Sneak Peek: Costner returns with '3 Days to Kill'

05:00 AM, Dec 17, 2013

Kevin Costner stars in Relativity Media's "3 Days to Kill " Julian Torres/


Written By by Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY

Kevin Costner is being pulled back into the CIA in 3 Days to Kill, which is bad news for the bad guys.

But it’s good news for Costner fans eager to see the actor return to leading man roles.

His role in 3 Days to Kill (opening Feb. 21) will follow another high-profile turn as a senior CIA agent to Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

3 Days director McG says it’s good to have Costner back in the heat of leading man lights.

This is his first true leading movie role in a while,” says McG. “Obviously (Costner) had great fortune in Hatfields & McCoys and then Man of Steel. And our test screenings show overwhelming enthusiasm to have him back in a leading role. He’s one of the great American movie stars.”

The 3 Days to Kill role has Costner, 58, forced back into the killing business after he falls sick from “exposure” and his boss (Amber Heard) offers an experimental cure in exchange for him killing some bad guys. The problem is that his character is watching his 16-year-old daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and has to keep his take-out spree a secret.

He’s promised his wife and daughter that he’s done, because that’s what broke up the family before,” says McG. “But he makes the classic deal with the devil for this one last job.”

Costner is meant to look a little worn during the ordeal since his Ethan Runner “is a character who has really been through the wringer,” says McG. And Runner immediately takes a knife to the hand that forces him to wear a crude bandage through much of the film.

But Costner is able to get laughs between take-outs while dealing with the other side of his double life — watching and trying to connect with his young daughter.

(Runner) doesn’t know much about contemporary teenage culture like Twitter, or what’s online. He’s very analog in a digital world,” says McG. “He kills with proficiency. It’s counter-intuitive to being a loving good dad. This drives the movie.”

Costner was so game for the part that he had to be talked out of performing stunts. For example, McG had to insist that Costner not shoot a scene near an exploding hotel on set in Belgrade, Serbia. Instead he had a stuntman in full protective garb shoot the scene.

The job is demanding and he wants to do everything himself,” says McG. “I had to talk him off the ledge a few times so I wouldn’t get yelled at by the insurance carrier. He always wanted to go for it. But we all wanted our star to live another day.”