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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK


Costner hits out at own film

Premiere smiles: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston and Sam Raimi

Hollywood star Kevin Costner has taken the almost unprecedented step of slating his own film, even before the critics have had their say.

The actor/director, whose films seem to attract scorn and acclaim in equal measure, says his latest movie has been ruined by studio interference.

The Untouchables star objects to cuts in his latest movie, a baseball tale called For Love of the Game, which has just premiered in the US and is out of general release from 17 September.

"For Universal, this movie has always been about the length and the rating. It's never been about the content," he told Newsweek magazine.

[ image: Costner pitches criticism at latest baseball film]
Costner pitches criticism at latest baseball film
"You feel a studio would want to release the best version of the movie, not the one they think appeals to the biggest common denominator."

Oscar-winning Costner is reported to have pulled out of all promotional TV appearances, after a nude shower scene and expletives in two further scenes were cut from the film.

The changes secured the Sam Raimi directed movie a PG-13 rating, instead of an R - which would have prevented those under 18 seeing it.

"The studio and I don't even talk. They don't want to talk to me," said the 44-year-old, admitting that Universal were unlikely to seek his services in the furture.

"I certainly don't want to make movies with them...I'll never forgive or forget what they've done."

Costner accused of 'hijacking' movie

"Kevin's not the director and it's not fair for him to hijack a $50 million asset," said Universal boss Stacey Snider in response to Costner's withering attack.

"I realise this is very much about principle for Kevin, but principle doesn't mean that you never compromise. Our feeling is that we have backed the filmmaker and his name is Sam Raimi, not Kevin Costner."

Raimi is the man responsible for the Evil Dead films and the highly-acclaimed A Simple Plan. He also produced the hit TV shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

Costner has had a more chequered career. His directorial debut Dances with Wolves won seven Academy awards, including the Oscars for Best Film and Best Director.

[ image: The Costner clan at For Love of the Game premiere]
The Costner clan at For Love of the Game premiere
This reputation was badly tarnished with the release of Waterworld, which saw the star in hot water with the critics and Universal Pictures.

When the $175m film's director Kevin Reynolds quit, Costner fought the studio over the final running time. The movie made only $88m at the US box office, only being pushed into profit by its worldwide takings.

He again clashed with Universal about cuts in 1997, when the studio tried to shorten Costner's preferred three-hour version of The Postman.

Such battles have resulted in the star being labelled as difficult.

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