You’ve heard of the ‘McConaissance’. Well now another movie star considered past his best makes a high profile return to the big screen, as Kevin Costner toplines kinetic thriller 3 DAYS TO KILL.
Though associated with a sequence of megabuck flops, Costner has been one of Hollywood’s true risk takers. It paid off in Oscars for DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990), where he did everything except sing the theme tune. Roles in hits such as THE BODYGUARD (1992) followed. But after Clint Eastwood’s A PERFECT WORLD (1993) came WATERWORLD. Throwing money at a sea-based knock-off of MAD MAX was never going to set the box office alight, more give it a drenching. THE POSTMAN (1997) actually had Costner singing the theme tune and that failure appeared to round off his career as a big leading man. Yet the movies never forgot about Kev and in recent years he’s been rediscovered, with prestigious supporting roles in MAN OF STEEL and Kenneth Branagh’s seal of approval in JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT. The TV saga Hatfields & McCoys netted him a Stetson full of awards. Now to consolidate this resurgence, Costner is banking on a frantic actioner with an unusual combination of crew and cast.
Scripted by the creator of LEON Luc Besson and directed by CHARLIE’S ANGELS helmer McG, 3 DAYS TO KILL finds the star in no nonsense mode as Ethan Renner. Renner is a seasoned CIA agent with a ticking time bomb of a body, fighting against arms dealers, brain cancer and bad medicine, all the while attempting to rebuild a relationship with his wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). The overheated plot reads like a cross between BREAKING BAD and TRUE LIES, and is the sort of high concept popcorn flick Besson has come to specialize in. Developing a sideline as an action scribe a few years back with THE TRANSPORTER franchise, this most recent partnership with a former music video director appears to be a full-blooded attempt to storm the multiplexes.
Speaking at a press conference, Costner wasn’t afraid to tackle questions about the movie’s breakneck pace in relation to his advancing age:
“It used to be that my stunt guy and I would talk about it (his stunt career), and talk about when it was time for him to take over. The way you know you’re getting older, we’d look at the thing and he’d go, “You could make it.” I could tell that he’s started getting scared. I said, “I can’t.” So, there is an evolving thing… Whenever you can put the audience in the car, on the horse, or carrying your daughter, they’re now in the movie. But stunts have always had their place, and I have to measure them now. I’ve done things where, if I make a mistake, I could die. You really need to look at each thing… So, I have gone from doing everything, to listening and saying, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this.”
Costner also talked about his approach to performance. For a man with so many shoots under his belt he was in surprisingly humble mode:
“I’ve never changed my approach to acting. I’ve always felt like I’ve gotten better. I think that all of us can get better. I feel like, in my acting, I’m better than I was three pictures ago. I think about it. I’m a slow study. It takes me a long time to grasp the material, in order to perform it. But when I come to the set, on the first day, I know the whole movie. That’s why I have to start so early. So, I have learned my own patterns, and I have watched other good actors. I have done what every good actor does and stolen ideas. You see things. You stand on the shoulders of people…. I’ve always loved the business. I’m a romantic about it. But for me, this business is always pushing a rock uphill, it feels like.”
The star is also recognized for his appearances in sporting movies such as FIELD OF DREAMS (1989), TIN CUP (1996) and FOR LOVE OF THE GAME (1999). He applies a game mentality when questioned about his relationship with the director:
“There’s going to be times when you have a different approach on a scene, that just shouldn’t happen very often, and it didn’t with us… When I direct, I tell my actors, “There’s going to be a day when I’m not as good as others, and on those days, I really need for you to be good.”… So for me, my pledge is always, on that day, if the director will tell me, “Hey, I’m not really feeling that good,” I get a little bit stronger. I’m a coach’s coaching player. I like to be on the floor. So, if the coach tells me what to do out on the floor, I can get it done. I’m really comfortable being directed.”
One of Costner’s main co-stars is Amber Heard, who plays Renner’s employer, the bogglingly-christened Vivi Delay. Arguably as famous for her relationship with Johnny Depp than for her numerous acting roles (DRIVE ANGRY, THE RUM DIARY), she outlined the filmmakers’ refreshing approach to the male-female relationships in the movie:
“Our relationship is an interesting one, and it’s the power struggle of these two strong characters constantly going against each other. What’s interesting is that he’s very accomplished and he’s very good at his job. He’s tried and true. He’s a veteran of the trade that they’re in. And she’s a whole other school. It’s a new school. It’s very completely opposite, in some ways. They’re adversaries, which is what I liked. It’s rare that you see that dynamic between a man and a woman in a film. I liked that that didn’t bother or hinder McG’s imagination, or his desire to see that come to fruition. He didn’t care. It was like, why couldn’t I be his boss, just because I wear high heels? You don’t see that often, which is why I liked it.”
With its combination of old and new blood, plus a sledgehammer storyline set amongst a series of glamorous Parisian locations, 3 DAYS TO KILL is poised to take out a hit on the global box office, as well as re-establish Kevin Costner as a name to go above the title rather than propping it up.
3 DAYS TO KILL is out now.
Interview Source: Collider