Waterworld -- The Big Guys Go On Record About All Those Rumors

Not only is "Waterworld," at an estimated $175 million, the most expensive movie ever made, it also may have set a record for rumors, public sniping, charges and countercharges.

Stories detailed the end of a marriage - Costner's - and the end of a longtime friendship - between Costner and director Kevin Reynolds.

Reynolds quit the movie in April after Universal refused to screen his cut of the film. At that point, Costner took over in the editing room.

Here's a look at the some of the rumors surrounding "Waterworld," compiled from magazines, newspapers and wire services, with responses from those involved:

Costner, star and co-producer;

Reynolds, director;

Dennis Hopper, co-star; and

Chuck Gordon, co-producer.

-- Rumor: Costner's 16-year marriage collapsed because of his affair with a hula dancer in Hawaii.

Costner: "This has been the hardest year of my life. I am no longer with Cindy, my partner since childhood. And I was working on this very tough picture. A series of events conspired to happen at the same time. I know it hurt some people that I had failed in my marriage. And the marriage was my own failure."

Costner, about the alleged affair: "This woman has done nothing wrong and yet has had to share the harsh light of celebrity with me. I feel embarrassed, and I don't think there's one thing I can do to make her life better."

Costner, on the publicity, as told to Entertainment Weekly: "I

don't ask for a lot on the set. Be quiet, don't read my tabloid headlines to me."

-- Report: "Waterworld" went over its original $65 million budget before the first frame was even shot.

Gordon claims the budget was $100 million from the start, but that Universal Pictures was reluctant to publicize the figure, hoping to avoid negative publicity.

Gordon: "It's safe to say it's the most expensive ever made, but no way will I release the final figure."

Gordon again: "People told us we were crazy. But the two Kevins and I thought, `It's us. We'll make a difference.' Now we're eating a big piece of humble pie."

Hopper: "I think every bit of the money shows on screen. This isn't one of those legendary Hollywood productions where the budget gets bigger because two stars fall in love and hold things up while they stay in their dressing rooms or run off to some island."

-- Report: Shooting on the movie was begun before the script was even finished because Universal had approved the film on condition it be ready for a summer 1995 release.

Costner: "They shouldn't have green-lighted the film until the script was done. The fact that we had to start without a finished script dictated the pace of the shooting. . . . Except for "Waterworld," I've never started a film without a finished script. I'm dependent on good writing. I love working with writers, but I'm not tortured enough to be a writer myself."

-- Report: Costner and Reynolds disagreed on the direction of the film. Reynolds wanted to make a dark action movie, and Costner and Universal executives wanted more character development.

Gordon: "They had different visions. Mine leaned toward Kevin Costner's, which emphasized character. Kevin Reynolds emphasized action. The studio agreed with Kevin Costner's."

Costner: "It's been misconstrued that I wanted the Mariner to be more heroic and the film to be less dark. Some articles jumped on the cliche of the star only wanting to behave heroically. Don't believe it. . . . It isn't the truth."

However, in Premiere magazine Costner recalls telling Reynolds: "I don't have confidence in you anymore . . . I've got scenes that don't make sense to the producers and they don't make sense to me." Rewrites ensued.

Reynolds: "(Costner) forced my hand. Did he expect me to sit by while he recut the picture to his liking? I said to him at that time, `I won't work like that.' I think any self-respecting director would have done the same thing."

-- Report: Unpredictable water currents and weather made Kawaihae Harbor, on the island of Hawaii, the worst possible place to shoot a movie set on water.

Costner says (and co-star Dennis Hopper confirms) that filming shut down for only one day because of weather. In other cases, the crew filmed on a nearby covered set.

Gordon: "When you do a scene on a sound stage, and you want to do a second take, the actors just go back to their marks. There are no marks in the ocean. There are 15-foot swells, and you have to get 20 boats turned around to prepare for the shot. It was a logistical nightmare."

Reynolds told Premiere: "Until you work on water you can't really appreciate what's involved, the level of difficulty. It's like trying to hold a dozen marbles on top of a beach ball."

-- Report: The movie's most expensive set, the $4 million, 126-ton atoll, sank during production.

Actually it was the smaller "slave colony" set and, Gordon says, the bulk of the shooting already had been completed, and most of the crew had returned to L.A.

-- Rumor: Filmmakers had an airport runway built so their private jets could take off and land with ease.

Gordon: "Are you crazy?"

-- Report: A secret screening of an early rough cut in Dallas was a disaster.

Gordon: "Well, that sneak didn't turn out to be such a big secret, did it? But it was useful. We listened to the discussion afterward and really cut down the middle part of the movie."

The finished version is 45 minutes shorter.

-- Rumor: Costner's and Reynolds' friendship, begun in 1982, was a casualty of the filming.

Gordon: "These two men have a longstanding relationship, and it ended with `Waterworld.' "

Reynolds tells Entertainment Weekly: "I'm sorry, but all good things don't flow from Kevin Costner."

Costner: "I know I will get the blame if the film fails . . . And, if the film succeeds, which I believe it will, the credit will be split. And that's as it should be. A great many people worked on the film, and credit should go to Kevin Reynolds, who made a lot of fine things happen."

Reynolds again: "I can't see any reason to work together again. It's an unfortunate thing . . . two very strong-willed individuals who just butted heads too much."

Reynolds, on the magazine articles: "I thought Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair were pretty well-balanced." And Premiere? "At least Kevin didn't try to pin the Simpson murders on me."

-- Final thoughts

Reynolds, in a faxed statement: "I'm not going to change his mind about what transpired, and he's not going to change my mind. It's time for us to just shut up and enjoy the popcorn."

Costner: "I got through it, yeah. . . . There will be a time when I'll just talk about `Waterworld' at a bar over a beer. I really like the movie, flaws or not. . . . If everyone wants to distance themselves from the film, fine."

Information from Knight-Ridder Newspapers, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today and Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service is included in this article.