Hollywood star Kevin Costner loves being an actor, because he gets to play characters who are "smarter and braver" than he is.

The OSCAR-winning filmmaker says the beauty of cinema is the power it has to make audiences identify with all sorts of people.

And the 49-year-old DANCES WITH WOLVES star admits he has a preference for westerns, because he's always playing a tough guy.

He tells website PAGE SIX, "Clearly, I play people who are smarter and braver than I am. But the truth is, when I watch movies, I look and see how I wished I'd behaved in a critical situation. That's why westerns are so special to me.

"Back then, people didn't have anybody to arbitrate their problems You got by on your wit, wisdom and toughness. Movies have always been that for me - a learning experience."

30/01/2004 16:58