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Kevin Costner Blasts American Politics: ‘Shame on Us’

Kevin Costner is not happy with what’s happening — or not happening, that is — in Washington, D.C.

“The political landscape is unrecognizable to me, and shame on us for being in that spot,” the Oscar winner says. “That could change overnight, not because of a vote, but because people say, ‘I want to try to be more than about myself.’ That’s the definition of public service.”

Costner isn’t hopeful that change will come anytime soon.

“This is the greatest experiment in humankind: America,” he says. “This great idea about America still exists, it’s still here. People still want to come here, but we’re not first in hardly anything that matters and we have an inflated idea about how we are. We exaggerate about what we are. We are everything that’s great and we are everything that’s human. And our humanness and our level of selfishness is overtaking our chance to be great.”

Costner campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008. If he does have a pick for 2020, he’s not saying. When asked about the idea of Michelle Obama running for president, Costner says, “Michelle’s incredibly bright and articulate and has possessed good judgement and experience as a result. Why couldn’t she be [president]?”

If the former first lady did jump into the presidential ring, Costner says, “She’d have a level of interest from me.”

I sat down with Costner for “The Big Ticket” podcast the morning after his Netflix movie “The Highwaymen” premiered in March at South by Southwest. In the film, he plays Frank Hamer, the legendary Texas Ranger who led the hunt for and eventual fatal capture of Bonnie and Clyde. In Arthur Penn’s 1967 “Bonnie and Clyde,” Hamer is portrayed as an evil as well as ineffective lawman. In fact, Hamer’s widow and son received an out-of-court settlement when they sued the producers for defamation of character over the depiction.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Merrick Morton/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (10183725i) Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer 'The Highwaymen' Film - 2019 A pair of Texas Rangers come out of retirement to catch the infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.
CREDIT: Merrick Morton/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Costner says “The Highwaymen” sets the record straight. “You always want to get it right when you’re dealing with a real person,” he said, adding, “When you’re dealing with real people you see the consequences…If that lawyer took [Penn] down memory lane — ‘let me tell you who Frank Hamer is versus who you portrayed him to be’ — I’m sure that Penn was affected.”

Meanwhile, Costner revealed that he’s getting ready to direct again. He earned a best director as well as the best picture Oscar for his directorial debut “Dances With Wolves” in 1991. His other two directing outings include “The Postman” in 1997 and 2003’s “Open Range.”

But directing isn’t exactly a walk in the park for Costner. “I always think somebody else could do it better,” he explained. “But I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna try to play the second half of my career doing it. I’ve got a Western I want to do and about five other movies that are [already] written.”

Listen to the full episode of “The Big Ticket” below. The interview with Costner starts at about 33:00.

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