Monday, January 24, 2011
Kevin Costner on the Dilemma of the Western Movie
Kevin Costner was interviewed in the Sunday L.A. Times yesterday and he had some memorable comments about why it's been so difficult to make Western movies nowadays. The discussion began with his comments on making Dances with Wolves (1993) for $16 million. Can you imagine making Dances with Wolves today and what it would cost? The shot below, by the way, is the only scene in the movie that was made with CGI, according to Costner.
Anyway, here is the question and his answer on the Western movie:
And this year "True Grit" is considered one of the year's best films. Why do you think Americans seem to be so ambivalent about the genre?
Because mostly they're not done well. It was a very complicated time, and filmmakers tend to simplify them with the black hat, white hat. When they were enjoying their largest acceptance back in the '50s and '60s, [filmmakers] just got lazier and lazier. When they're done really well, there's a lot of dilemma because the way you and I live, if someone threatens us, there are three or four different layers that we can go to — the police, our politics, our PR person, our agent, our lawyer — to arbitrate our problems. Back then you had nobody to arbitrate your problems, and very often you found yourself even against the law because it's not a cliché for the lawman to have been bought back then. If somebody came and wanted your property, you had to make up your mind quickly. Very few of us have those instincts now about how we would behave. And so if you can create those in your story — the dilemma that men and women faced — then they can be incredibly entertaining.
Your thoughts, please. I tend to agree with him.
You can read the entire interview here.