Modern-day audiences might best recognize Kevin Costner as the leading man in Yellowstone, but the actor has a long-standing career in Hollywood that winds its way through several critically-acclaimed films. Nearly four decades in the entertainment business has given Costner a considerable net worth and plenty of recognition — including two Oscars.
What fans might not know is that Costner has started a side business that’s much more focused on the altruistic effort of saving the planet.
Kevin Costner has been acting for nearly 40 years
A quick look at Costner’s filmography on IMDb shows that it stretches way back to 1981 where he played in Malibu Hot Summer. He would go on to other small roles throughout the ’80s including several parts as unnamed extras. By 1989, however, he was gaining fast recognition thanks largely in part to his starring role in Field of Dreams.
From that point on, things moved quickly for Costner who starred in back-to-back-to-back hits including playing the titular role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), JFK (1991), and The Bodyguard (1992). That era definitely helped define his career with so many blockbusters coming out in quick succession, but Costner’s acting career remained steady.
Tin Cup (1996) showed Costner’s softer side while Swing Vote (2008) gave him the chance to show off his comedic chops. From dramas to romances and action flicks to comedies, Costner has done just about everything — but it wasn’t until recently that he tackled an entirely different kind of acting.
The move to television has been challenging
While Costner’s range was never in question, it was also clear that he was a film actor. Television had never really been part of his repertoire, so when he took on the starring role in Yellowstone, it was quite an adjustment.
Unlike a film role — where the actors know their character’s ending throughout filming — television stars are often kept in the dark to limit the potential for leaks. The film schedule is also very demanding and stretches over much longer periods of time.
Costner explained that not knowing what is coming next for his character has been difficult: “That’s a more vulnerable way to go through life as an actor.” He really loves the setting of the show, however.
Perhaps that’s because his own home — a Colorado ranch — feels like it would fit right in. The series features plenty of shots of wide-open spaces and land for cattle to graze. Costner’s 160-acre ranch in Aspen, Colorado provides a similar reprieve from the hustle and bustle.
Kevin Costner has a philanthropic side business
Without a doubt, most people know Costner from the characters he’s portrayed on the screen, but it turns out that he has been inspired to start an entirely separate business unrelated to Hollywood — and the motivation came from one of his own roles.
According to Business Insider, performing in 1995’s Waterworld gave Costner an acute appreciation for ocean protection. He was so inspired by the work and seeing the devastating impacts of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill that he created a device to separate water from oil. The device is designed to help lessen the impact of disastrous oil spills, the effects of which can be devastating to ocean biodiversity.
Each device can separate 200 gallons of oil from the water each minute. In 2010, as they were facing their own oil spill crisis, BP purchased 32 units of Costner’s device.
The investment provided much-needed relief in the Gulf of Mexico. Costner got to help save the planet while also netting a tidy $15 million from the sale.
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