The Heart of Kevin Costner ~ My Exclusive Interview
*I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney and ABC. All opinions are 100% my own and we only recommend shows that are a great fit for our readers.
Let me start off by telling you that I hope I can convey, through this post, what an amazing man Kevin Costner is. Outside of being a brilliant and talented actor; there was one common theme during every interview of different people involved in creating McFarland USA and that was that Kevin Costner is an amazing man. I felt like I needed to open this post the same way each of the other interviews about McFarland USA opened; with a tribute to the kind of man Kevin Costner is. It’s something I never expected and something that probably doesn’t get enough attention.
I have always been a huge Kevin Costner fan with The Bodyguard, Field of Dreams, and *hellooo* Dances With Wolves. I never really thought about what kind of man he was ‘off screen’. You never really hear anything about him in the tabloids, so I guess, that should be a hint that he’s a great guy LOL Every interview about McFarland USA started with an impromptu ‘tribute’, if you will, to Kevin Costner. How amazing is it that this man took the time to truly make an impact; not just with an amazing and meaningful movie, but personally. Kevin Costner made a conscious choice to get to know everyone involved with this movie. It takes effort and love, true love of people, to impact people to make a difference.
We walked in the room where we were going to interview Kevin Costner at the W Hollywood. Everyone was so excited and chatting about the interview. After hearing everything everyone who has been working with Kevin Costner over the last few years had to say, I was kind of expecting Jesus to float into the room. When the announcement came “He’s on his way…”, I got butterflies. Then he walked in; all normal and stuff. He was a normal man and so, very down-to-earth. When he talked to us, it was like we were just hanging out with him
The question was asked early in the interview about what the most rewarding part was for him, in making McFarland USA. His answer was:
I’ve had such a journey in the business. I wanted direction probably like everybody, about what are you gonna do in your life. When I found movies, to me, it was like recess. I wasn’t very good in school but when that bell went and I could go out and play and make up my own life and do whatever I wanted to do, that’s what I wanted in life. Now that may sound like Peter Pan but that’s what I wanted.
I wanted to be absolutely interested in everything that I did and that began to happen for me. So as I conduct my career going forward, it’s obviously more than just movies. Movies are a small part of my life. They’re an important part. They’re the tip of the iceberg that the rest of the world sees, but they’re a very small part of my life. The rewarding part of something like McFarland is that, I don’t plan my life so much to the point that I miss something like McFarland, a little story about Latinos and, and a community that I actually participated against in high school.
I played against McFarland in baseball. I lived in Visalia, up in the central valley so the important thing for me was that I was able to participate in this movie and highlight a culture that we see all the time; driving down our highways, looking off to the left and right, and somehow we just keep driving, right? We’re not supposed to text and we’re not supposed to stop our car to look. But that is how the food gets to us (He’s referring to the ‘pickers’; the Hispanic community, in McFarland, that picks our crops so they can get to us). Movies have been a joy for me. And so one that would highlight this little town and there are little McFarlands everywhere in America; I like that. It’s a very important part of my filmography to be a part of this movie.
It is no coincidence that, just about, every movie Kevin Costner has done has had deeper meaning than what was on the outside. He’s done several movies, now, that were based on true stories. I am such a huge fan of real-life inspirational stories and Kevin Costner does such an amazing job with them. You can see he has a heart for people and telling their stories. His interview was so full of great insight into who he is and who he thinks we all should strive to be; better. Next Kevin Costner was asked what kind of training he had to do for the film and this was his reply:
Training? I hate running and so that’s why I enjoyed being the coach. One time I ran with them, and as you see in the movie, I quit. I played the coach part really well. I sat down and had a Coca Cola. I didn’t have to train for this really. It was pretty spelled out for me in the script, what I would do. It was a sport I was unfamiliar with and it was one I would try to have to educate myself with. It was one I would have to coach without facilities that the schools we would be competing against probably had. I had to try to be resourceful and the script gave me those opportunities. There was not really any training involved for me. There was just being heavily involved in these young men’s lives, you know?
There was so much more about the movie than the finish line. The finish line’s for them. You can give young people something to shoot for and what we realize, watching this movie, is that when we do, they can somehow exceed beyond their own expectations; we realize that’s actually in front of all our children. If you really want to get specific about it, it’s actually in front of us, too. Wherever you’re at in your life, there is a chance to do something else in your life. We’re not done; we’re not done at all. We’re here, you’re doing your job but what you want to be in your life is still in front of you. The same things that we offer our children, we shouldn’t be so ignorant to not offer up to ourselves.
Then the last question was asked; the question I really wanted to have the answer to: What was the most emotional part of the movie for you? This was Kevin Costner’s answer:
The most emotional part? The movie was filled with a lot, so to drill down on a single moment, but the important — one of the highlights of the movie is where it’s supposed to be; before the last race. They have gone from not knowing anything about what was possible to sensing that everything was suddenly possible, and what happened? They found themselves in the last race, and they saw the buses drive up that were bigger than their bus, shinier. They saw kids come out of the buses in uniforms that were better. The kids were bigger. All of a sudden they started to shrink back. They started to go back in their minds to McFarland. They suddenly weren’t gonna be able to maybe compete at this level. That’s where men, older men and older women will always be at their most useful; to look at them and see the fear in somebody’s eyes, the doubt in somebody’s eyes and to say no, you belong here.
When you make someone feel like they belong, they start to feel like giants. What happened? They won. And they continued to win, and it was all because somebody said it’s possible if you’re willing to work at it. An emotional thing for me always is; my hope that somebody talks to my sons or daughters that way should I not be around, about what’s possible. I think that’s what we all want for even ourselves, but more importantly we always want it for our children. So that was the most emotional.
Be sure to go check out McFarland USA when it comes out this week! In the meantime, watch this trailer from the movie. You’ll be happy you did 😀
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MCFARLAND, USA opens in theaters everywhere on February 20, 2015!