The most exciting moment for me during the McFarland, USA press trip was interviewing Kevin Costner for his role as Coach Jim White in the film. Imagine, 25 adoring Mom Bloggers alone in a room with Kevin Costner. No other press is around. It’s just us and his undivided attention. That was clearly one of the coolest moments ever for me!
I grew up watching Costner’s films like Field of Dreams and The Bodyguard, so it’s safe to say I’m a longtime fan of his work. His recent work includes Black or White, a film Costner felt so strongly about that he invested his own money into the films’ creation.
McFarland, USA – Kevin Costner Interview
When the debonair Kevin Costner walked into the room he cracked a joke about “not having any help,” meaning his co-stars would not be at the interview table with him. After a quick good morning we got right down to business.
Q: What was the most rewarding part about making this movie?
Costner shares that making movies is like “recess.” He follows up with “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, you know, I don’t plan my life so much to the point that I miss something like McFarland, a little story about Latinos.”
Costner also mentioned that he played against McFarland in high school baseball, and it was a culture he was familiar with. He shares, “for me it’s a very important part of my filmography to be a part of this movie [and} highlight this little town and there’s little McFarland’s everywhere in America.”
Q: What is it about sports films that you find so appealing?
Costner: “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. The best ones are about people, obviously, and there’s less sports in it than you would imagine.”
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?
Costner shares that he didn’t seek out that kind of relationship with the boys, but understood he was in a position where that could happen. He found it more authentic when they came to him, and that “nothing was off limits.” He also said, “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 (Director), that’s who gave them a big shot in their life. And so I would talk to them a lot about professionalism.”
Q: What was the most emotional part of the movie for you?
Costner mentions “that the movie is filled with them, so it’s hard to drill down on a single moment, but that one of the highlights of the movie is before the final race. They’ve gone from not knowing anything about what was possible to sensing that everything was suddenly possible.” One of my favorite quotes from the interview is when Kevin Costner stated, “When you make someone feel like they belong, they start to feel like giants.”
It was such an amazing opportunity to interview Kevin Costner, let alone be in a room with him! He was a superstar that was so down to earth and humble. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity, and I really hope you guys see McFarland, USA opening in theaters this Friday 2/20! Look out for a film review on the blog later this week.
I was invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are mine alone. Pictures courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.