Kevin Costner discusses starring in 'Hatfields & McCoys' miniseries, upcoming concert in Oklahoma

Love of history draws Kevin Costner into “Hatfields & McCoys” role as Devil Anse Hatfield; miniseries inspires actor's musical side
BY MELISSA HAYER mhayer@opubco.com Published: May 27, 2012

Movie star Kevin Costner is bringing his penchant for history to the small screen by starring as Devil Anse Hatfield in the three-part, six-hour television miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys,” airing at 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday on History.

“Hatfields & McCoys” conveys the tale of the true legendary American family feud that lasted for decades in post-Civil War era Kentucky and West Virginia.

Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, Mare Winningham, Powers Boothe, Matt Barr and Lindsay Pulsipher are also in the cast.

Costner, 57, is certainly no stranger to the Western genre either. He won an Oscar for directing the 1990 Academy Award-winning Best Picture “Dances With Wolves.” He also has been a recipient of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's Western Heritage Awards for the same film and 2003's “Open Range.” Costner directed, starred in and was a producer on both movies.

In addition to those films, Costner has headlined such cinematic hits as “Bull Durham,” “The Untouchables” and “Field of Dreams.”

Born in Compton, Calif., Costner's grandparents moved from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl era.

Costner is also a musician and his band, Kevin Costner & Modern West, will be playing at Concho's Lucky Star Casino at 8 p.m. July 19. Kevin Costner & Modern West previously performed in Oklahoma City in 2009.

During a recent media conference call, Costner discussed “Hatfields & McCoys” as well as its contribution to his music:

“I like American history,” Costner said. “And, so, I was aware of the participants and a lot of it — obviously became more aware of it as I read this script, and then doing my own research.”

Costner said he got involved in this project much like he has his other films. He was drawn into the story by the writing.

“Great stories don't often make great movies. I mean, ... it's a crafted art form,” he said.

“I felt the authenticity of the writing. I was surprised by the violence. I was interested in what was really going on culturally at that point and being able to kind of immerse myself in that era.”

Always enthralled by history

Costner has always been interested in history, as demonstrated in this story of how enthralled he was as a child watching a classic movie.

“When I saw ‘How the West Was Won' as a little boy, I remember that probably put me on my way to long movies, because I didn't even leave during the intermission. I just sat there. I was 7 years old and listened to the overture and waited for the second half of it to play,” Costner said.

“And, I remember seeing Jimmy Stewart in a canoe, and I thought I loved the idea of how the only possessions he had were in that boat. And so I went ahead and, even though I was born in the inner city, Compton, Calif., I went ahead and built three canoes myself and ended up going down the same rivers that Lewis and Clark went down,” Costner said. “So I guess history's pretty thrilling for me.”

In portraying Devil Anse Hatfield in the miniseries, clothing and props were essential elements for the actor. “The hat was a very big deal. I remember when I finally did put the hat on for the first time, I was in my room, and I noticed that there was this great light coming in, and I saw my shadow. So, I actually saw myself put the hat on, the one that I liked,” Costner said.

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