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OPEN RANGE

Assembling The Cast
There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the actors approached to star in Open Range— from relative newcomer Diego Luna to veterans like Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. 

Securing the legendary Duvall was vital to the making of the film, according to Craig Storper. "When I read the book and when I wrote the script,” he says, "I had Robert Duvall in mind.When Kevin and I first met, one of the very first things he said was, ‘You know, I could see Robert Duvall doing this movie.' If Duvall had said no, I don't know what would have happened, because we didn't think of anyone else for the role.” 

"The part was tailored for Bob,” adds Costner. "Craig wrote it, and I began to move it around without having ever called Bob. I shifted a lot of lines in his direction, and it was the right thing to do and the smart thing to do for the film.” 

Indeed, the film's most important relationship is between Charley and the elder Boss. Described by Craig Storper as "a man who has some pain from his past, but who is basically a decent, hard-working, straight-shooter who lets you know right where you stand with him,” Boss is friend, mentor, father figure, and employer to Charley. The many dimensions of their relationship make it stronger and yet, at the same time, more complicated. "The plot provides the landscapes, history, and action we expect from Westerns, but it's these two characters and their relationship that ultimately gives the film its meaning and its heart.” 

Years of fighting the elements and stress from the constant threat of attack have taken their toll, yet Charley and Boss have managed to find a level of comfort with each other that keeps them together against all odds. Boss even jokes to Sue that he and Charley have no need for a wife or home since they're already "just like an old married couple.” But all teasing aside, the way each constantly challenges the other's actions and opinions, always with respect, is the hallmark of their complicated connection. 

Luckily for the filmmakers, Duvall made the choice to get on board within 24 hours of reading the script. "I just knew I wanted to be in it,” declares Duvall. "It's a real classic Western, and they offered me a wonderful part.” But Duvall almost didn't make it to the set. In April 2002, while preparing for the film in Virginia, Duvall was bucked off a horse and broke six ribs. Had it happened closer to the film, he would not have healed soon enough. Even after his bones were mended, it was a psychological challenge to get back up in the saddle. 

"I was a little hesitant to get back on a horse,” admits Duvall, "but the wranglers, the Bews brothers, were very helpful, and after a while I got in the groove of it and it was fine. It was tough, but I knew I wanted to do the film, so I knew I had to recuperate.” 

Perhaps no one was more thankful for Duvall's strength than his director. "The language fit his rhythms,” says an admiring Costner. "The situations, as I knew them to be, I knew he could control magnificently. All that really came to bear. I think this could be a pinnacle moment in his career, this role and how's he played it.” 

Costner had already agreed to play the enigmatic Charley Waite. "What you see in Charley is a classic character. You almost don't know about him, and then suddenly he begins to reveal himself and a violent past,” says Costner. "He's a good man who thinks he's bad.” 

Costner's character was a decade younger in the original book and given very little background. Rewriting the part wasn't merely to accommodate the director, says Storper, but "to incorporate a deeper, richer, more experiential subtext for the character. If you made it to forty in 1882 while living out of saddlebags, you had a lot of life experience. And life teaches you things, good and bad, so the man you are at forty is very dif

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