With a lifetime’s worth of achievements and more than four dozen credits in film and television, Kevin Costner has faced his share of ups-and-downs. Even with the actor’s clout, his latest venture, Black or White, sat in development for years, and studios eventually refused to finance it. This led to his ultimate decision to fund half of the production costs himself as a way to fulfill a promise he made to his friend and Black or White writer-director, Mike Binder. Opening up in an exclusive interview with AARP The Magazine, Costner delves into the passions that drive him, his life as a family man, and the determination that drives him to overcome obstacles.
The following are excerpts from the December/January issue of the AARP The Magazine cover story featuring Kevin Costner, available in homes today and online NOW at www.aarp.org/magazine.
On the theme of his new film, Black or White:
“Nobody likes to talk about race, and everybody finds it difficult. This platform is a jumping-off point for having this discussion.”
On the uphill battles he’s faced while making many of his movies:
“There’s a certain joy that comes with a struggle. I think most people want the endgame. I’ve always liked the journey.”
On how he pushes back against fears of mortality:
“I get on the floor with my kids and play harder. I’d love to live forever. That’s how much I love life.”
On play time with his younger kids:
“I have never played a video game, so I’m not on Xbox. But I teach the kids about hunting and fishing, and we fight. The kids want to be wrestled. They want to be physical. I’m really kind of basic.”
On how his relationship with current wife Christine Baumgartner bloomed:
“It just grew, and it grew, and it grew. We got married, and we have an incredible family together. And while our life isn’t perfect, it’s perfect for us. And she’s perfect for me.”
On how he answers the question of what’s on his bucket list:
“A lot of times you get a question like, ‘Hey, would you go to outer space if you had the chance?’ Maybe eight out of 10 people would say, ‘I’d get on that rocket in a second.’ You ask me? No. I’m staying here. I like it on Earth. I want to have as much time on this Earth as I can.”
On his continued momentum:
“People say, ‘Man, this should be the moment in time where you’re pulling back and catching some waves.’ I don’t think they’re wrong. But it’s not my way.”
On his heightened appreciation for how his life turned out:
“I’m really grateful that so many of the things I hoped I would be I got to be.”
Black or White Writer-Director Mike Binder on Kevin Costner’s work ethic:
“Kevin doesn’t follow the crowd. And he’s a genuine guy. Whenever someone might think, ‘Oh, he’s just a big movie star, and this is just a business thing,’ he does something that says, ‘Hey, I’m your buddy.”
Draft Day Director Ivan Reitman on Kevin Costner’s personal integrity:
“I think Kevin is a highly moral individual, and I never felt that he was pulling any kind of star stuff with me. He was very direct, very real and very gracious all the time. And he didn’t go back on his word, ever.”
Kevin Costner’s Rules for Living
- Know Thyself: “I wasn’t good at academics, but when I hit on acting, everything changed. I started to study. I was on fire. I had found my place. I wasn’t guessing anymore at what it was.”
- Play Tough: “People think things are easy for me. They’re not. I thought Black or White was worth making, just like Dances and Bull Durham. I think it only increased my desire because they were hard.”
- Try, Try Again: “We don’t have to get to the ending, but if we think we’re on the right trail, we’re kind of OK. I wait for the big “No” to hit me, and when it doesn’t, I keep going.”
- Remain Curious: “If you can stay interested in what you’re doing, it will keep you younger. Being engaged in what you do will sustain you.”
- Honor Your Commitments: “People need to stick with their word. If you tell someone you’re going to do something, their heart’s going to be broken if you don’t.”
- Bet to Win: “You just gotta take that shot. When you shoot, you’re not thinking about losing. The guy who may be thinking about losing won’t take that shot. He has lost anyway.”
For the complete interview, along with behind the scenes video, check out http://www.aarp.org/magazine/.
About AARP The Magazine
With more than 35.2 million readers, AARP The Magazine is the world’s largest circulation magazine and the definitive lifestyle publication for Americans 50+. AARP The Magazine delivers comprehensive content through health and fitness features, financial guidance, consumer interest information and tips, celebrity interviews, and book and movie reviews. AARP The Magazine was founded in 1958 and is published bimonthly in print and continually online. Learn more at www.aarpmagazine.org.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.