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Kevin Costner, aka ‘The Postman,’ Thinks Trump’s Post Office Meddling Is ‘Criminal’

Kevin Costner, aka ‘The Postman,’ Thinks Trump’s Post Office Meddling Is ‘Criminal’

On Tuesday night, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s cold open was a bit unusual. In lieu of a skit ridiculing Trump’s latest bout of chaos-agenting, the program aired a mock trailer for the re-release of Kevin Costner’s 1997 film The Postman. “In its day, a critical and box office disaster. But today, chillingly accurate,” the voiceover said. “Looks like somebody owes Kevin Costner an apology.”

As fate would have it, I was scheduled to interview Costner the following day to discuss HearHere, his new storytelling platform/travel app providing, “A hands-free experience that delights, informs and entertains by fostering a deeper connection with the people, places and histories of the land you are traveling through.”

Costner hadn’t seen the Colbert sketch, though chuckled when I brought it up.

“Stephen Colbert said that?” he said. “I liked making that movie! I did.”

The Postman was a post-apocalyptic Western set in a 2013 America ravaged by plagues and a murderous white-nationalist militia, led by Nathan Holn. These “Holnists” have stripped the country of every last vestige of democracy and freedom, transforming America into a totalitarian state. Costner plays a drifter who finds a U.S. Postal Service uniform and mailbag, and inspires hope for a “Restored America” by, well, delivering the mail. The film was savaged by critics and made just $20 million against an $80 million budget.

But now, given Trump’s systematic dismantling of the U.S. Postal Service in recent months—that he’s openly admitted is being done to stop mail-in voting, and thus influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election—Costner’s film glorifying the U.S. Postal Service appears to have been rather “prophetic,” as he puts it.

“Listen, a movie is what it is when it comes out. It has a chance to be revisited, and I was always kind of proud of it,” Costner tells The Daily Beast. “I thought that I had made a mistake not starting out the movie with, ‘Once upon a time…’ because it’s kind of like a fairy tale. ‘Once upon a time, when things got really rotten, the only thing that could stand the test of time was the post office. The only thing people could count on.’ I didn’t say that, and I should have. Because it is like a fairy tale you’d read to your children at night. That’s how I did the movie.”

As for Trump’s starving of the U.S. Postal Service, which has already caused massive delays in the delivery of life-saving medications to elderly patients and the distribution of pension checks, among other things, Costner doesn’t mince words.

“It’s terrible. It’s terrible,” he says. “Nothing is surreal. Everything is highly real, and it’s dangerous. And it’s shameful.”

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