Director/writer Theodore Melfi crafted a first rate tale with his 2014 feature St. Vincent, and now he’s behind the camera with Hidden Figures, the true story of three African-American women (Empire’s Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer) who were part of NASA’s operation to send astronaut John Glenn (Glenn Powell) in orbit.
Kevin Costner has starred in his share of first rate sports films (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, the underrated Draft Day), and with McFarland, USA, the actor is taking on a different side of athletics.
The feature, directed by Whale Rider and North Country filmmaker Niki Caro, is inspired by the 1987 true story of the trials, tribulations, and success of a cross country team from California’s farm-centric Central Valley. Costner stars as the Coach Jim White, a mentor to the students who helps them realize their true potential.
During the Draft Day press conference, Kevin Costner talked about why, when it comes to sports, he performs better under pressure. He also elaborates on why he’s also placed all his cards on the table when it comes to filmmaking. “I have a tremendous belief in people,” said Costner. “And the common experience.”
To hear Costner’s full comments, check out the audio clip below:
McFarland, USA’s Official Boilerplate:
Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.
Co-starring Maria Bello, McFarland, USA opens February 20, 2015.
Football fans know Arian Foster as one of the most dynamic running backs of the game and a cornerstone of the Houston Texans. Although the squad had a disappointing season, a number one draft pick (hopefully it’s defensive end Jadeveon Clowney) along with continued success from Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson should turn things around.
Foster is also delving into a new chapter in his career playbook, as he plays an athlete waiting to make it to the NFL in the Kevin Costner film “Draft Day.” During a recent press conference, Foster explained why “Any Given Sunday,” a feature which starred Jamie Foxx as talented (and temperamental) quarterback Willie Beamen, is a football film he enjoys.
“Any Given Sunday to me was a very good movie,” said Foster. “It has some stereotypical parts to it but the relationships within the movie are what brings out its essence. The coaches and players relationship and how you butt heads and the players’ dynamic wherein guys really get into fights. That’s real. It’s a very emotional sport. Guys’ jobs are on the line day in and day out. I think the authenticity and the genuine parts of the (story) make it a real movie.”
He may be one of this generation’s NFL greats, but Foster’s went undrafted in 2009. Ironically, the Texans drafted running back Ben Tate in the second round the following year, and Tate has now signed with the Cleveland Browns, the actual team that’s represented in “Draft Day.”
Foster also recounted his own draft day experience and explains why working on the film helped put the NFL Draft Day in perspective. “It was very surreal for me because when you get into character, and you have Terry Crews as your father, and he does an awesome job,” adds Foster. “All those emotions from that day that I never had that I wanted to have came out on that day. That’s what made it so special for me.”
Click on the audio to hear the actor talk about being undrafted in 2009:
“Draft Day,” directed by Ivan Reitman (“No Strings Attached,” “Stripes”) and co-starring Jennifer Garner and Terry Crews, opens April 11.
Starring Kevin Costner, Draft Day is a sports comedy that centers on the NFL Draft, aka one of the most important days of the season. If a team doesn’t do well at building their roster through the draft, their squad is pretty much locked in for a miserable season. Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr., the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, a team that in reality has had way too many losing seasons to count.
Co-star Jennifer Garner is Ali, Sonny’s whip smart girlfriend who is also the Browns’ salary cap manager. To research the role, Garner picked the brain of Megan Rogers, the actual Browns capologist.
“I basically stole everything from her,” said Garner. “From what she carried in her arms. To the way she dressed. To how she comported herself. Megan is someone who never needs to show you that she knows everything. She just holds it inside and if necessary she brings down a hammer. That’s what I loved I loved about Alli.”
Garner has a valid theory on why women excel as high level sports executives. “What makes women so great in these high up positions in sports teams is (that) they can keep their emotions in check and their brains can do a lot of things at once,” adds the actress, who was seen last year in Dallas Buyers Club. “Because if you’re going to a capologist, you’re basically business affairs, plus you’re thinking about the art of football, plus (you’re thinking about) your team’s future, what’s been important in the past. You have to have so much going on in your brains at once and let’s face it, we’re just good at that.”
During the Draft Day press conference, Garner added that although she grew up in West Virginia as a football fan, her domicile is essentially a baseball house. The actress talked about why she loves America’s national pastime, which she describes as a “soap opera.”
Directed by Ivan Reitman (Dave, Twins), Draft Day opens April 11.
Chris Pine follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck as the titular agent in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Taking on iconic roles isn’t foreign to Pine, who continued his journey as Captain James Tiberius Kirk in last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
With this latest installment, Mr. Ryan is getting his feet wet in the CIA, as he gets entangled in a battle of wills against a vengeful Russian terrorist (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs). Kevin Costner, who was initially offered the role of Ryan for The Hunt for Red October, plays Ryan’s mentor and father figure, and their subtle chemistry is one of the feature’s main strengths.
Although the picture ends with an epic action moment, the most viscerally engaging sequence occurs during a hotel room showdown between Pine and co-star Nonso Anozie (from TV’s Dracula). “I like the fact that Jack, as much as he had training in the Marines, isn’t a trained killing professional,” says Pine. “It was kind of a MacGyver moment of trying to figure out how to defeat the large bad guy when you’re not quite as big or you’re not quite as ferocious.”
Click on the Soundcloud audio below to hear Chris Pine talk about doing the hand to hand combat sequence with Anozie. He also talks about riding a motorcycle sans a helmet in New York during another stunt sequences in the film.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens nationwide January 17.