Kevin Costner Remembers Powerful Gene Hackman Story on 35th Anniversary of ‘No Way Out’

by Lauren Boisvert
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“No Way Out” premiered on August 14, 1987, and Kevin Costner took to Twitter today to celebrate the film’s 35th birthday. He posted a tweet featuring an interview he did on the Rich Eisen Show where he told a story about Gene Hackman, who costarred in the film with Costner.

“35 years ago today we released ‘No Way Out’!” Costner wrote on Twitter. “In honor of this anniversary, I want to share this story of Gene Hackman that I told on the @RichEisenShow a few years back that has stuck with me to this day.”

Kevin Costner Tells a Story About Gene Hackman On Set of ‘No Way Out’

The video attached to the tweet features a portion of Costner’s interview. “I would say, probably, that Gene [Hackman] was the best actor that I ever worked with,” he began. “This scene came up. We had been doing every scene to that point around a desk. I said to the director, I don’t feel like it’s right. Gene Hackman’s standing there listening […] no one is saying anything and the director and I really butted heads on that. At one point they were saying, well, what’s Gene going to do? And I said, Gene will figure out what to do. Because he’s really good,” Costner laughed.

He continued, “So we do the scene and we do it all day, and it’s the scene now that’s in the movie. I remember as I was walking out to my car on MGM Lot, Gene was getting in and he goes, hey [waving motion], I’m going to talk to you. And I walked over and he goes, ‘look man, if you ever do that in front of me again’ […] but that’s not what he said, that’s what I thought he was going to say. He looked at me and he said, ‘hey, I went through a divorce, I’ve been doing a lot of kind of questionable movies lately. And when I saw you fighting for what you wanted today, it reminded me of how I used to feel about acting. It was good, what you did.’ And then he just got in his car and drove off.”

‘No Way Out’ Turns 35, Remembering Its Critical Impact

“No Way Out” starred Kevin Costner as Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell, Gene Hackman as Secretary of Defense David Brice, and Sean Young as Susan Atwell. The screenplay was based on Kenneth Fearing’s 1946 novel “The Big Clock.” It’s a romantic thriller that follows the three characters’ love triangle, as Atwell begins an affair with Farrell while still Brice’s mistress. Brice accidentally kills Atwell in a fit of rage and essentially tries to pin it on Farrell. The evidence looks good that Farrell killed Atwell, and now he now has to prove that Brice is the real suspect. There’s a great twist to this plot that I won’t reveal, even though this movie is 35 years old now. It’s a good one, though, I promise.

When this film came out, most critics hailed it as a masterpiece. It surpassed its budget at the box office by $20.5 million. Roger Ebert gave it a 4 out of 4 stars, calling it “truly labyrinthine and ingenious.” Additionally, it’s considered by Rotten Tomatoes to be the film that “made Kevin Costner a star.”

Outsider.com