Anthony D’Alessandro is AwardsLine managing editor and contributor.
When it comes to the longevity of the Western, Kevin Costner remains an iconic voice for the genre. This time he’s extended his lasso around TV as the producer and star of History Channel’s first miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. Hitting record ratings for basic cable each of its three nights with a final 14.3 million, Hatfields’ success underscored the genre’s continuing popularity as well as Costner’s continuing potential as leading man. Costner Westerns hone in on the subtext and mores of standoffs against a blue sky, which are plentiful in Hatfields, rather than slow-motion blood and pungent dialogue that have peppered the likes of the Coen brothers’ True Grit and HBO’s Deadwood. Costner also doesn’t flinch at playing the bad guy, and his Devil Anse Hatfield is as potent as his turns in A Perfect World and Mr. Brooks. Given the TV Academy’s adoration for oaters (i.e., the four Emmy wins rallied by Robert Duvall’s Broken Trail including best actor and miniseries), expect Costner and Hatfields & McCoys to ride high in the saddle come nom time.
AWARDSLINE: How did the project come your way? Were you tracking this?
KEVIN COSTNER: No, It came to me in a fairly traditional way. My agent had read it, knowing my sensibilities. While on the surface it didn’t seem like something I would do in terms of it being on TV — whatever everyone’s prejudice is — he understood I’m writer-driven and material-driven. He liked it enough that he asked me to read it and when I did, I knew immediately that I liked it enough to consider it. They asked me to direct it, but I was doing music over the summer and I couldn’t give it its proper prep.