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THE MOVIE: Open Range

Robert Duvall • Kevin Costner • Annette Bening • Michael Gambon
DIRECTOR: Kevin Costner

A decisive battle looms for freegrazers Charley (Kevin Costner, left) and Boss (Robert Duvall, right) THE CONCEPT:
In the best and most authentic western to be made for years, Kevin Costner once again shows his directorial expertise with this tale of a group of cowboys who are fighting to preserve their way of life.

U.S. RELEASE: August 15 2003, Nationwide • Rated: R


KEVIN COSTNER (Charley Waite):
How the West was Won was influential to me because it fell in that line of movies that I like, which is a long narrative. Liberty Valance was a very important movie to me, and The Searchers. And I liked The Magnificent Seven because it was a marquee western. Those guys were world class actors who had really well written parts.”

ROBERT DUVALL (Boss Spearman) on the fact that the script was written with Duvall in mind:
“Kevin called up my agent and said, ‘Tell Bobby not to take anything.’ So my curiosity was peaked, and after two weeks I told my agent, ‘Keep pressuring him to get me the script.’ I knew it had to be a western, which it was. When he sent the script, within an hour of reading it I said I’d like to do it.”

MICHAEL GAMBON (Denton Baxter):
“For an Englishman to be in a Western is like a dream. And when you’re playing the bad man, that’s the best part. I was used to seeing [Kevin Costner] on the big screen in London. So when he was standing next to me wearing a cowboy hat and a gun and directing the movie, it was surreal. It was extraordinary.”

COSTNER on filming the movie’s big gunfight:
“I shot that over ten to twenty days. I started with something that always bothered me, which is how does a town clear out? You never see that. [Boss and Charley] talk to each other behind the wagon while they’re waiting to fight, and I put as much emphasis on that as I do the gunfight. Then I dealt with the noise and how loud guns are. And you have Charley shoot first; you don’t have him wait for them to draw. You can break with convention if you stay in reality, so what you have is that opportunity to create a gunfight that you think is real.”

“I’m not a big fan of movies like High Noon. They’re very stiff when you see them, the acting is by the numbers. They’re cult movies and people love them, but if you made that same movie today with the same results it would be laughed at. I think acting today is better than ever. Kevin says the best western ever made was The Searchers. I saw five minutes of it and it was so phony I couldn’t believe it.”

“I made this movie for just over $20 million, and I think it’s a bargain. A movie is worth more than it’s opening weekend. The value of a movie is, will you take it off a self five years from now and share it with someone? In twenty years, does it stand up?”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Touchstone Pictures
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #632, Summer 2003 cover

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Film Review, Deadly Divas 2003 cover

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