Younger audiences know Kevin Costner as the head honcho on Taylor Sheridan’s hit television show Yellowstone. But Cosnter’s lead role as the patriarch of the Dutton family was preceded by a rich acting career that has spanned four full decades. During this time, Costner worked alongside some of the greatest actors to have ever lived. A short list of these names includes Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Diane Lane.
While it might seem like an impossible task, Costner discussed the best actor he’s ever worked with during an appearance on the The Rich Eisen Show back in 2017.
Who did Kevin Costner name as the best actor?
Costner framed the question as one among many that are hurled at him constantly: “People always act who’s the best actor, who’s the biggest star, who’s the blah blah blah…the line is long of the great actors I’ve been able to work with.” He recognized Sean Connery as the biggest star but named Gene Hackman as the best.
The Yellowstone actor went on to tell a behind-the-scenes story about a scene he did with Hackman. Costner doesn’t name the movie in the clip but it’s probably from 1987’s “No Way Out” which stars the two legends.
“When this scene came up, we had been doing every scene to that point around a desk, just like this, every scene. Finally, I said to the director, ‘Look I don’t feel like it’s right.’”
Costner continued to butt heads with the director back and forth until he finally put his foot down and said that he was doing the scene in the location of his choice, not around the desk. Costner’s vision for the scene is what ultimately made it to the movie’s final cut. According to Costner, Gene Hackman was off to the side listening to the entire argument. When Kevin was heading to his car after the day of filming, Gene called him over. The younger actor was sure that the veteran was going to chew him out for disrespecting the director.
To his surprise, Gene actually praised him for his defiance because it reminded the aging legend of his former passion for acting. The day clearly left a lasting impression on Costner who recalled the details thirty years later.
More about Hackman and Costner
Eugene (Gene) Hackman was born in 1930 and starred in countless classics such as The French Connection, Unforgiven, Mississippi Burning, and the Royal Tenenbaums. He won two academy awards and four golden gloves among dozens of other awards and nominations across six decades. The 93-year-old hasn’t acted since 2004 but he did come out of retirement to narrate two military documentaries in 2016 and 2017.
Kevin Costner continues to appear in Yellowstone, which is halfway through its fifth season. He’s also working on a Western epic titled Horizon. It will be a three-part film series produced, co-written, directed by and starring Costner. Part one has completed filming and part two will begin production later this spring.