Kevin Costner back in saddle with A&E

Actor-director set for four-hour Western miniseries

Kevin Costner is returning to the Western genre with a new miniseries project at A&E.

The "Dances With Wolves" actor-director is developing a four-hour movie for the cable network.

The untitled project has Costner partnering with producer Armyan Bernstein ("The Hurricane," "Open Range") to tell a post-Civil War story covering a major conflict in the settlement of the West. Costner will executive produce and might direct part of the miniseries.

"Costner understands the Western better than anybody, and he respects the genre," said Tana Nugent Jamieson, the network's senior vp drama programming. "He knows every bit of detail about the West; this is a genre he feels a lot of passion for. It's a perfect fit."

Costner might also appear in the project, depending on the final script. Jamieson said Costner has expressed interested in one of the roles, which is being drafted.

"There is a character that he's interested in, and we're hoping he will potentially play, but until we have a script we can't say too much," she said.

The project will be announced at A&E's upfront presentation Thursday along with the network's other new scripted developments. If greenlighted, the Western will be the network's second miniseries following last year's adaptation of "The Andromeda Strain," which became A&E's second-most watched program ever (4.9 million viewers) and earned seven Emmy nominations. Jamieson said A&E hopes to have one big event miniseries a year.

In addition to "Wolves," which won the Oscar for best picture of 1990, Costner also appeared in the Westerns "Silverado," "Wyatt Earp" and "Open Range."