Jul 29, 2020
Academy Award®, Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-Winning Actor Kevin Costner on Creative Integrity and Doing What Makes You Happy in AARP The Magazine
The Decorated Actor and Western Star Shares His Thoughts on Being a Father, Staying True to Oneself and Embracing Spontaneity

WASHINGTON—Known for starring in dozens of critically acclaimed features, two-time Academy Award®-winning actor, director and producer Kevin Costner discusses accountability, transcending clichés and pursuing the best work of his career in an exclusive interview for the August/September issue of AARP The Magazine (ATM).

Costner – the legendary actor, artist and family man who has played the lead role in classic American films like “Bull Durham,” “The Untouchables,” “Dances with Wolves” and “Field of Dreams” – has never been one to shy away from standing up for what he believes in. Since his acting career took off in the 1980s, Costner has gravitated toward authenticity, fighting for creative integrity and injecting his particular brand of accessible masculinity into his work. Costner teaches these same values to his seven children, emphasizing the importance of character. “I want to see what kind of people my kids become,” Costner said. “I don’t care what they do, I want to see who they are.”

This summer, Costner returns to the screen both as John Dutton, the prosperous ranching patriarch, in the third season of Paramount Network’s hit series “Yellowstone,” and as George Blackledge, a retired sheriff faced with an impossible choice in the western noir, “Let Him Go.” In both parts, Costner plays deeply ethical men whose values mirror those of the actor himself.

When he’s not gracing the screen, the multi-talented star focuses his energy on his first love – music. Costner’s country rock band, Modern West recently released a new album, “Tales from Yellowstone,” inspired by the TV show. The band has been playing together for the last 16 years.

At this point in his career, it seems like Costner should be able to do whatever he wants, but the 65-year-old said there is a false perception that things get easier professionally with age. Costner shares, “I’m at that spot in my life, artistically. I should be doing what pleases me.”

The following are excerpts from ATM’s August/September 2020 cover story featuring Kevin Costner available in homes starting in August and available online now at www.aarp.org/magazine/.

On his acting approach:

“It’s not important for me to reinvent history or to set the record straight. I want people to think, That could have been me really easy. And if it were me, what would I have done?”

On being a parent and provider:

“I’m a bit of a survivalist. I’m not a prepper, I’m not a hoarder, but it’s important to me to anticipate things going wrong and make the best move for my family, for my extended family and friends. I take that all on.”

On advice he received from his father growing up:

“I remember stealing a piece of candy one time. I was 6 or 7 years old. Before we left the store, my dad said, ‘I think you need to put the candy back. Why did you take it?’ I said, ‘I was hungry.’ And he said, ‘It’s not yours, so the correct title is, you stole it.’ His point was, you can justify anything. But if you put the correct title on it, it will help guide your decisions in life.”

On his upcoming multi-film project:

“I have it all in my pocket as a great big secret that someday I will let people in on, and hopefully, it will be something they never forget.”

On fighting for creative integrity:

“There have been very critical moments where I had to listen to myself and act and not be afraid of the outcome. I always put the audience on my shoulder. And I will say to Hollywood people, ‘Don’t be too sure they don’t want to see that.’ And that’s what the fight is about. I haven’t always been really successful in certain movies. But I still love it.”

On making a difference through acting:

“…I want to be a part of that moment. What we yearn for, we all yearn for. I know that in my heart.”

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

Media contact: Paola Torres, AARP, 202-434-2555, ptorres@aarp.org