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Fame & Fortune: Kevin Costner

The iconic Kevin Costner began his supersuccessful career starring in independent films, gradually earning small parts in more established movies. But his feature film debut ended up on the cutting room floor -- remember the body in the casket in "The Big Chill"? That was Costner.

Luckily, he made such an impression on the director that he was cast two years later in "Silverado." Throughout his career, the veteran actor has seamlessly gone between comedy, action and drama in such breakout roles as "No Way Out," "Bull Durham," "Field of Dreams," "The Bodyguard" and recently opposite Jennifer Aniston in "Rumor Has It."

Along the way, ego fueled some box office flops. Anyone remember -- or want to -- "The Postman" or "Water World"?

Costner showcased his exceptional filmmaking abilities in "Dances With Wolves," which he produced, directed and starred in, winning seven Oscars, including for best picture and best director. He also directed, wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed "Open Range," which he says took a big financial commitment on his part to get made. Maybe that's why he is seen pitching products such as Subaru cars and iced coffee in Japan or Apple computers in other countries.

His most recent film is "Mr. Brooks," a film he stars in and produced that portrays a darker side. The title character seems to have it all: a loving wife, devoted daughter, successful business, but unknown to everyone else, he is also a very successful serial killer. Besides "Mr. Brooks," Costner is writing another Western, which by his own admission, will be a tough sell in Hollywood. "I'll just have to mortgage something else," he says.

Bankrate: You star and produce "Mr. Brooks." Did you know that you wanted to produce this film right away instead of just taking home a paycheck?

Kevin Costner: I knew that without a doubt I would have to do that. I felt that it needed to be true to itself. I knew that I would also have to have final cut on it. If you like the movie, you know the odd things about it would be the ones cut first. If someone didn't like blood, blood would be gone. Because they ask audiences "What do you like?" And then they cut. If no one else wanted to make this movie and I did, why would I let anybody try to flatten it out and make it more generic? So while I know some longtime people who've enjoyed my movies might be offended by this -- might think that it's too harsh -- I get that and I accept that. But I don't want to cater to my audience. I just want to feed it, you know. Take it or not take it, it's an honest effort. So I knew I needed to have some control over the movie in the long run so that's why I wanted to produce it.

Bankrate: What is something that you look for in a script? What jumps out at you?

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Kevin Costner: Just fresh air. Just like something that seems highly original. I would never do this movie if it was pitched to me. But I would have never done "Field of Dreams" if it was pitched to me. It takes a writer that really has his muse working on his shoulder, you know? It was just an incredible window that they found into this subject. Writing is hard. It's not easy. It's an art form.

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