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Costner passionate over 'Draft Day' as film classic

AFP

Actor Kevin Costner attends a press conference for the film

Actor Kevin Costner attends a press conference for the film "Draft Day" on January 31, 2014Actor Kevin Costner attends a press conference for the film "Draft Day" on January 31, 2014

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner says his new movie "Draft Day", the story of a National Football League team general manager, has a chance to become a rare sports movie classic.

And the 59-year-old American would know, given his roles in a trio of iconic baseball films -- "Bull Durham", "Field of Dreams" and "For Love of the Game".

"I wouldn't be in it if I didn't think it had a chance to be great," Costner said. "'Draft Day' has a chance to be classic."

Two days before Super Bowl 48 sends Seattle against Denver for the NFL title, Costner spoke about the April 11 release directed by Ivan Reitman, a fictional look at the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft with the coarse language he says a sports film needs to ring true.

"To get a great movie, there has to be a proper amount of vulgarity in it," Costner said. "There's a level of poetry that that has to go with the vulgarity.

"Ivan rode the edge of a movie that could become a classic. It has to have that grit and it does in the end."

Reitman noted that the film, the first made in conjunction with the NFL and partly filmed at last year's draft, was written to be about the Buffalo Bills. But better state tax rebates saw the project tweaked to feature another long-struggling team with a devoted following, the Cleveland Browns.

"It came down to money," Reitman said. "There was also a lot of fear how well it would do outside North America. Every million back meant a lot to us."

The movie's focus is on the NFL Draft, where the worst NFL teams get the first chance to pick from new talent available from the college ranks.

"We explain enough of the mechanics of the draft that I think people will understand it," Reitman said. "What's amazing is what's going on in 32 NFL 'war rooms' across the country. It's a behind-the-scenes world we rarely get to see."

Costner says the tale of tensions and emotions on the job transcends sport, and doesn't require viewers to know much about American football while staying true to the vision for those who do.

"I don't care if it ever plays in Europe," Costner said. "If it's a little vulgar and it doesn't play on planes, I don't care. This is our game and we have encapsulated it in this movie."

Among the points is the pressure an entire city can place upon a sports team general manager to make the correct decisions about talent.

"It doesn't stop for him," Costner said. "His mother even hates what he's doing. I didn't find that unbelievable at all. It's something that drew me to it."

In test screenings, Reitman said, "People who knew nothing about football scored the movie the same as people who knew a lot, and it was high."

Jennifer Garner plays the Browns' salary cap manager, making certain the moves of Costner's character, Sonny Weaver, are within NFL budget limits. She smiled as hundreds of camera clicks greeted her arrival to Friday's promotional event.

"You guys have been shooting a lot of boys, haven't you?" she said.

Garner followed the real-life inspiration for her character so much that she was constantly being reminded that all she saw was confidential.

"The thing I love about my character is that she is the smartest woman in the room most of the time," Garner said.

"I've got a lot of respect for any woman who goes into the world of little boys."

Date created : 2014-02-01