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Kevin Costner is currently starring on the hit Paramount+ show “Yellowstone,” and he thinks that what “makes the show so successful” is how intentional it is with its world-building and character development.

Costner On What Makes ‘A Good Western’

“I’ve always believed a good Western isn’t always just rushing towards its gunfight,” Costner, 67, told People Magazine. “If you can create language and situations, and then you end up at a gunfight, I think it can be an amazing movie or TV show. But I think if you’re trying to get there so fast that you don’t understand the people, or it’s not complicated, then it’s a problem.”

Costner has tons of experience with Westerns, as he’s starred in Wyatt Earp, Silverado, Open Range and the Academy Award-winning Dances with Wolves, which he also won an Oscar for Best Director for. Costner said that he’s always been drawn to this genre because of  “the authenticity of what it took to come across the ocean to move west where there was no law, there was no protection.”

“To drag your wife and your children and put them in imminent danger — people thirsted to have something of their own,” he continued.

Related: Kevin Costner Opens Up About Future Of ‘Yellowstone’

‘Most Westerns Aren’t Very Good’

Costner went on to say that “Yellowstone” infuses its storytelling with humanity and nuance.

“Most Westerns aren’t very good because they reduce themselves to the black hat and the white hat,” he said. “But when they’re done well, you are kind of haunted by how you can measure yourself to wonder, Were you tough enough to make it? You were forced into decisions every day in the West which were kind of, ‘Wow.'”

“The word ‘stranger’ — we think a stranger is somebody down the hallway we’ve never met. But in the West, that was like the boogeyman,” Costner added as an example. “A stranger would scare people. Because they didn’t know where he was from. They didn’t know if he just come out of jail. And you had to measure things.”

“If you saw someone on the open plain, you didn’t know if they wanted what you had — including your wife, including your kids,” he stated. “So, you had to make these weird decisions all the time. So, when I think you create the architecture in a Western that shows you some circumstances where you go, ‘Ooh my goodness, would I have acted that quickly?’ It works.” 

Related: Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner’s Instagram Post Has Fans Anxious For Season 4 And Cliffhanger Answers

Watch Costner tease season five of “Yellowstone” in the video below.

Costner Preparing To Make Western Epic

At the end of August, Costner is set to begin production on his epic Western Horizon, which he plans to split into four movies.

“They’re all different films that all connect, so you’re watching a saga of these storylines that are happening,” Costner told Variety

The movies will reportedly span fifteen years in the settlement of America’s Western frontier, focusing on both the settlers and the indigenous people who live there.

“It’s a really beautiful story; it’s a hard story,” Costner said. “It really involves a lot of women, to be honest. There are a lot of men in it, too, but the women are really strong in Horizon. It’s just them trying to get by every day in a world that was impossibly tough.”

“They were often [dragged] out to these places because that’s where the men wanted to go; women were following their men,” he added. “They didn’t ask to be in these territories that were unsettled and dangerous, and life wasn’t easy. I’ve chosen to make sure that was really obvious, that that wasn’t easy, and how vulnerable people were.”

We can’t wait to see how Horizon turns out, and we can’t wait to see the latest season of “Yellowstone” later this year. Keep those Westerns coming, Mr. Costner, because we can’t get enough of them!

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