If you’ve been paying attention to Kevin Costner‘s career as of late, or really at all, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that the guy likes Westerns. Dances with Wolves, Silverado, Open Range, and Wyatt Earp would have been enough to confirm his love for the genre, but he also headed-up a hugely unnecessary retelling of the vendetta between the Hatfields and McCoys, creatively entitled Hatfields & McCoys. And if you wanted to get down to it. his roles in The Postman, Waterworld, and Clint Eastwood‘s masterful A Perfect World are all clear extensions of the Western hero archetype.
Lately, he’s been in a lot of films highlighting the crucial roles of minorities in modern society – Hidden Figures, Black or White, McFarland USA, etc. – but his heart seems to belong to the worlds of John Ford, Anthony Mann, and Howard Hawks. This might explain why, as he has told both Variety and Vulture in the recent weeks, Costner is working on a 10-hour Western right now. Grandfathers and dads nationwide will certainly be celebrating through the night, but Costner is being weirdly tight-lipped about the project. While speaking with Vulture (via Playlist), he said this about the project:
“I have another Western I’ve co-written with some people, and I would like to play out the second half of my career directing more. I’ve constantly given the movies I’ve found to directors who I thought could do it better, but there are a lot of voices in my ear from my family saying, ‘You need to direct the movies you fall in love with.’ So I think I will,”
Costner is an efficient, more-than-competent director, so news of him returning to the game would be warmly embraced I imagine. It’s more strange that he’s not getting around to talking about what the story is, whether it’s totally original or an adaptation, especially because he’s hinted at this project before. It’s not like this is the plot to the new Star Wars movie or some mysterious bit of casting from Game of Thrones. That being said, the story seems to be a major undertaking that could be headed to either the small or big screen in a variety of formats, as he told Variety:
“I’ve been working on it. It’s about 10 hours long, how about that? Maybe I’ll make three features out of it. There’s a fourth one, too, so it’s truly a saga. I could do TV, or I could also make it like every six months, have a big western that’s tied together like ‘Jean De Florette’ and ‘Manon Of The Spring.’ I think those are fun to watch,”
Unless one were to count Von Stroheim‘s Greed, I’m not sure if I can think of a great Western off the top of my head that’s been longer than three hours. Lonesome Dove, maybe, but that’s probably it. I have enough trust in Costner as a director and as a star, but the recent spate of good Westerns – The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, In a Valley of Violence, etc. – have been marked more by their tendency to buck traditionalism rather than being devotional to its legacy. Regardless, color me intrigued for the time being, and hopefully Costner can open up about this in the months to come.