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Kevin Costner Wants To Be Nominated For Yellowstone, And His Explanation Why Is So Relatable

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Kevin Costner Wants To Be Nominated For Yellowstone, And His Explanation Why Is So Relatable

Given how long and successful Kevin Costner’s Hollywood career has been so far, one might be inclined to believe the ongoing surge of popularity for his Paramount Network neo-western Yellowstone is par for the course, and that he might take some of it for granted. That’s almost definitely not the case, however, as the Oscar- and Emmy-winning icon remains as humble and down-to-earth as he’s ever been. And though it may be almost stereotypical at this point for actors (and audiences) to voice the notion that entertainment awards aren’t so important, Costner offered a relatable explanation for why he’d been keen on winning the gold for playing John Dutton.

Kevin Costner was speaking with press to promote UK streaming audiences now having access to Paramount+ subscriptions, and when I asked how he would feel about landing award recognition for his Yellowstone role — he’d previously won acting and producing Emmys for the 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys — Costner adeptly explained why an award in this case would help to vindicate the belief and passion that he’s had for Yellowstone since the beginning. Here’s how he began:

When you’re recognized, that does mean something. You know, we’re doing the same work we did four years ago, and trying to do it better each time, and people are catching up to it. Does it lead to an award? I don’t know. But if it did, there would be a satisfaction with me, because the idea is, when I started this one, no one necessarily believed in it other than the studio and the director/writer. So I had a belief about what it could be, not that it was better than anything else. But I had a belief that it satisfied a couple of things that are important to me. It was highly original in its own terribly familiar way. And when we do all recognize that the meat gets to the restaurant somehow, then all sudden, we have kind of confirmation. ‘Ah, yeah, people are still doing this, right. This is what they do.’ So the idea of that to me, and then that people around the world are starting to relate to it, there’s a level of satisfaction.

Clearly, Taylor Sheridan has become synonymous with “gripping storytelling” in recent years, but that wasn’t necessarily the case only a handful of years ago. The Yellowstone-verse will likely be his crowning achievement for years to come, though, thanks in no small part to Kevin Costner’s John Dutton being such a perfect anchor to tie all the pieces together. And considering he’s never been known for his TV work, it’s easy to imagine Costner would have turned down the role if he’d been anything less than fully engaged by the material. But even if it was familiar in the sense that it fit into a “western” classification, it was still like nothing else on TV.

Thankfully for the millions-strong fanbase, Yellowstone’s scripts started off tight and have arguably only gotten better over time, so roping Costner in wasn’t much of an issue. And the actor continued speaking to the idea that the show’s fanbase and potential award recognition would validate his time-honored creative instincts. In his words:

And more than that, it’s actually a confirmation to me that I have to kind of follow my instincts. I can’t follow a trend. Because a trend now is to maybe make a movie like Yellowstone, or to try to duplicate it. I have to kind of chase the story that means the most to me at whatever time in my life I am. I’ve done that with little movies. I mean, my career was kind of built [on low-budget films]. I mean, if you go back and look at the breadcrumbs of my career – try to follow them back – my career was kind of built on movies that were $5 million – Bull Durham. $10 million, Field of Dreams. These movies meant something to me, I could sense them. I didn’t know that they were still going to be around, and people’d still talk about them. But it’s still the written word for me.

Though epic-sized films like the late-to-be-appreciated Waterworld and The Postman often come to mind when Kevin Costner’s career is discussed, it’s easy to overlook how many of his successes came from films that didn’t require more than meager budgets. It’s wild to think about a star-speckled movie like Bull Durham costing anything less than $30 million in today’s Hollywood. And much like Yellowstone, those projects are memorable for Costner’s presence as much as anything else. Which isn’t to say that the Paramount Network drama is cheap at all, since it certainly costs a pretty penny to film up in those gorgeous Montana locations with such a stacked ensemble. But the point is that the money can be more of an afterthought whenever there are massive crowds tuning in and enjoying the show. 

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Plus, I can’t tell you how many good ideas I’ve had that went ignored despite success. Granted, I’ve never had the option of starring in a Yellowstone-esque project, but the fact remains: wouldn’t everybody love if our lesser-discussed thoughts and instincts were rewarded in some way? 

The actor also shared how fans’ assumptions play into his thoughts on awards. In the sense that we’ve apparently all been somewhat hilariously misinterpreting Kevin Costner’s natural state of being. Here’s how he put it:

The idea of maybe being recognized [with awards], there’s a certain part of me that would go, ‘Yeah, I would like that.’ I’ve always taken my acting really seriously. There’s some people, I think, that think that it just comes naturally to me. You know, ‘Oh, you’re a natural actor.’ And it’s really not the truth. My process is painfully slow. It takes me a tremendous time to memorize. Because I can’t act by just learning my lines the night before; I have to live with them, and try to completely embody what I do to try to make it natural. So you know, I get knocked for it looking just as natural. That’s okay, too. But your fundamental question, I guess, I wouldn’t mind having my children watch me get nominated, because I try to explain to them what I do, and I can’t hardly even do it.

Could there possibly be a better way for Kevin Costner to have closed that answer out? Sure, some of his awards interest stems from personal pride and his enthusiasm for the work of those around him. But then some of it is also just to make his kids understand what he does that makes so many millions of people love him so much. I think we can all relate to that. I mean, sort of. 

Yellowstone may not have had much nomination luck at the Emmys in the past, but it’s likely the show taking over the zeitgeist will earn it more attention. Check out the first four seasons streaming on Peacock while waiting for the super-sized Season 5 to debut on Paramount Network on Sunday, November 14. 

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Better Call Saul’s Set Decorator On Knowing About That Midseason Finale Death Before The Actor Did

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Better Call Saul’s Set Decorator On Knowing About That Midseason Finale Death Before The Actor Did

Major spoilers for Better Call Saul’s latest episode, “Plan and Execution,” lie ahead, so read at your own risk.

If you’re a Better Call Saul fan like myself, then chances are you’re probably still reeling from the heartbreaking events of the midseason finale. The episode that closed out the first half of Season 6 was full of massive moments, and fans were subsequently left with a number of questions. Something that was incredibly clear coming out of the episode was the fate of Howard Hamlin, who sadly died at the hands of Lalo Salamanca. One would surely be quick to wonder how a performer approaches their character’s demise, though you also have to consider how much the crew is aware of beforehand. Well, interestingly enough, the show’s set decorator knew about the development even before series star Patrick Fabian did. 

Ashley Marsh has worked as a set decorator/buyer on Better Call Saul since the show’s debut in 2015, so she’s been around for all of the show’s major moments – including character deaths. Howard Hamlin’s may be the most tragic of them all and is honestly enough to make one want to stop watching the Breaking Bad prequel. Marsh was also sad to see Howard go in such brutal fashion, a sentiment that she expressed when we recently chatted. While revealing that she knew about the character’s fate before Patrick Fabian, she also explained whether that affected her and her team’s approach to crafting the sets that the late attorney inhabited:

I mean, yes. I probably knew before Patrick knew. Production called and said, ‘Hey, if you run into him, please don’t say anything.’ Of course, I won’t because we signed an NDA. But I am not sure how long they waited to let him know, because it changes you in your head. And that changes for me because I feel like things have to be a little bit more thought out. Because you don’t want to put anything in there that seems hopeful… but you don’t want to lead it on, either.

That’s a tricky tightrope to walk, to say the least. On the one hand, you don’t want the character’s surroundings to be too cheery, as to suggest that things are going to be fine. However, you also don’t want to lean too much into a sense of dread as to make the lawyer’s fate obvious to viewers. But ultimately, Ashley Marsh and her collaborators succeeded, because I’m not sure how many people could’ve foreseen what was in store for Howard from the jump.

Before Howard’s death, fans were able to see him in some locations that were pretty personal to him. One of those places was the Hamlin estate, which viewers only got a glimpse at from the outside in Season 5. While he was in his swanky pad, it was revealed that he’d been living in the guest house due to marital problems. Throughout the season, audiences also got to see him in his office, where he mainly met with his private investigator. There was a lack of warmth in both locations, and that was especially true for the cold-feeling Hamlin residence. Nevertheless, there were never any dead giveaways that suggested that the bane of Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler’s existence was headed out the door.

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So far, the final season of Better Call Saul has featured two massive casualties. Aside from Howard Hamlin, Michael Mando’s Ignacio “Nacho” Varga also bit the bullet. Well, more specifically (and tragically), he took a self-inflicted bullet to the head after revealing to Hector Salamanca that he caused his stroke. Like Howard’s death, it was a sad moment, though one that Mando acted out in such a masterful way.

There’s a firm chance that the critically acclaimed drama isn’t done picking off characters. Given the Breaking Bad timeline, we know that a few won’t be dying (yet), but a few others could still meet gruesome ends. I’m most worried about Kim Wexler, as was series co-creator Peter Gould. At this point, fans may want to take Ashley Marsh’s comments on Howard into consideration and look for set clues to gauge whether their favorite characters will make it out alive. 

Better Call Saul Season 6’s second half will begin airing on AMC on July 11th at 9 p.m. ET on AMC as part of the 2022 TV schedule. Those who need to catch up before seeing the final season can stream the others with a Netflix subscription.

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What Christian Bale Found ‘Very Surprising’ About Taika Waititi’s Final Cut Of Thor: Love And Thunder

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What Christian Bale Found ‘Very Surprising’ About Taika Waititi’s Final Cut Of Thor: Love And Thunder

Because of the funny roles he takes as an actor, and his recognizable comedic sensibilities, Taika Waititi is frequently lauded for his brilliant ability to make movie-goers laugh – but not to be ignored in that praise is just how terrific he is when it comes to crafting drama as a writer/director. Of the seven films he’s made, What We Do In The Shadows (which he co-directed with Jemaine Clement) is really the only straight comedy, as the other six all find ways to blend heart and emotion into the mix.

This very much includes Thor: Love And Thunder – and the shifting tones are actually something that star Christian Bale found surprising about the new film.

In the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, Bale plays the villainous Gorr The God Butcher, and the character’s story in the film is much darker and more serious than the plotline following the on-going adventures of Chris Hemsworth’s titular God of Thunder (which gets downright goofy at times). During the Thor: Love And Thunder press day this past weekend, I asked the actor about the influence that this dual tone on his performance and approach, and Bale explained that it’s an aspect of the film that he greatly appreciates and that he didn’t fully expect:

Taika [Waititi], yeah, he uses music, he uses his great sense of humor. [There’s] an absolute wonderful sincerity and emotion. It is a beautiful film. And I think people will expect it to be bloody funny, and it is, but it is also incredibly moving as well, which is very surprising.

With less than two weeks to go before the theatrical release of Thor: Love And Thunder, it would be unfair at this time to detail the precise ways that the Marvel Cinematic Universe feature balances the light and the dark – but I will note that it is something that will audiences will recognize instantly when watching the movie, as it opens with some serious and heavy drama before digging into the “cosmic fun” side of things.

Obviously it’s a very different kind of comic book movie for Christian Bale as well. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which features Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, doesn’t feature much humor at all, and the actor was clearly impressed with Thor: Love And Thunder’s ability to balance both.

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Featuring a stacked cast including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, and definitely not Tom Hiddleston, Thor: Love And Thunder will by flying into theaters everywhere on July 8 – and tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab). If you need to do some refreshing in terms of everything that has been going in the MCU to date, allow me to recommend my Marvel Movies In Order guide, and you can watch/rewatch all of the Thor and Avengers movies with a Disney+ subscription.

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Thor: Love And Thunder’s Tessa Thompson Admits Spying On Russell Crowe’s ‘Fantastic’ Thunderbolt Practice

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Thor: Love And Thunder’s Tessa Thompson Admits Spying On Russell Crowe’s ‘Fantastic’ Thunderbolt Practice

When the latest full trailer for Thor: Love And Thunder dropped in late May, it generated a lot of questions about the upcoming Marvel movie, but it also featured some cool revelations – including the fact that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie (whose real name we don’t know just yet) is fighting with a new weapon in the blockbuster: Zeus’ thunderbolt. Behind the scenes, wielding this new godly tool required Thompson to do some special training, and she pulls off some killer moves with it on screen (as audiences will witness themselves very soon). By the actor’s own admission, however,  her skills with the bolt are nothing compared to those possessed by the MCU’s Zeus himself, Russell Crowe.

How does she know this? Not only did Tessa Thompson get to see what her co-star could do with the thunderbolt while cameras were rolling during production, but she also evidently watched him surreptitiously while he practiced with the prop outside of her on-set trailer.

As captured in the video at the top of this article, I had the pleasure of interviewing King Valkyrie herself during the Thor: Love And Thunder press day in Los Angeles this past weekend, and during our conversation I took time to ask her about the thunderbolt. She admitted that it’s not the easiest weapon to wield, and gave credit to Russell Crowe for what he was able to do with it:

No, it’s pretty hard. And to be honest, gimme a couple more months with that thunderbolt and I might have really learned some tricks. I got okay with it, but Russell Crowe is so good, and I hope he doesn’t mind that I’m saying this, but I watched him. He would rehearse sometimes outside of my trailer with it. And I would watch him Cause he is really good! He’s like so, so fantastic at it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m totally imagining Tessa Thompson peeking through the curtains of her trailer at an in-costume Russell Crowe throwing and twirling his prop thunderbolt around like a professional sign spinner. It’s a mental image that makes me giggle every time I conjure it.

In all seriousness, though, the passion and enthusiasm that Tessa Thompson effused for her work behind the scenes of Thor: Love and Thunder was a wonderful thing to see. On top of expressing genuine remorse that she didn’t get more time to practice with Zeus’ legendary weapon in the making of the blockbuster, she talked about bonding with her weapons in Thor: Ragnarok – the sword Dragonfang and her two daggers – and explained that she created a kind of intimacy with them. She continued,

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That’s the thing: you spend… I remember when I had Dragon Fang and I was first training with that weapon and my two daggers, I would spend so much time you become intimate with them in a way. So the Thunderbolt was fun to wield, but it’s not my weapon, so I forgive myself for not being perfect at it.

The funny irony of this is that the relationship between a hero and their weapon of choice is actually a running joke in Thor: Love and Thunder, and while I won’t spoil the details of it in this forum, Tessa Thompson explained that the gag was something that wholly developed on set:

That is like the funniest thing, ’cause that was actually something that really developed in the course of shooting the film, and then seeing it last night especially it works like a charm. It’s just like so, so funny.

Audiences will get on this inside of this joke very soon, as Thor: Love And Thunder is now less than two weeks away from release (and buzz about the blockbuster is already growing). The Taika Waititi-directed Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, and Tessa Thompson, arrives in theaters everywhere on July 8 – and tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab).

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