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

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