Kevin Costner Faces Growing Dread and A Formidable Opponent in Let Him Go

The Yellowstone star talks good scripts, great co-stars, and the storytelling appeal of America's wide open spaces.

by | November 6, 2020 | Comments

After breaking out in the late ’80s with a string of Certified Fresh hits like The Untouchables, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner made himself a marquee name with his stoic, unshakeable performances. In the following decades, he played everything from the romantic leading man opposite Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard to the gunslinging lawman Wyatt Earp in Lawrence Kasdan’s biopic about the historical figure. Recently, his no-nonsense persona has lent itself to the roles of a supervisor (Hidden Figures), inspirational leader (McFarland, USA), patriarch (TV’s Yellowstone), and even Superman’s dad (Man of Steel).

In his latest movie, Thomas Bezucha’s Let Him Go, Costner once again takes the reins of a familiar horse. Here, he plays George Blackledge, a stern-faced retired sheriff in 1950s North Dakota who suffers the devastating loss of his son in the film’s opening moments. George and his wife, Margaret (Diane Lane), grieve for their son’s accidental death by helping his widow, Lorna (Kayli Carter), with their new grandson– but the solution is temporary. Lorna decides to remarry and takes George and Margaret’s grandson – their last remaining link to their son – away without warning. When Margaret decides to go after her to see why she left so suddenly, George begrudgingly supports her and defends her when the going gets tough. 

Ahead of the movie’s release, Costner spoke to Rotten Tomatoes about his fondness for a good story,  acting opposite his Man of Steal co-star Lane once more, and working with Lesley Manville. 

Let Him Go

(Photo by Kimberly French / © Focus Features )

Monica Castillo for Rotten Tomatoes: What first interested you about Let Him Go?

Kevin Costner: I’m always looking for the next great script, either trying to create it or what comes along. Too often, they’re not great, but sometimes they’re good and they just don’t fit. It’s hard to do; it’s hard to write a great screenplay. As I started reading, I was drawn into it. I didn’t know where it was going or where it was going to go. It got worse and worse in the best sense. There was a dread that started to happen, and there was an authenticness about it. A love story was emerging even against this kind of journey that was happening. These two people who had history together,who loved each other, and you saw them completely not together, so to speak, but what kept them together was love. We have a beautiful screenplay and really that’s what got me to say yes.

Speaking of that central relationship, how did you and Diane Lane create that rapport?

Costner: The idea of working with Diane, that’s always going to be a yes, but not in the wrong situation. When I work with her or anybody, I want it to succeed wildly. I want it to feel to an audience that, “Wow, that was fresh. That was different. I didn’t see that coming.” You still want to feel like something surprised you. That’s what I look forward to. They’re not just jobs or decisions to be a way from home. I have to try to think of what was best about what it could be. 

Let Him Go

(Photo by Kimberly French / © Focus Features )

Your character, George, is pretty stoic compared to Margaret, Lane’s character. How did you decide what went into that performance and balance the relationship dynamics?

Women that have strong wills are not new to this century or this decade. Women have been leading men in certain ways to places because they feel morally, ethically, right, and drag their men sometimes in these situations that are over their head. Why does the man go? Because in the end, he loves her and wants to protect her from herself. And in the end, he can’t.

Speaking of strong women, your character also faces off against Lesley Manville’s strong-willed matriarch. What was that experience like?

She’s kind of like Bette Davis, just so formidable. That family you just knew was so bad. They were just people on the fringe and we [the characters] got dragged into it. I think what’s so cool about the movie is I could feel it coming. The audience could feel it coming. The only one that couldn’t feel it coming was Diane, my wife. It’s a surprising movie without being a surprise.

Let Him Go

(Photo by Kimberly French / © Focus Features )

Let Him Go feels like a subtle period piece, with time-specific details on the edges of this timeless family drama. How did you bring that sense of mid-century midwestern life into your performance?

Costner: The actor has a few tools at their disposal. Their voice, how are they going to play it? Their walk, how are they gonna walk it? Their hair, how are they going to look? How are they going to exist in that particular era? What’s going to inform without shouting out.

The West and Midwest feature so prominently throughout your career. Is there something about these regions that appeals to you? 

Costner: Maybe you’ll think about it this way or won’t, but how I do is that they lend themselves to people having to solve their problems on their own. As people extended out, they ended up solving their own problems with a level of violence. The violence was random, and those who could take advantage of people did. Some people find a lot of drama in the courtroom and a lot of drama in the police precinct, and I find a lot of drama in the great open spaces where sometimes it’s you and somebody else and you’re wondering what it is they want from you. There’s a lot of drama in that.

Let Him Go is in limited release from November 6, 2020.

Tag Cloud

reviews Columbia Pictures Summer Countdown Best and Worst Holiday El Rey YouTube Red discovery social media Cosplay space Shondaland Endgame Black Mirror Grammys golden globes Pop TV docudrama Pet Sematary rotten travel Apple TV+ Mudbound BET Writers Guild of America jamie lee curtis LGBTQ 2015 critics MTV Teen GIFs Spike sequels dc Turner Classic Movies 2016 Christmas animated Discovery Channel Rock Calendar all-time Super Bowl satire reboot french twilight Martial Arts Hallmark American Society of Cinematographers comiccon chucky criterion Starz Arrowverse composers Captain marvel films Mary Poppins Returns theme song Syfy Comic Book Disney streaming service festival Television Academy Sundance Now Polls and Games game of thrones concert Sneak Peek latino 007 supernatural series PlayStation Britbox Superheroes Ellie Kemper FXX Apple TV Plus Song of Ice and Fire Infographic Lionsgate television doctor who X-Men venice BAFTA Fox News romantic comedy Anna Paquin Spectrum Originals obituary Dark Horse Comics casting Comedy Central adaptation dark Animation Character Guide FOX indie stop motion DirecTV spanish Drama vampires ID hist IFC Films 4/20 Comics on TV Awards Academy Awards Pride Month President Emmys tv talk E3 Stephen King teaser First Look screen actors guild worst APB YouTube Premium Chernobyl TV renewals spinoff NBC politics Rocky Sci-Fi versus TCA Awards Year in Review Video Games Travel Channel DC Comics ratings news emmy awards Television Critics Association Film Festival Fantasy Reality Competition Nominations Musical breaking bad what to watch Food Network Acorn TV Film Universal DC Universe nbcuniversal Horror unscripted psycho technology batman The Witch serial killer harry potter Netflix CBS All Access YA Pirates biography Hallmark Christmas movies australia zombie Heroines canceled Mystery Epix Sony Pictures football a nightmare on elm street OWN foreign Chilling Adventures of Sabrina RT History National Geographic Photos crime thriller Musicals zombies MSNBC Ovation fast and furious CW Seed christmas movies USA Network black Quiz Comedy award winner comic books deadpool superhero Winners video on demand 72 Emmy Awards Action japanese spy thriller revenge Thanksgiving 45 mockumentary TCA Winter 2020 Marvel Studios Nat Geo Marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TV Land WGN BBC One sag awards VH1 Mary poppins Rom-Com Holidays justice league Hear Us Out HBO Go Crunchyroll witnail CBS Amazon Studios comics Paramount sitcom independent cancelled television Kids & Family Certified Fresh Oscars italian 21st Century Fox CMT Toys Mindy Kaling rt archives child's play book cancelled screenings NYCC streaming SXSW toronto Emmy Nominations Country Awards Tour anthology dragons video renewed TV shows Amazon Prime Video war archives asian-american dramedy Creative Arts Emmys Podcast mission: impossible psychological thriller parents Sundance TV die hard YouTube nature DGA Premiere Dates Tubi documentaries 2018 crime canceled TV shows movie Bravo BBC Hulu aliens Adult Swim police drama Superheroe TCA kids Marathons medical drama Western The Academy Red Carpet A24 TCA 2017 Brie Larson Ghostbusters dogs toy story First Reviews diversity period drama Lifetime Christmas movies scorecard Disney Plus Tumblr Spring TV disaster Freeform Pop science fiction Vudu HBO Max cancelled TV series FX A&E ESPN E! Nickelodeon TruTV blockbuster Winter TV stoner ABC transformers RT21 cooking Family werewolf PBS TCM TNT Interview SundanceTV zero dark thirty Cartoon Network OneApp Fall TV cartoon political drama Elton John Rocketman TBS universal monsters cinemax New York Comic Con 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime hispanic Star Trek Masterpiece Netflix Christmas movies VOD sports Valentine's Day crime drama TLC spider-man Cannes MCU cats elevated horror cults indiana jones Showtime Disney robots hollywood Tomatazos talk show scary movies halloween Avengers sequel facebook Amazon comic 99% spanish language free movies directors BBC America Crackle GoT franchise cancelled TV shows true crime natural history Shudder Sundance History The CW festivals cars FX on Hulu green book game show Baby Yoda The Walking Dead children's TV Black History Month 2017 spain cops quibi Trivia San Diego Comic-Con 24 frames ABC Family Opinion PaleyFest laika Watching Series SDCC Election Tarantino Binge Guide Pixar Lifetime nfl Funimation IFC james bond joker The Arrangement south america TV Apple 2020 comedies adventure USA ITV miniseries based on movie Peacock binge crossover anime Schedule TIFF Music Lucasfilm CNN thriller boxoffice Biopics rotten movies we love Classic Film GLAAD Turner Disney Channel Paramount Network Esquire Women's History Month dceu worst movies DC streaming service historical drama 2019 VICE halloween tv Logo BET Awards Warner Bros. singing competition blaxploitation mutant best Reality ghosts Fox Searchlight Box Office strong female leads HBO slashers romance WarnerMedia finale Trophy Talk See It Skip It Trailer Mary Tyler Moore Set visit AMC Walt Disney Pictures richard e. Grant Star Wars name the review classics movies LGBT 71st Emmy Awards Disney+ Disney Plus stand-up comedy documentary remakes Marvel Television Extras The Purge