There are certain moments in your life that you will remember forever, and interviewing Kevin Costner is definitely one of mine! It was such a special opportunity being able to get Kevin in our own interview. He walked into the room wearing his sunglasses, in his suit, and every bit the Kevin I see in my mind when I picture him. He is taller than I thought he would be and so dang skinny (but strong) and he looked
He came in and sat down at the table and took off his glasses with a big smile on his face (as you can see in the picture above) and said:
I thought I was gonna have some help. You know, there’s nothing more important or more demanding than a room full of mommies.
By help he was referring to having other people sitting with him during the interview, but we were privileged to have him all to ourselves for 20 fabulous minutes. After he got situated, the first question was asked …
Q : What was the most rewarding part?
…but he smiled and in his yummy voice he said…
Well before we go on, number one, good morning and everything else, but to make this the very best it can be for you, since I’ve never done this, should the answers be shorter or should they be the way I talk?
We all agreed that they should just be the way he talks. We want to get to know the “real” Kevin and what better way??? The interview was amazing. You will love what he says. It gives you a whole new perspective on the incredible person he is.
Q : So what was the most rewarding part about making this movie?
KC : I’ll tell you, I’ve had such a journey in the business. I wanted direction, like probably everybody, about what are you gonna do in your life. And when I found movies 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. That began to happen for me and 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. And the rewarding part of something about 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 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.
Movies have been a joy for me. And so one that would highlight this little town and there’s little McFarland’s everywhere in America you know, I like that. It’s a very important part of my filmography to be a part of this movie.
Q : So what kind of training did you have to do for the film?
KC : 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. And I didn’t have to train for this really.
It was pretty spelled out for me in the script, what I would do, which was, it was a sport I was unfamiliar with. It was one I would try to have to educate myself with. It was one I would have to coach without facilities, that probably the schools we would be competing against, had. So I had to try to be resourceful, and the script gave me those opportunities to be that. So there was not really any training involved for me. There was just being heavily involved in these young men’s lives.
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. You know, so we realize that’s actually in front of all our children. And if you really want to get specific about it, it’s actually in front of us, too. Uh, wherever you’re at in your life, you know, there is a chance to do something else in your life. We’re not done.
You know, we’re not done at all. Uh, you know, 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.
Q : How much time did you spend with Jim White? (the question sounded like Jim’s Wife, not Jim White…)
KC : How much time did I spend with his wife? [LAUGH] This is a mommy blog I guess.
This made us all laugh so hard!
KC : I met him before shooting and then he would come to the set and he would talk and he was just kind of seeing everything, all the equipment, all the people, all the trucks for the very first time, wondering like everybody, who watches a movie for this first time, how come it takes this long? So I was able to glean things off of him, not necessarily change them — what was scripted, ‘cause we took a little license with his character but not with the story, not with the outcome and not with the nine championships.
This was my question. I had a little bit different one, but other questions for asked, or with the answers he gave I felt the need to revise it a little.
Q : You said you played against them in high school. How did that affect your attitude going into the film?
KC : Well I have grown up around migrant farmer workers if you will. When I left Compton, that’s where I was born, I moved up to a place called Ojai and there were orchards up there. I then moved down to a place called Ventura and that was just all agricultural, and then went to a little Mexican barrio school called Saticoy. So a lot of the kids I competed with, their fathers were pickers.
And when I lived in Visalia, all the central valley is all agriculture and great big Latino communities. And so I had competed with and fought with, and laughed with Mexican kids pretty much my whole life.
Q : What is it about sports films that you find so appealing?
KC : Well there’s a lot of sports films that come to me that I never do because they’re not very appealing. They maybe are too much about sports or they’re too obvious or they’re too whatever. When I run into one…the best ones are about people, obviously, and there’s less sports in it than you would imagine. You know, the ones that try to make a wall-to-wall sports movie might as well make a documentary or watch that on ESPN.
Uh, it’s really, we always are wanting to see ourselves in the movies. Um, and I think that, uh, you know, if you saw yourself as being Maria Bello, you know, you saw how honest her portrayal was of being shipped around because of her husband into a community that maybe didn’t look like it was gonna be so much fun. But, you know, the women in our lives, you know, are, you know, the ones that kind of almost make everything possible to come home to.
KC : For as impossible as everything is outside, to be able to come home and have your partner stand for you. I know my wife stood for me when I decided that I would make Black or White. I don’t know how many of you have seen Black or White. Anybody seen Black or White?
We all answered – Not yet – since we hadn’t seen the movie yet. He got a wide-eyed look of shock on his face and looked at all of us and said:
KC : What the f***? I made it for you and I don’t mean that, I don’t mean that, I don’t mean that in a, in a trivial sense at all. I made that movie for you because we’re living in this time where we don’t understand how to talk with each other, and things get said in that movie that are things that I think after you watch that movie, that you’ll wish you would’ve said and that tries to inform. So I do hope that you go see Black or White.
After a short pause he smiles and asks
KC : Um, what was the question?
We all laughed, and I am not sure that any us remembered because we were still reeling from his previous comments. He is so funny! Another question was asked about Black or White…
Q : I believe your daughter sings in that movie.
KC : My daughter does sing in that movie. She’s the most beautiful little 28-year-old you’ll ever imagine. I was thrilled to have her. But no, I was very proud of that movie about what gets said. You know, it helps us to go forward, a movie like McFarland is the same thing. You know, we see our — we kind of see a reflection of ourselves and, and these, and this community and these young people.
And, uh, you know, we were talking about partnership, and my wife, when no one wanted to make Black or White, which you haven’t seen, I said I’m gonna use my own money to make it, ‘cause I feel like, I feel like people will feel like I feel like after they, after they see it, you know? Maybe I’m out of touch. Maybe that’s — maybe I’m out of touch, um, but I thought that that would be a movie that would help change you a little bit.
Q : So the director and the producers knew when they got the script, they wanted you to play the part. So is the coach Jim White, was it easy for you to slip into his character?
KC : Yeah, yeah. I think that there was a reason why Niki wanted me to play it, and when I read it I could see how I could do this and why I would do it.
Niki Caro is the Director of McFarland, USA. I think she was 100% accurate in her casting for this movie. Everything was perfect and the chemistry on screen was real and amazing.
Q : What was it like working with the boys? Mr. White in real life is like a father figure to them. Were you kind of like a father figure to the boys on set?
KC : I didn’t try to be. I think that you understand that I’m in that position where that could happen, so it’s better to let that happen than to just go in and be Yoda and be able to have all this stuff that you can tell them. It’s more authentic when they actually come to you and you’re not just spouting off. Nothing was off limits when they would come to me to talk to me. And they began to understand that and I think hopefully appreciate that.
And it was important for me, for them to be good. It was important for me to let them know that they needed to be even more prepared for Niki (Caro – the Director), that that’s who gave them a big shot in their life. They owe it to her to be as prepared as they can, every day. And so I would talk to them a lot about professionalism, about what you do, because there’s plenty of fun, right?
Suddenly the bell rang for them too, right? It’s recess. They’re out playing too, and they’re getting paid for it. You can get carried away with that and forget that you have a job. And so we talked about that. And then the more comfortable they began, they wanted to know about all the girls I kissed. And of course I told them if you want to keep kissing girls, the best way to do that is to not talk about it.
Q : What was the most emotional part of the movie for you?
KC : The most emotional part? The movie was filled with a lot, so to drill down on a single moment…but one of the highlights of the movie is where it’s supposed to be. It’s before the last race.
They’ve 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. So 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. And that’s where men, older men and, and older woman 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.
And 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. So an emotional thing for me always is, I hope somebody talks to my sons or daughters that way should I not be around, about what’s possible. And 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.
After the interview we were able to gather around Kevin and get a picture with him. This was awesome! I got to stand next to him and afterwards he shook my hand. *melt*.
This interview was truly touching and affected me. He had so many amazing and positive things to say and you could feel it and know that he believed them and that is how he feels and thinks. Someone who I have watched on the big screen for years and admired from afar became someone I look up to and have a deep respect for now after this interview. Meeting him and listening to him was unlike any other interview I have done.
While we were interview Niki Caro (the Director) she told us that Kevin had said “There is nothing more American, than parents wanting more for their children” in another interview. That is so beautiful and so true! I love that she shared that with us, and it lets you know just how genuine and humble he is as a person.
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If you haven’t seen the preview yet – here you go:
McFARLAND, USA is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on February 20th!
This was an all expense paid trip provided by Disney. All opinions expressed are my own.