Costner Westerns
What Draws Him To The Western Genre
Those who have closely followed Costner’s four-decade spanning career know that he has always had a particular affinity for the Western genre. Beginning with Lawrence Kasdan’s 1985 movie Silverado, Costner has been in and/or directed four major Western films – including 1990’s Dances With Wolves, 1994’s Wyatt Earp and 2003’s Open Range - and recently starred in the old west-set mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. So what is the big appeal? "I like to visit it because when they’re done right, I think they’re really beautiful pieces of film," he told us during our interview. "They highlight how difficult it was for your ancestors who found their way to America to make a life for themselves."

As rough and tumble as things were back then, however, it’s not the blood-spilling or the gunplay that make Costner interested in the genre. Rather, it’s the strength of character that was needed in order to face down such a harsh world. It’s something that he believes that we don’t think as much about today surrounded by modern comforts, and that it regularly comes as a surprise when it’s portrayed on the big screen.

"Their stories are of people who made their way out west, had to wait for seven, eight days for just the buffalo to pass in front of them," Costner said. "They were afraid, so the wagon train just waited. You don’t conceive of that, you can’t conceive of that - and that’s real. If you make a really good western, it’s not just about the shootout, it’s not. It’s about, ‘how did I get in such a bad spot here? How did it come down to me against these guys?’ If you do it thoughtfully, it’s our Shakespeare. If you do it crappy, it sets the genre back."

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