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Warwick Archivist Helped Hollywood Play ‘Cowboys & Aliens’

WARWICK, RI — Astrid Drew, archivist and collections manager at the Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA), has the history of ship construction at her fingertips at the museum’s 2500 Post Road location, so when Hollywood came calling for riverboat plans for the 2011 science fiction thriller ‘Cowboys & Aliens’, she was able to deliver the goods.

Cowboys & AliensShe didn’t figure out she was helping production designer Scott Chambliss create the upside-down set for the scene where actor Daniel Craig’s stoic cowboy hides out while stalking and being stalked by a dangerous alien until much later, though.

“I did not realize that that’s what the project was,” Drew said, until the bill came in. “That’s how I saw the title of the movie,” she said.

The movie, directed by John Favreau, was adapted from the 105-page graphic novel of the same title created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, with art by Dennis Calero and Luciano Lima.

Photographer Lauren Polizzi has several photos of the set Drew helped create for the film, along with a some additional detail from Chambliss about the set design.

SSHSA opened its ShipHistory Center in Warwick at the Post Road location late last year. The roughly 8,000-square-foot center on Post Road allows the public to experience some of the bells and whistles of steamships, along with its extensive archive of images, artifacts periodicals, artwork, official records and memorabilia.

The center at 2500 Post Road, Warwick, RI is open to members and the general public Wednesday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment for research Monday-Friday. You can call them at (401) 463-3570.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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