Kevin Costner: 'Draft Day' an American classic

Kevin Costner in a scene from 'Draft Day,' which opens this weekend.

Kevin Costner in a scene from 'Draft Day,' which opens this weekend.

Mark Daniell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - We’ve seen a lot of Kevin Costner on the big screen in the last 12 months.

Hot on the heels of an Emmy-winning run on the mini-series Hatfields & McCoys in 2012, he showed up as Superman’s adoptive dad in last summer’s Man of Steel. Then he played second fiddle to Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan in this past January’s Shadow Recruit. In February, he flexed his action chops, starring in the Liam Neeson-knockoff, 3 Days to Kill.

Now, with the boys of summer dusting off their cleats, he’s back for the second time in 2014 with the football-themed Draft Day.

“It’s never bothered me to work hard,” he says. “I’ve worked on some of the longest schedules in movie history,” he adds name-checking Wyatt Earp, Waterworld and his Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves. If the film is right, and the story speaks to him, he’s happy to put in the time.

“I think I just wanted to work when I came to Hollywood,” he says, reflecting on his 30-plus year career. “I didn’t mind working a hundred Mondays in a row, but I wanted it to be done at some point so that I could move on to something fresh… different.”

In the Ivan Reitman-directed Draft Day, Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr., the fictional GM of the Cleveland Browns. The action takes place over the course of one day in which Weaver Jr., mourning the loss of his father, tries to pull off a blockbuster trade and save his job.

Weaver Jr. also has to grapple with the news his secret girlfriend (Ali, played by Jennifer Garner) is pregnant.

“It’s not just about one day at the draft,” he says, perhaps anticipating some of the knee-jerk reaction from non-football fans. “This movie is not about football. It’s about that age old thing of people who love each other who just can’t seem to get it together for a while and then finally do. We adore that. We want that.”

Having made three baseball films (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For the Love of the Game) and one golf movie (Tin Cup), Costner says the secret to a good sports tale is cutting down on the details and technicalities.

“Yes, there’s the back drop of the NFL, but… you have to try and make it about people. You can’t try and impress people with your knowledge and the X’s and O’s,” he says. “I felt that Draft Day had a chance to be an American classic if we stuck with it. I don’t know if it will be a box office hit, but I think it can be a classic movie, which by definition means it will be shared from generation to generation. To me that’s a mark of a great movie.”

Costner knows some of his films haven’t always passed the sniff test with moviegoers, but he’s always trusted his gut. Something he plans to continue with his next film, the racial drama Black and White, which he helped finance.

“My instincts were wildly in play late in my career,” he says. “I have (instinctively) thought I could do things with my life and I followed them up by sometimes putting everything I had at risk; my money, my house, to make a movie… (But) I’ve never been afraid of things not working. I think it is an underrated experience in life.”

Twitter: @markhdaniell

mark.daniell@sunmedia.ca


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