‘3 Days to Kill’ Director McG Weighs in on Kevin Costner vs. Liam Neeson Throwdown

It has been a busy year for Kevin Costner, who has appeared in multiple action films including “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” and “Man of Steel.”

At the Feb. 12 premiere of his latest project “3 Days to Kill” at the ArcLight Hollywood, Costner was joined by co-stars Connie Nielsen and Amber Heard (who arrived with fiancée Johnny Depp), as well as the film’s director McG.

Costner, who walked the red carpet with his wife Christine Baumgartner, said he could relate to his character’s struggle to balance work and family, especially given the jam-packed shooting schedule he has been juggling recently.

“I’ve tried to be careful with that in my life. It’s important that I work – that I support my family, but I think we always look for a balance,” Costner explained. “We knew that I was going to work a lot this last year and a half (which) translated into these movies. We talked about it.”

Nielsen said working on “3 Days to Kill” was “effortless,” citing the script as the primary factor that attracted her to the film.

“Every character seems to have something that’s really true,” Nielsen said. “That’s unusual for a story that has this much fun and action going on.”

Though she doesn’t usually watch her own movies, Nielsen noted that she would be making an exception by seeing this one.

Heard, sporting her sparkly engagement ring, posed for photos with Depp and then flew solo while talking to the press. She said the hardest aspect of playing her role as a double agent was trying to stay warm while shooting.

“Anything that was filmed outside was a pain in the ass to make and was grueling,” Heard said. “It was freezing – dead of winter – and I’m wearing nothing but latex dresses and high heels on cobblestone streets. I’ve been more comfortable in my day.”

For McG, working with Costner was a chance to direct and actor whose career he had been following for years.

“I remember seeing ‘No Way Out’ like it was yesterday and being such a Kevin Costner enthusiast my whole life,” McG said. “The guy’s just an incredible screen presence who can carry a movie beginning, middle and end, and that doesn’t grow on trees. So the opportunity to work with him is a little bit surreal.

The director also said he would bet on Costner in a spy versus spy throwdown between him and Liam Neeson’s character in “Taken.”

“They both have different skill sets…I think (Costner’s) got some true grit that ultimately would prevail in the end. You see that spirit in the Olympics and I’m going to roll with Costner on that one, as much as I love Liam.”

Costner was a bit more diplomatic in his response.

“It just depends how the script’s written,” he said. “We’re friends, so I don’t even like to be hypothetical about that.”

As he introduced his film to the audience, McG took a moment to thank his parents and shared his memory of seeing Costner act for the first time in “No Way Out.”

“(Costner) was just a million miles away from anything I’d ever experienced in Newport Beach, California,” McG said. “Just to have the opportunity to work with Kevin on this picture is humbling.”

Following the screening, Costner and McG were joined by guests including former major league baseball player Joe Sambito and current Dodgers prospect Jacob Scavuzzo at the after-party held at Aventine Hollywood. Costner cozied up to his wife at their private table while McG mingled and chatted up other partygoers.

Relativity bows “3 Days to Kill” on Feb. 21.

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