June 14, 2010 -- Actor Kevin Costner sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Sam Champion last week. The following transcript of their interview has been edited for clarity.
SAM CHAMPION: First of all, let me just say that-- that your subcommittee transcripts are the only transcripts I've ever enjoyed reading because the way you spoke was to understand from the heart, made perfect sense to me, and I have never sat there and ready subcommittee transcripts and enjoyed reading them.
KEVIN COSTNER: The-- the written testimony on my speech? Which one did you read?
CHAMPION: I read the-- I read the written testimony.
COSTNER: The written testimony? Well, the speech was-- was-- a lot more my voice. The written testimony got a little more technical than even I like to get. (LAUGH) But thank you. You-- I don't know if you did see the testimony or not, my personal testimony.
CHAMPION: I saw some of it.
CHAMPION: On ... when you were testifying, what was the point you were trying to get across there … ?
COSTNER: Well, they invited me. You know, I haven't-- I've been tryin' to make my point for about 12 years. And-- and there's a moment in time where you just can't shout any louder, you can't-- you can't wave your arms anymore. Your ability to move the dial, you know, you run up against a wall and-- and-- and all of the money in the world that I had, had to stop. And so, you know, that-- you know, that's-- that's where I found myself. But I was invited into this process by-- some locals down in New Orleans who said, you know, they had-- they had seen this machine and seen them in oil conferences.
John Houghtaling, who is my partner … went in to, as unlikely as it may have seemed, went in to talk with (Plaquemines parish president) Billy Nungesser. And … "You know, this-- this may seem a little bit unlikely. But-- the actor Kevin Costner has a magic machine. You know what I mean …
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COSTNER: So he went in to talk to Billy, who is beside himself, who understood what was coming their way. And … help didn't seem to be on any horizon, no pun intended. And … and basically said, "Look. I-- there's an unlikely thing. You know, there's this guy. You know, you know him the actor." And Billy said, "Stop. Just wait a second. Just stop right there." He said, "I was in the oil industry ten years ago. I saw his machine work in Houston. And it works. Let's get him."
So I'm here writing movies and I get a call and invited to go down. And at that point, you know, I have re-engaged. So, you know what I mean? It … there's only so much yelling and hand-waving you do. But I was invited into the process and I'd begun to work with the locals down there ... And the people, the-- they have a lot of knowledge about how to work.
And they have a lot of fear about what's coming their way. And these guys are working night and day. So I have engaged with the local community, with Billy. And we've also engaged on a higher level with … BP. And the last two days, you know, I've found myself in Washington, you know-- testifying, you know, making people aware that there is … . We're coming to the fight late. But there is something that can add to this fight now, and can actually put things in place so that we never look feeble again, we're able to … combat this at the point of attack.
CHAMPION: So 15 years--
CHAMPION: --if I'm right. And correct if I'm-- if I'm wrong, 15 years--
COSTNER: I think the years are … the years could be wrong a little bit. But I don't, I'm not correcting you, Sam.
CHAMPION: Okay. And am I right with 20-- $24 million?
KEVIN COSTNER: Yeah. I, it's …north of $20 million and … I've said before, that's, that's after taxes. (LAUGH) So imagine how much I had to make to make $24 (million). So when you start adding interest and opportunity cost, it, the number goes a little bit north of that, I would say, by a long shot. But I think if you say over $20 million … I think that gets enough attention.
CHAMPION: It's a big-- it's a big number.
CHAMPION: --everybody's number. It's a big number. And … what have we got? Just tell me a little bit about what it is and what it does.
COSTNER: Well, it, literally … it's an oil separator. It … it separates oil and water at incredibly high speeds under very difficult conditions. So our largest machine separates oil and water at about 200 gallons a minute. I can't do the math. Somebody … somebody on your staff could extrapolate that.
But if we probably wanted to frame it in some kind of analogy that the world could understand, if you took the Exxon Valdez, which was kind of the motivating force for me to go into this technology when I saw everybody standing on the shore with rubber boots and pitch forks trying to clean up the problem that they didn't create, you know, the images of the birds, it was all very, very sad.
So I went ahead and I said, "Does this have to happen?" Created this machine, and … this machine works the same way now as it did ten years ago. If 20 of my V20s would have been at the Exxon Valdez, 90 percent of that oil would have been cleaned up within the week. And the reality is, it would have been used asset because the machine works at such a high efficiency, the oil could have come back to the … oil company. You know, they would have avoided most of their black eye and they would have had most of their precious asset back into their hands.
CHAMPION: So vacuums up--
COSTNER: I realize people go, "Huh? Really?" But that's really it.
CHAMPION: (LAUGH) And-- and that's why-- I think that's why it's so hard to believe that it's not in use but-- right now.
CHAMPION: But … okay. So it vacuums oily water mixture.
CHAMPION: And to--
COSTNER: What we're doing now is vacuuming up oil and water. And now where do we put it? All the skimmers are out there. It's 90 percent water, ten percent gunk, and where do they put it? If-- they're gonna have to go put that out of mind and out of sight.
It's an incredible inefficient system for dealing with the oil. It's just really … is. These machines could actually be on those particular ships, … mixing it, straining it, separating it, so that when those ships actually come back to shore, they don't have 90 percent water. They have almost 99 percent oil in the bottom. That's a more efficient model … .
CHAMPION: It … seems common sense.
CHAMPION: Now-- and I know you've tested it many times. I've read different areas that you've tested. But you ran into a problem trying to get it here because there's a catch 22, as you referred to it.
COSTNER: Well, that's-- it's a catch 22 that I've experienced … . We have tested it. And on all oil spills that were emerging over the last ten or 12 years, I volunteered my equipment, sending it as far away as Japan. But you get out there and what they go, "Well, if it hasn't been tested, we can't take it out. It's-- it's-- the Coast Guard's mandate. Well, if it hasn't been tested."
I said, "But we've been trying to test this." I mean, anybody who could look at it could see that it's kind of a Swiss watch. It's not just kind of a willy-nilly … thing. It took an enormous amount of money to bring this, you know. I mean, I've had scientists and engineers working on this, not me. I'm like a dodo. I've got the real guys working on this, okay?
CHAMPION: You weren't making this in your day time?
COSTNER: No. Aerospace-- Aerospace has signed on with our company. They have the mandate to not let us fail, to not let people put us in the position where we will fail. And if they put us into the toughest spots, which they have, the machine succeeds wildly there, which actually surprised me.
So, you know, we're designed to be a first response, meaning wherever oil comes into water, you drop it off. If your ship was sinking, you'd obviously be looking to a life boat. You'd be looking for your life preserver. You'd be, if somebody was hurt, you'd be looking for a first aid kit.
We've realized over time that we legislate that those things be on boats. If you don't have them, you can be arrested. You can be fined. The same thing should apply where this machine is concerned. Anybody doing business on the ocean where oil could come into contact, they have an obligation to the rest of us around the world who enjoy beaches like this that we know that they're doing something proactive when it's going down. We're just talking about a level of logic here. You know, we're talking about trying to get ahead of the curve. That's all.
CHAMPION: Now … the plan was to put it out where the oil originates. But you've had it testing on some spots …
COSTNER: That's correct.
CHAMPION: --closer to shore.
COSTNER: We have.
CHAMPION: And it's working even there?
COSTNER: And it's worked there, even in the peanut butter. It … it's required a little bit of engineering, but who wouldn't? You know, it'd be like asking an eight-year-old to play against 15-year-olds. That doesn't seem quite fair. But when we did … we agreed to take it there because the machine is very robust.
With a small amount of engineering, with a small amount of … by, like, the locals. I was telling you about Leon and Dave Roberts and people like that. And BP has been working very hard with their engineers to help our guys that they saw the … . They saw what it … can do. You know, anybody can maybe suck up water, but how do you separate it--
COSTNER: --you know, at-- at high speeds? And so that's really what we're, what we're about.
CHAMPION: And how has it been going? 'Cause I know there were-- you just got the deal to add more in. And I think there are 12 already there and testing?
COSTNER: I'm not sure about the logistic or what, what's there yet. There has been this testing process. You know, I think the world is tired of this testing. You know, they … they want a level of action. But yeah, we, we got a letter of intent from BP, from Doug Suttles.
And … I told him, "We're a small company. And … we need you to support this." And he said, "I will support it." And … I choose to believe him at this moment. I looked across at him and he said, "I have just as much vested here as you do."
So I choose to believe Doug when he says, "We're giving an order of 32." We're going to need him to economically, you know, start the engine for my company. The largest oil supplier in the Gulf, Gary Chouest, a company Edison Chouest, and it might be interesting to just make a distinction here a little bit. Sometimes when people think of the Gulf, they think of oil and they think of fishermen as two … separate entities. And they're not.
They're so intertwined, the guys that work on these oil barracks, they're outdoorsmen. They fish. You take the largest supplier of oil, Edison Chouest company. His father, Gary's father and … Laney's father was a shrimper.
And so, you know, one doesn't cancel out the other. And … Gary Chouest has seen … machine and he … believes that those machines, he's willing to put those machines on his service boats, you know, in the Gulf.
And … BP has talked about supporting that particular idea. And I hope that that's the case. They … say they want to work with us and I'm, I'm choosing to believe at this moment they do. But Gary Chouest is a very big player here. Because this is … this isn't Kevin Costner now talking about his machine. This is somebody who has … combined 100 years of experience knowing that this works and this has to be out there as a first line of defense.
CHAMPION: Is it too late for the Gulf if ... by the time BP gets rolling, is … all this going to be washed on shore? And, you know, we've got it in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama. Is it too late, or is there still time?
COSTNER: It's not, it's not too late. But you realize we are coming to this fight late. The reality, though, and what environmentalists know and everybody know that this is going to be sitting out there. So this company WestPac and … in joint venture with Oceans Therapy are continuing to … develop ideas for how to work really close in shore.
That oil's going to keep coming towards those people. That well has not stopped. So we have to be out at the source, sucking it up on some major, I mean, we have to treat it a little bit like a war. We mustered logistically everything we had to get the Beaches of Normandy. We have to muster everything we can to keep it from hitting our beaches.
The fact is it's there, we know it's there, people have … we fumbled. We fumbled badly on the world stage. It … and we've … done it before. But we also … there are some good minds out there and … you know, we, the process of cleaning up is going to go forward, and we need to do it with more than rakes and … rubber boots.
And that's what we can be about. So we are coming to it late, but we … can be effectively taking that oil away for a long time because it's going to keep coming. And pretty soon there, the stage picture's going to turn to some other crisis in the world and the people in the Gulf are going to be stuck with their problem that they didn't start.
And we have to have technology that's … handling this as an ongoing thing. I'm sitting here talking like some guy, you know, like … I'm a business guy. I'm not really, you know. I'm more of a dreamer, right? I'm more of a "what if?" guy. But when I get to talking about this, it's kind of easy to do because people all around America are talking at their kitchen tables. And they feel the exact same thing.
So how do we prevent this from happening again? Well, one thing we know for sure: we're not going to prevent the spills. They happen every day. And a minor … spill is just as tragic as a large spill. In fact, I read somewhere where the amount of spills that take place about every seven months is equal to an Exxon Valdez. That's being spilled into our ocean, all around the world. All -- if you add them all up, about every seven months it equals an Exxon Valdez.
So we know accidents are going to happen. But if we're going to operate on our high seas, we have to have-- we have to have this equipment there and … it should be able to operate the minute the oil comes into contact with water. And the only reason those machines shouldn't be working would be if those on those boats, those on those oil barracks, are fighting for their life or limb at that moment. And short of that, they should be the people that are cleaning it up.
CHAMPION: I sit here and look at the beautiful place very near where you grew up.
COSTNER: You gave yourself the best view.
CHAMPION: I did.
COSTNER: I'm looking at a bunch of rocks.
CHAMPION: (LAUGH) Sorry about that. But it is a gorgeous view. And is this--
COSTNER: Well, you can see the oil barracks out there. Do you see them?
CHAMPION: Yeah. I can now because the haze has burned off a little bit. Is knowing that that's there, and growing up in a place this beautiful, is that what makes you so passionate about it? Because you know, look. Some guy who has made as much money as you, who's as successful as you, is sitting in his house someplace else and not getting involved in this, and not spending his own money, and not passionate about it. What made you care this much?
COSTNER: I told you I'm a little bit of a dreamer and not-- not a terribly good business man. I mean, there's almost nobody that would spend that kind of money without an end gain. And I never really come at things that way. I'm not … I'd like to make some money in my life with this machine, if it-- happened.
But that's what … that isn't what motivated it. I… use oil. I … love to fly to see my kids in college. I understand that oil is a very big part of American life. The fact that we are so dependent on it is … not right.
You know, and … I'll leave it to others to discuss that. We know that that's not right. It puts us in, it puts our national security at risk that we can't kind of … supply ourself. We need somebody else to supply us. We … we should probably take a … very sobering look at that and not maybe do it on a committee. Maybe just somebody go, "This is wrong."
But I did it because I … know we need to be dealing with oil. But …I couldn't understand why we're not dealing with it responsibly. And what happened is as a young man, as a boy, I would see these things, these images, and I could tell my parents would stop and look at the TV. And when you're young, you look at them and you go, "Something stopped them." And what stopped them was these images.
So I looked at those images myself and it was rubber boots. And it was straw. And it was pitch forks. And then I looked at it again ten years later and I wasn't a boy anymore. And I'm looking at it. And now I'm going, the same images, the oil coming up like pudding and people again on beaches with rubber boots and straw. And then the Exxon Valdez came and again rubber-- it's like we put men on the moon. We handle nuclear energy. We do a myriad of things. We have companies that know how to build-- a platform out in the middle of an ocean.
Go figure. You and I probably couldn't do that. In thousands of feet of water, and then manage to go thousands of feet into earth to get the oil out. But that same mindset didn't think about how, when there's something happens and-- and so I've always-- you know, people are gonna -- if I say I'm a blue collar guy, people are gonna go, "Oh, yeah."
I mean, the easiest thing in life is to not put somebody like me life in reverse. Okay? If you want to put my life in reverse, when I left college I wanted to be an actor. And I wanted to be an actor so bad that I worked for $3.50 an hour. I decided I would take out trash. Okay? My other friends in college were doing other kind of jobs. They were getting their company car, they were getting their first house. I was maybe getting an interview once every two months.
But I was happy. Right? I was really, really happy. I made one decision. If I was going to take out trash, I was going to make sure that it was movie trash. So I worked at a studio. So I didn't grow up with a silver spoon. I worked on commercial fishing boats to pay for my college. I drove trucks. I framed houses. So my DNA really is I'm not a very good protest marcher. Okay? I'm not a very good person that knows how to draw attention to a problem. I have colleagues that are incredible at that, how they are able to raise awareness on issues.
I'm more of a person to kind of see the problem, kind of goes, "Well, I'm just gonna work on that. (LAUGH) I'm just going to … work on the oil thing." And just, I kinda go about it. And maybe I've been too far under the radar. But if you read that testimony, you will see that I played fair. I went to governmental-- government bodies. I went to all the initials.
CHAMPION: And you never got frustrated. To me--
COSTNER: Of course I did.
CHAMPION: Well, I didn't see it. I mean, I don't-- and-- and I would have wanted to yell at somebody. But you were very calm and you were very intelligently laying out a simple, and kept it simple, plan. I don't know how you don't get frustrated.
But you seem to be a voice that can bring both of these sides, it seems, the government and oil-- and I'd say even three sides, and people. And everybody wants to listen to you. And-- and yet you're not blaming anyone. Do you not-- do you not blame them?
COSTNER: Oh … my-- level of my frustration is-- is very high. But you know … you know, talkin' to my dad, you know, and … about things, about how to conduct yourself, and, you know, and he said, "You know, you're going to go onto that movies and you're going to be-- you're probably going to play leading men, Kevin. You're going to -- there's a way you carry yourself. And one of the actions of being a leading man in movies is you never blame and you never explain. You just kinda-- you run into a wall, you kinda just-- you keep going'. You keep going."
And for me, this is-- it would be interesting if this circle closes in 15 years. No one would be happier that … this is a good ending. You know, I make long movies, so maybe this is (LAUGH) you know, maybe-- maybe this is a long story. But … it's important to know that … this (UNINTEL) has been there. And industry and government has known about it. All right. So what? So what?
The … thing is, is there's fishermen down there with wives and children who do not know that their way of life, they don't know … what next week is going to be. We're sitting here talking, I have it good. I mean, there's not anybody looking at this right now that's not going to think, "That … Chad has it pretty good." But if you can look out on that horizon, you can actually see oil barracks. Can you seem them out there?
COSTNER: That could come on this beach. And right now, the world can walk on this beach. When government does something good, they made sure that even though rich people can live on the beach, they couldn' t … they can't own it.
COSTNER: --anybody can walk on this beach. And so any one of us could right now, the, you know, if we're lucky, the dolphins'll come here and put on a show for free. And they come almost every day. But if something out there happens, you know, and it's not just an oil brig.
You know, we deal with a myriad of problems that could-- could hit us. You know, if-- if somethin' goes south in Alaska tomorrow, if somethin' goes south here, if something-- tragic happens again in the Gulf, what are we gonna do? That's why I said there's-- this has got to be looked at as almost a war effort.
This can't be a passive response and people-- in the know, once it becomes not, not a headline for them, it will always be a headline for the Gulf Coast, but when it's not a headline for them, to know that these things are legislative. These things have to come and they have to come now.
CHAMPION: And is this the answer? Or is this an answer?
COSTNER: This is an answer. This is a … part of this … giant puzzle. But this is almost your-- your most basic s … I made an analogy in Congress where I said, "Let me paint a picture." Because I could-- I could look at everybody and I was thinkin', "I'm not gonna win them over with the … . I just knew it. And I said, "Imagine if you had a boat, okay? A really big boat. A yacht kind of boat. A boat that everybody out there having a beer right now goes, 'I wish I had one.'
"And I'm talkin' about a boat that has all the gadgets. Has … an extra fishing boat on top. The boat's so big it can carry a fishing boat. (LAUGH) Where we just stare at it in awe, right? Has a helicopter pad and a helicopter. Has the jet skis. Has everything that you'd want. All the gadgets. And now there's an explosion and this boat's going down. And it's going to sink below the water. And so you take a look at it and you realize that your helicopter sunk. And your fishing boat sunk. And your water skis, your jet skis, gone.
"And now you're fighting for life and limb and you're trying to save your wife and your children. And the only thing that's going to keep them afloat is that ugly little orange life preserver that you have hidden out of view, that you have stowed somewhere else. And if you get your hands on that, you can save your wife and you can save your kids. And that's what this machine represents.
"It represents -- an opportunity to actually be proactive. It represents maybe an opportunity for an industry to go back to work. If we can show that there's a responsible answer to an inevitable problem. This little life preserver, this machine, this-- (LAUGH) I call it a real machine. Might as well say it's $20 million. (LAUGH) This …this could be a pivot point where it looks -- that there's a responsible answer. Because there is no other responsible answer to oil that spills. And if there is a responsible answer, I think people can go back to work."
CHAMPION: Take me, for just a second, straight through what would happen now. If everything's ready to go, people are ready to go now, what are the next couple of steps …?
COSTNER: W ... I don't actually …
CHAMPION: If … BP says, "Let's go. Here's the check." The government says, "Yes. It's approved. Put it in there."
CHAMPION: What happens then?
COSTNER: Well, you go into a massive manufacturing. And if you get, it's just very simple. You know, you start shipping life preservers. It's really what you do. And … and you have to figure out how to do it the responsible way. What's the responsible way? Industry will tell us that.
CHAMPION: How long will it take to get enough machines out there on the water that we're at least stemming the tide and …
COSTNER: I can't--
CHAMPION: --making a difference?
COSTNER: --I can't actually speak to that. You know, like I said, we're comin' to this fight late.
COSTNER: But I think … there has to be a parallel track. We have to send assets to start to clean this thing up and know that that's going to be a long term. It should be an enormous amount of assets, these machines sent there. But we should not make the mistake of thinking that … then government and industry alike should be ordering machines on a parallel track to be putting on the barracks and the service boats. It's got to be a dual situation going forward.
CHAMPION: So you're not … you're basically trying to change the way they take spills in general? And--
COSTNER: I just think it's time that we … see what we're doing out there, you know. And I just think it's time to drag the oil industry response into the 21st century.
CHAMPION: On all the tests that you've done, how successful is this …? 'Cause I just …. the reason I ask that is I haven't seen all of them. And I know there's different qualities of oil …
CHAMPION: --different situations--
COSTNER: --this machine's incredibly effective. It can actually spit out water at a 99.9 percent purity. And so it's … been where the dispersants were. We didn't know that it would work there. It's taken a long time to get it out there. So the great thing about the machine is it can operate where there's no dispersants. There's no need to pollute … we don't need chemicals to operate that machine in blue water. It was taken into the ground water. It was taken in close to the marsh, where it got very, very thick. And like--
COSTNER: --I said earlier, we had to engineer it and found that we could do that. And so--
CHAMPION: So that's working now.
COSTNER: And the reason it is working is … because the machine was built with such a robust … nature. It was designed really beautifully, in a very muscular way. And so it … can cut the light grass and it can cut (LAUGH) the thick grass. I mean, let me kind of break it down into my language.
CHAMPION: All right. So let me just do this right, so that we have the numbers right. Half a dozen in testing right now, and BP's ordered-- is it 32? 38?
COSTNER: BP's ordered … 32. They've … how they're going to interface with the industry and how the rest of big oil's going to face the industry is … we're going to know that in the next week, how-- what kind of real response iss coming forth, both in orders and both … and in check, so to speak. I mean, you know, where the rubber meets the road. Because I'm done funding. (LAUGH) I'm … over it, okay?
COSTNER: I'd like-- you know, I'm … I'm a pretty big fool, not that big a fool. I mean, not that great a fool. We need an economic engine to get behind this, and we have that in the Gary Chouest now. And I think, I think BP … I'm choosing to believe that … BP is going to be an engine behind this change, economically now.
And … all those people that are working in that industry need to, to kind now. There's not-- this is not a, "Well, let's just lay it out." We don't need any more tests, okay? We don't need any more committees. We … have fumbled around enough, you know. If people want to discuss what happened, I don't want to go to that committee. You know the ... room I want to be in.
CHAMPION: All right. Now, and are you satisfied that your voice is getting heard right now? That you've got everybody's attention and that things will change?
COSTNER: Well, I've been very quiet. I haven't talked … which you know-- I know your program has asked for me to comment. I kept my head down because I had to bring the equipment out of … so to speak. It was … working in other industries, but it just wasn't working in the oil industry. You know, in the … clean up … for which it was designed.
So I … had to come back and … I brought in Aerospace, who you know is a non-profit federal organization. They have 4,000 scientists and engineers. They have sided with this machine. They are dedicated to the idea that this is one of the real answers. This is a machine that has an … immediate impact. And they … are in place to … completely make sure this is working.
CHAMPION: You're not the guy I've seen yet, and I've … even tried to lead you there, to blame people. You're not going to do it. So let me ask you this.
COSTNER: Well … here's what it is. I'm not a spokesman for anybody, but … the ecosystem that can't speak for itself. I'm not a spokesman for anybody except the fishermen who who can't speak for themselves. They're wondering where an answer is.
And I'm not a white horse. I'm not on a white horse. I'm not the savior to this thing. But I'm kind of saying, like, I got a life preserver. And that's actually minimizing it too much to call it that. It's ... a highly technical engineered piece of machinery that can … do a job. And when somebody wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with me, perhaps they'll bring their machine, too. But right now, you know … we're ready to go. And … I do need BP to … help me and to … and to do the things that they say they will do.
CHAMPION: Let me ask you this, too. We hear there's a lot of people on the internet who say, "I want to help in some way." And it seems to be what you're saying. And … they're getting turned down, too. What would you say to them to encourage them? Or … would you encourage them?
COSTNER: Well, what I would say to them is I was given 800 numbers, too. (LAUGH) I … I'd call the agencies again and I was given the 800 number. I was … my number was given to some very high-ranking people and they lost my phone number. They found it now, and so we're talking.
… time to posture, okay. It … but it isn't a time for great committees either. You know, there are people who are mad and they say, "G** d*** it. I want to see -- I want to see something happen." That's what they feel like. They feel like, "G** d*** it. I wan to to see something happen." And that's about as mad as I get.
CHAMPION: But do we feel like something's going to happen? Do you … do you feel like something's --
COSTNER: I do feel--
CHAMPION: --gonna happen?
COSTNER: --like it. I feel like, I feel like one of the largest … the fifth largest company in the world looked at me and said, "We want to help. We're going to help you." Now I'm waiting to see that happen. And it's going to come in the form of orders and it's going to come … in the form of … checks.
I've had the largest supplier, the … smartest guy I know down around the … Gulf Coast, Gary Chouest, said, "I can help you. And I'd like to put them on all my boats." And … I looked at Doug Suttles and he said, "I can … help you. I can move the dial on this issue."
CHAMPION: You've given a lot of your time to us, and I want to thank you for letting us set up in your home as well.
COSTNER: We missed the biggest waves already.
CHAMPION: There are some--
COSTNER: There might be a little bit more.
CHAMPION: --if you could write a great movie ending--
CHAMPION: --what is it for this story?
COSTNER: That, look, we, number one, listen, I want to try to put this on a personal note. You know, my kids have seen me do this most of their life. And sometimes you're, you know, you listen. In a lot of the world I'm kind of cool, at least through looks of Hollywood. But to your kids, you never look that cool. (LAUGH) You know, you just don't.
And also, the idea that I put a lot of the resources I had, I put all of them I had towards this thing. And there's a moment where, you know, your … kids kind of maybe to themself goes, "Is our dad crazy? Is he-- is he that guy in Back to the Future, you know, Chris Lloyd? You know … is that who my dad is?" And … when I was, just before I went on Capitol Hill, my daughters both helped me prepare my remarks. You know, they were both with me.
There's no greater thrill than to have your kids, you know, when your … kids are little, you're helping them across the stream because they just can't get there. And yesterday, before I went before Congress, which I have great respect for, I was nervous and I was in trouble. And my girls helped me. They helped me write my testimony and they helped me write my speech. And just before I went on, they told me I wasn't crazy.
CHAMPION: That would be the ending to your story? To find out that you aren't crazy?
COSTNER: Well, there's something about just having your own --I know I'm not. I know I'm not. I, but, you know, I'm … I'm just … you didn't get the poetry in my story.
CHAMPION: I did get it. (LAUGH) I got it. But I'm trying to get a great line out of you. I'm trying to get one of these great lines to end the interview. I got the poetry of the story.
COSTNER: Well … the great ending is not for me. It's for people. The great ending is not … for me. I don't have to be endorsed. I know what I did and I know the people around me know what I did. So … the great ending, you know, it'd be selfish to make it a personal ending.
It's more about what's going to happen and what are we going to do about it. And the American people, … if government and if industry hooks up right now, Americans can begin to put away their rubber boots and their pitch forks and their straw.
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