Bankrate: Do you think great writing is protected in Hollywood?
Kevin Costner: I don't think that it is, no. Because the minute you're willing to ask an audience what they think about a movie, I think it shows no one cares about the writing. And I think that's foolish. I don't go out to actors until my script is 100 percent finished. Because I don't want anyone changing it. Annette Bening and Robert Duval didn't change a line on "Open Range." Why? Because I was sure that it worked. What is everyone so afraid of in making movies? Not being No. 1 at the box office? Well, Mr. Brooks ain't going to be. We're not even going to come close. But we can be a movie that's so true to itself that you might want to take a friend back to it.
Bankrate: Can you say something about the Western you're working on now?
Kevin Costner: It's just a good cowboy movie about friendship, and there's a code. It's done; it's written. People aren't dying to make Westerns, though. I'll just have to figure out how to make it. I'll have to raise money from different sources and I'll have to keep creative control.
Bankrate: Sounds like you are thinking about financing it through independent means?
Kevin Costner: Well we made "Open Range" in Calgary for just over $20 million and all the money went up on the screen. I didn't take a salary for directing; I took the minimum. But nobody else did. Robert and the other actors made as much as they ever did, but I don't like everybody to work under that banner of labor of love. "Dances with Wolves" was made for $16 million and everybody made as much money, if not more than they'd ever made in terms of salary. I come from a low-budget world, so I kind of know how to use my money, work with my money. If I was producing "Water World," it would have been done in a different way -- moneywise. I watch my money. With "Open Range" I put up about $750,000 and I got other people to put up some money. But I had to make some crucial producing decisions when making that film. I spent $300,000 on making the street flooding scenes real -- that was a crucial decision but I wanted it authentic.
Bankrate: So is critical or financial success more important to you in making a movie, especially when you've invested in it?
Kevin Costner: Well, criticism is hard to take sometimes. Constructive criticism is something that all of us can do well from. Cynical criticism, skepticism is very difficult for me to deal with. When you make a movie, either lack of money, lack of talent, the sun went down -- I sometimes can't do anything about it. But I'm satisfied with the end product. So in truth, financially it would be better because then I could go on and make another Western.