At the movies

Kevin Costner does it his way

 
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

These past few years, it’s been pretty hard to get Kevin Costner off his back porch. He lives in Aspen, so we kind of understand. He’s been raising three children under the age of 10 with his second wife, Christine.

“Half my life is driving kids to practice,” he jokes.

There were the business ventures — one of them, Ocean Therapy Solutions, an oil spill cleaning system, became famous thanks to the BP oil spill. Another, ArmStar, is a non-lethal weapon he’s selling to the Pentagon that could allow the military and police to pacify violent situations without killing anybody.

“A lotta fascinating [stuff] happens on my back porch,” Costner says with a laugh. “And I’ve never been a guy who makes movies back to back to back. I love movies, love acting, love directing. Hell, I even love rehearsing. But I have a more full life than that.”

Open this weekend is the gonzo action comedy 3 Days to Kill. Costner plays C.I.A. contract killer Ethan Renner, a “cleaner,” who learns he’s dying of cancer. His new control agent ( Amber Heard) bribes him with a serum that might prolong his life, providing he carry out one last series of hits in Paris, where his estranged wife and the teen daughter he barely knows live.

“I like Ethan’s directness — in his job, and how discombobulated he becomes trying to deal with the women in his life,” Costner says. “We played those scenes fun, because he’s struggling.”

He likes, he says, the fact that this character hasn’t a clue about women — especially teenage ones.

“Welcome to the human race,” Costner laughs. “If you know a lot about women, please write that book. For the rest of us. Give us a hand.”

Costner shows every wrinkle, every gray hair in 3 Days. He wanted to play a man “wed to his job,” who has paid the price for that. He wanted to play a dying man who does what guys sometimes do in that situation. “He wants to earn a lot of money, doing these last few jobs, so he can leave his family something. If he can’t leave them memories, he'll leave them money.”

Not that this explains Costner’s own suddenly full movie dance card. He'll admit he’s in “the second half of my career,” but don’t go measuring him for a coffin just yet. And don’t write off 3 Days as a morose thriller. No, it’s got laughs.

“I try to get my hammer without winking,” Costner says. “I try to get the laugh with my physical movement, in those scenes. By making it quiet, you make it work.”

Roger Moore

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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