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MR. BROOKS

A Screen Hero Explores a Twisted Killer
Ultimately, Evans knew that the key to making the film would lie in finding an exceptionally talented cast willing to "dip their toes into some rather eerie waters.” 

Says Raynold Gideon: "All of these talented actors came along, took our blueprint and created a cathedral.” There were many reasons that Bruce Evans and Raynold Gideon imagined Kevin Costner as MR. BROOKS from the start. First and foremost was the chance to subvert his charm, looks and reputation, as an unassailable screen hero in a way they knew would ratchet up the tension in their thriller. But it was also an opportunity to showcase, in an unexpected way, the acting skills that Costner has demonstrated in such diverse roles as the Civil War Lieutenant who befriends a Sioux tribe in "Dances With Wolves”; the hardened kidnapper who connects with his young captor in Clint Eastwood's "A Perfect World”; the iconic title hero of Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp”; the once-great baseball star who falls for an embittered woman in Mike Binder's "The Upside of Anger” and most recently, the aging Coast Guard rescue swimmer facing his legacy in Andrew Davis' "The Guardian.” 

"I've always thought of Kevin as someone very capable of surprising audiences,” says Evans, "and I don't think he's gotten enough credit yet for what a skilled actor he is. But, as a former actor myself, I know how hard what he does is. He doesn't hide behind tics or mannerisms and or large brush-strokes. He is much more subtle than that – which is where his power to really take a role like this and run with it comes in.”  Costner fearlessly dove into the role from the moment he committed to it. Says co-writer and producer Gideon: "Kevin set the bar very high from the first day of rehearsal. His understanding of Earl Brooks really drove the creation of the entire film. Mr. Brooks is a very flawed human being and his crimes are shocking, but he also knows what he is doing is wrong, and the way Kevin brings that internal struggle to the fore is what makes him so fascinating.” 

First and foremost, Costner did not want to whitewash the stark truth of who Mr. Brooks is -- a man who fights his inner demons yet returns again and again to the compulsion to kill. Nor could he forget the havoc and heartbreak the character wreaks with his brilliantly planned but gruesomely cruel murders of total strangers. States Costner: "Make no mistake, the places Mr. Brooks goes are indefensible and despicable, but what makes him so interesting is that he has this other pressure on him that you don't usually get to see in a killer – there's a conscience beating at him.”

Costner was profoundly horrified at times by the thoughts and deeds of Mr. Brooks, but that's also what made this role such an irresistible and intense challenge as an actor. "For the part of Brooks that is most depraved, I really had to use my imagination,” the actor comments. "There was no other way to understand that kind of drive to kill other people. But when he's conducting his business or taking care of his family or even trying to understand himself, I could relate in some way to those things, and I tried to humanize those moments.” 

Indeed, for Costner, the only way in to Earl Brooks' savage soul was through the only two things he really cares about: his family and the company he built, neither of which he wants to lose now that he is under the unthinkable threat of getting caught by a tenacious detective. "There's something very genuine about that side of him that is truly in love with his wife, his daughter, his house and his business – but you never can forget that is also what allows him to be the successful killer that he is,” he says. 

As for why Mr. Brooks' family don't see, or perhaps don't want to see, the demons lurking inside him, Costner believes that human nature often allows us to deny the darkness in other people – and that M

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