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Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Costner meets Castro for missile movie
Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner
Costner in Cuba with girlfriend Christine Baumgarter
Hollywood actor Kevin Costner has met Cuban leader Fidel Castro to watch and discuss his new movie Thirteen Days - based on the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Costner met Castro for dinner and the pair discussed the Cuban head of state's real-life role in the crisis.

The seven-hour meeting at Havana's Revolution Palace took place soon after Costner arrived in Cuba and went on till the small hours of Tuesday morning.

"I shouldn't be speaking for the president but he responded to the film very favourably, and we had a very interesting discussion afterwards," Costner's spokesman Stephen Rivers said.

Kevin Costner
Costner plays JFK's loyal aide Kenny O'Donnell
Costner was accompanied by Thirteen Days producers Armyan Bernstein and Peter Almond, while the Cuban side included senior leaders like Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and National Assembly President Ricardo Alcaron.

Costner and his colleagues plan to work with the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry to screen the film to public audiences.

The film's makers see the visit as a significant step forward in relations between the US and Cuba.

Thirteen Days is the story of how the world came the closest it ever has to Nuclear War as it involved a standoff between the US and Russia over nuclear warheads in Cuba.

Ground zero

The crisis ended when Moscow agreed to withdraw the missiles, but the island is still subject to Washington sanctions, including a ban on US tourism.

Rivers said that prior to the screening Castro was told that the film represented just one point of view on the crisis and that Cuba should think about making its own version of events.

"The film has been very well received both in the US and internationally and since Cuba was ground zero during the missile crisis," he said.

Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood
Bruce Greenwood as JFK
"It seemed indispensable that we have the opportunity to bring it to Havana."

In the movie, Costner stars as Kenny O'Donnell, a White House aide to President John F Kennedy and his brother Robert.

The film is based on the book The Kennedy Tapes - Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The film is told through O'Donnell's eyes and the film-makers have had to defend the importance given to his role after claims of historical inaccuracy and exaggeration.

Costner is staying at Havana's famous sea-front Hotel Nacional, where staff, tourists and onlookers applauded in welcome.

Rivers said Costner was "very touched" by his popular reception in Cuba.

"You are never sure when you come to another country," he said.

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See also:

13 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Costner's new tack
16 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Costner hits out at own film
23 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Costner's comeback message
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Costner's film role defended
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