You’re back in the saddle for the new History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, which premieres May 28. How much fun was it to film another western?
You can’t imagine! Going after the bad guys and leading a charge on horseback, there’s nothing better. We had guns, horses, cabins and blood. It felt like being a kid again.
Hatfields was filmed in Romania. What did you miss about home?
The people we met were great, but I did miss the food. They have McDonald’s everywhere, so we hit that a lot, and my wife [Christine] sent me care packages with cookies. It was really sweet and thoughtful.
The shoot kept you away from your three youngest kids–Cayden, 5, Hayes, 3, and Grace, 2–for two months. Did you talk to them on Skype?
Yes, and it was traumatic. The kids loved it at first, but when it came time to sign off, I could see on Cayden’s face he realized something bad was happening. As the screen started to spiral, I heard him say, “Noooo!” I swear it’s haunted me ever since.
What is life like at home with them?
There’s a lot of tears before bedtime! We play very hard with our kids, but we also have rules. They push us around though, that’s for sure, and we love them.
The miniseries is about one of the most famous feuds in U.S. history. Growing up, did you have any feuds of your own?
Oh yes, I had a lot of little feuds. I had to move a lot, so I was usually the new kid in school. I understand the suspicions and not being included and having to prove yourself.
Your Hatfields beard is pretty impressive. Was that real?
It was my real mustache, but I didn’t have time to grow a full beard so it had to be placed by hand every morning for an hour. I literally watched myself age a decade getting that beard put on.
In February you gave a memorable speech at Whitney Houston’s funeral. Did you spend a lot of time preparing it?
I wrote it up to the last hour before going into church. I didn’t realize so many people felt the need to hear from me. I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to say. My wife and I pulled off to the side of the road and went to a park so I could finish it. But I wasn’t going to stop until it was done, that was for sure.
PHOTO (COLOR): “I love American history,” says Costner, whose band Modern West just released a Hatfields-inspired album, Famous for Killing Each Other.
PHOTO (COLOR): “It was rugged out there,” says Costner (with Matt Barr) of filming Hatfields.
PHOTO (COLOR): “I was nervous,” says Costner of speaking at the funeral of his Bodyguard costar Whitney Houston.
PHOTO (COLOR): Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner in Hollywood in November.
By ULRICA WIHLBORG