Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'3 Days to Kill' Gives Costner a Role with Action, Sensitivity

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'3 Days to Kill' Gives Costner a Role with Action, Sensitivity

Article excerpt

Is Kevin Costner the Rasputin of Hollywood?

He has survived bombs of the box office variety, barbs and poison pens. His career has seen higher highs and lower lows than the weirdest of roller coasters.

But here he is, riding awards for "Hatfields & McCoys," praise and major-league grosses for "Man of Steel" and no fewer than five films on this year's slate. Among these: an action-espionage flick ("Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"); the kind of inside-sports movie that is right in his wheelhouse ("Draft Day"); a self-funded passion project ("Black and White"); another sports movie, this one by the director of "Whale Rider" ("McFarland"); and the new Luc Besson- shepherded, McG-directed multigenre hybrid, "3 Days to Kill."

"Yeah, I didn't draw it up that way. Some of these movies could have come out a lot earlier," Costner says by phone from his Santa Barbara home. "I don't act as much as other actors in my category, by any stretch. I take years off sometimes. In this instance, my wife and I had three little babies. I had kind of stayed out of the scene for a few years, and I had never worked back-to-back, but I did in this instance."

"3 Days" finds Costner in familiar holster as a government- sanctioned assassin, this one an estranged father trying to reconnect with his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and wife (Connie Nielsen) in Paris after learning he has terminal cancer. But of course, there's "one more job" and bad guys galore.

"The CIA guy who's let his family fall into disarray ... it's a cliche in those kinds of movies," he acknowledges. "The difference is the family's not just in the first eight minutes and then you never see them again. They're throughout this movie, how he has to deal with them."

Director McG ("Charlie's Angels") says in a separate interview that the baggage the actor brings helps audiences get on board.

"You look at him and say, 'That guy's paid his dues. That guy's done it his way.' And that's critical to the role. And you have to have a heart of gold beneath a tough exterior. When it comes to marrying those two elements, he's the heavyweight champ. Seriously. It was his time to embody those things," the director says.

"I think there are few people who can handle the dramatic weight of the role, of being a father, and the action elements, and the humor elements," he says, adding that while it's not that hard to get two out of three in an actor, it's rare to find all three. "It makes for an unforgettable character. I can't imagine anybody else doing it. I think Clint Eastwood, a few years ago. But now Kevin Costner, he's in a class by himself."

"3 Days" does a balancing act with its set-piece violence, grizzled comic moments, and the father-daughter story at the movie's core. The 59-year-old star still looks good doling out concussions. …

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