the film based on Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s graphic novel, Ford - best known for his portrayals of Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and intrepid explorer Indiana Jones - relished playing the villainous cattle-rancher Woodrow Dolarhyde.

“He’s cruel and unusual - a bit of a bully used to getting his own way,” he explains. But in context of the events, you come to know something more about him and the circumstances he’s involved in. I’m not so much a fan of action or genre as I am of storytelling and character. That’s where my heart lies.”

l Cowboys and Aliens is on general release at all major cinemas.