Kevin Costner Interview – ‘Man of Steel’.
Kevin Costner, 58, is an actor, director, singer, and musician. He’s here in Los Angeles to promote his latest movie, Man of Steel, in which he plays, Jonathan Kent, father of Clark Kent.
Dressed casually in a white shirt and grey trousers, he’s still handsome, suntanned and fit. He’s in a good mood this morning, and he laughs easily and seems very comfortable in his skin. Charming and intelligent, he’s a true professional.
Costner has two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and has been nominated for three BAFTAs. He’s starred in such classics as Bull Durham, The Untouchables, Dances with Wolves, JFK, Field of Dreams, Revenge, Waterworld, and The Bodyguard. He’s currently starring in the TV series, Hatfields and McCoys.
In his personal life, Costner was married to high school sweetheart, Cindy Silva for 16 years, and they produced three children. He also has a son with Bridget Rooney, with whom he had a brief relationship following his divorce. He lived in Elle Macpherson during 1996, and later in 2004, he married his girlfriend of four years, Christine Baumgartner, with whom he has three children.
Did you grow up seeing the Superman movies and reading the comics?
No, I didn’t do that. But listen, I didn’t collect baseball cards either and I’ve made three baseball movies. So I didn’t come to this with like, “Ooh I want to be in a Superman movie.” I thought I never would be in a Superman movie.
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
I don’t know. I don’t think I identified with one. But I understood very clearly when a heroic moment was taking place and I was thrilled with it. And you know, you go from a moment of being thrilled by watching someone save someone and then you take that pause and go, ‘I wonder if I could have done that? I wonder if I will do that when I grow up to be a man?’ But one thing you know is, you think, ‘I hope that I’m that person.’
What about the Superman curse? Were you worried about that?
I didn’t know about the Superman curse. And you know, listen, there’s a curse on baseball movies and I made three of them. Cowboy movies aren’t supposed to be in vogue. I still like them. You know I’m still out there pitching the hell out of them. ‘Man they’re going to love this?’ And they’re going like, ‘Who? International doesn’t want them.’ I wasn’t worried about anything like that. Maybe I should have read more. Had I known about that curse, we might not be talking (laughs)
Did you check out online all the blogs about this movie and all the characters? The fans are pretty crazy.
No, because you can be so happy with five of them and then have your day devastated with one. It’s like in life, sometimes we worry about the things that you know matter the least and don’t focus on the things that matter the most. And you know when you start searching for your name, you might be thrilled with what a lot of people say and it just takes one person. And it can hurt your feelings but I have been aware of the fan bases and stuff like that and realize how deeply involved they are. In fact, you know, I am creating material for that kind of fan myself right now currently. So, you know, how it will be received depends upon you know how good it is, I guess. But I’m aware of them. They’re part of the news now. That’s a yearly thing that can’t be ignored what goes on there at Comicon. When you see the studios completely catering to those events, then you know they’re really serious. You know, that community out there is a serious community.
What’s the best and worst thing you’ve read about yourself online?
Well I wouldn’t even want to talk about that. We all want to hear good things about ourselves but you know, you know look for those things. And no, it just can be so vile. And the only way you’d know is if it happened to you. That’s the only way you’ll ever know. We’re afforded so much opportunity being famous. We get the best rooms. We get the fruit in our rooms. And sometimes there’s even a piano in it. Incredible things wherever I’ve gone in the world. People reach out to be nice and there are so many great things about what’s happened to me and my life as a result of this. And so I would never give that up. But there’s a whole other thing there. You can just be wrecked by something and be ripped by somebody. You wonder what that’s about. And you go, is that about the fact that I got a bowl of fruit. Is that why I need to be smacked down?
What was your first impression of Henry Cavill?
My first impression of Henry was like, ‘God. I’m just so glad I don’t have to go to the gym.’ You know, he’s an impressive guy. He’s polite. He’s skilled. And let’s face it, he looks the part. I mean that’s what we’ve got going on here. The suit can change. It can be updated. It can be a lot of things. But it’s really unlikely you can do a guy with red hair. You know what I mean? It’s really unlikely you could do a guy, blonde, at this point. We would all be, including me, and I don’t go to Comicon, but I’d be upset. I might join the Comicon!
What about Russell Crowe?
Well, he’s the other planetary father. And he didn’t come down to visit us.
If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
Well, maybe flying. I’ve already said it would be X-ray thing, but then I would be interpreted as a pervert. But x-ray vision, I kind of like the idea. Or there’s being invisible, I think there was a moment in time where that would be a nice feeling. I’d be invisible.
It seems very much a part of American culture to have all these super heroes.
I don’t know that. You know, American culture, these movies seem to do huge worldwide. But I don’t understand them completely. I don’t understand superheroes. But I can understand that they’re loved, because there’s all this empirical evidence, you know, making the first second third, I don’t know how many this was. But I don’t understand them, you know what I mean? I don’t. I don’t relate to it at all. When you were a kid and you used to shoot somebody, you’d go, ‘I got you.’ You’d go, ‘No you didn’t.’ You go, ‘Yes I did, I got you.’ And then the guy says, ‘I’m Superman. Shit bouncing off me.’ That’s how it must have started, or something like that. ‘It’s just bouncing off me.’ This isn’t a western. So no, I don’t have a grasp of it. And they don’t all work.
Do you think westerns are coming back?
The western will always be here. And it just depends on how good you make one. And one movie doesn’t kill it. And one movie doesn’t preserve it. It’s storytelling. It’s a very American thing. I’ll continue to do it.
What makes your TV show, Hatfields and McCoys so successful?
It’s the writing. It’s writing. It’s what people say to each other. Westerns aren’t about the gunfight, even though it has to be there at one point. It’s not what they’re about, at least the good ones. It’s about the drama. It’s about the resourcefulness of men and women. It’s about violence and it’s about truly not understanding what it was like to live during that time until you see it, a moment that’s created that would put doubt in your mind as to how you would have behaved at that same moment, what you would have done. What kind of man are you when that circumstance. I’m not talking about the obvious thing. But when you draw a western correctly, you create such drama, such dilemma that you think you almost don’t want to admit who you might have been.
A lot of people thought Avatar was the same story as Dances with Wolves.
I was told that. But I thought it was a beautiful story what he told but I didn’t think that. I didn’t think they were the same. But a lot of people told me that. I didn’t think so. I couldn’t have made that movie. I mean that’s just great filmmaking.
You took a huge risk when you made Dances with Wolves and people thought it wasn’t going to work. It proves that we still need to make risks instead of doing what everyone says we should do.
Yeah, listen, conventional wisdom is so scary because what if everybody’s wrong? You know what if everybody’s wrong in life? And so you have to live your life yourself. And conventional wisdom can get us into so much trouble, especially as artists. The truth is I just want do things that are original and throw an original spin on them. But I don’t take much stock in other people’s opinions if I think something’s good, I don’t fall out of love with it. If somebody said my wife’s not beautiful, I’d go, she is. I wouldn’t say, really? No, she is. I know she is. In my mind, you know. So, I’ve never had that fear of going against the grain. I don’t go against the grain because I’m a contrary person. On the contrary, I think I’m a pretty right down the middle guy. I just think that’s kind of who I am. I’m not afraid of my own journey. You know what I mean? And I can’t turn my back on what it is I think I know. I mean I would hate to see a UFO. because it would ruin my life. I would have to talk about it the rest of my life and everybody in the room would go, ‘Poor Kevin.’ Because you could not turn your back on the idea that you saw it. You know what I mean? If you saw one, you would have to do that.
So for me, when I read a story that I think has value and I want to be in it, that doesn’t change for me. It doesn’t fall out of favor for me. I might have to move on because the universe is saying you can’t make this right now. But I’m going to circle back and make it.
That can be scary?
Yeah, well, when you’re really kind of pushing yourself and you don’t even know why, and that curtain is about to open and you say, ‘Why did I try so hard to be in a place where I could fail so badly?’ And so publicly. And not everybody puts themselves in that spot. You know, and it’s a credit to you when you do that because you almost kind of know when you know you’re doing the right thing because you’re not sure you can pull it off.
Are you still doing music?
Yeah, I’m going to play in St. Petersberg. I play around the world. I like new songs. I’m not defining my band by other people’s music, but by my own. I’ll play an hour and a half of original music and could probably play 2 or 3, 4 hours of it. I like it. I feel that moment of, ‘Man I could fail really bad here.’ And I have a pretty good thing going with the acting. You know… What am I doing? (laughs) But I like the idea of playing music for people. I like the idea of what’s happening right here in this room. Somebody might write about what happened here and what they’ll write I don’t know but I’ll know in my heart, if I’m playing music for an hour and a half, I’ll know what happened in the room. I’ll know exactly if it was good or it wasn’t good. If somebody chooses to write something that’s not good it might not really characterize at all what was going on in the room. It’s a very authentic moment for me. An hour and a half to two hours, with an audience.