Book Shop Owner Meets Movie Star
Yes, Virginia, that’s me with Kevin Costner, actor, director, musician, conservationist, author. Stop the bus . . . . AUTHOR? More on that in a minute. First let me tell you how this all came about.
The Foxes sometimes get tickets for movie premiers in Atlanta, so it wasn’t unusual for our Simon and Schuster rep, Barbara Roach, to send some our way. Atlantic Station was to host the movie, Black Or White; both Costner and co-star Anthony Mackie would be there, I was told. “Maybe you’ll get to meet Kevin Costner.” Barbara knew he was one of my favorite actors. But what were the odds of actually meeting him? When pigs fly, I thought.
We arrived to find our seats in the “Guest of Costner” section, the first clue that this would be no ordinary evening. Monica Kauffman and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed introduced the stars who talked for a few minutes about the movie. Then we sat back in premium seating to enjoy the show.
Costner is at the stage of his career where he can invest in projects he believes in, without stressing about commercial success. Black or White is that kind of worthwhile project, he says, because it sends a message he is passionate about. Both Costner, Mackie and Octavia Spencer (alas, she was not present at the star-studded event) delivered fine performances that turn stereotypical expectations upside down. The story addresses racial conflict, but not with the same tired knee-jerk reactions we’ve grown accustomed to from Hollywood. It’s a story that transcends politics. Black or White is a breath of fresh air with an honest, thought-provoking script and flawed, all-too-human characters struggling to do the right thing.
After the movie, Costner’s long-time friend and business partner, Rod Lake, invited us to the “top of the stairs” to talk and possibly meet Costner. For several minutes we talked about the importance of books, how we despise e-readers, what he, Rod, read as a child, that Kevin Costner had written a book, the first of an adventure series. Wait. Did you say Costner has a new book coming out? Would he, could he, will he . . . . tour for said book, and if he does, would he consider MAYBE coming to . . . FoxTale? Then, smooth as silk, Kevin Costner was standing with us looking tan and handsome and younger in person than the man we’d just watched on the screen. He waited patiently while I tripped over my tongue complimenting the movie and telling him—yes, I actually said this—that I had grown up watching his movies. (He’s a whole year older than me, but whatev, Kev.) I asked him about his book and he said it was an adventure story, the kind he liked to read as a child, in the style of Rudyard Kipling. The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage To Shambhala, will be published later this year, and he hopes it will appeal to both a young-adult and mature audience. It may also be a feature film in which Costner will star and produce.
I reached in my purse and whipped out a FoxTale Book Shoppe bookmark which conveniently had Foxy names and contact information listed.
“I know you may not remember this when it’s time,” I told him, “but we’d be honored to have you visit FoxTale with your new book.”
“I’d love to,” I think he said. “I won’t forget.” Then Rod Lake took the bookmark and stuck it in his breast pocket and said that FoxTale would be among the stores they visited this fall. This fall!
Next came pictures, and I was so relaxed by then that I told Kevin Costner something I have been embarrassing my son Sean with for many, many years.
“So my son, Sean, is 23 years old, and he hates it when I tell this story. But he was actually conceived the night that I saw Dances With Wolves.”
Kevin and I continued posing for cell phone pictures, and there seemed to be a slight delay in response while he absorbed what I’d said. Then he flashed that famous Kevin Costner smile at me.
“I love that story,” he said.