I Was In A Movie Called ‘Waterworld’ And Global Warming Is Causing Rising Sea Levels, So Is There Anything To That? Is That Worth Writing An Op-Ed About? No? I Dunno, Anyways…

Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner

Hi, I’m Kevin Costner. In 1995, I was in a pretty big-budget movie called Waterworld, and a major plot point of Waterworld was that the polar ice caps had completely melted, the sea levels rose, and the world was covered in water. I guess I’m bringing this up because a big thing currently happening on Earth is that Waterworld is kind of happening in real life. So what I’m wondering is this: Do you guys think there’s anything to that? That maybe there’s a pointed newspaper op-ed in there somewhere? Like, I dunno, a 400- to 600-word think piece about how prescient Waterworld was? Maybe something that weaves together the themes of Waterworld and relates them to our current global predicament?


Whaddaya think? Yes? No? Total waste of time? Could be something there though, right? Or maybe not. Perhaps it’s kind of a thin idea and not really worth it. Can’t really tell.


It’s just that, and not to harp on it, but about a month ago I was at the premiere of my new movie The Art Of Racing In The Rain (I play the voice of the dog, Enzo), and I got to thinking: The planet is warming, polar ice caps are melting, that’s what Waterworld was about, I’m Kevin Costner, I was in “Waterworld.” Isn’t there just, like, a coherent piece about that shouting to be written? Something titled, like, I dunno, “Waterworld Could Happen,” or “Waterworld Is Already Happening,” or, just thinking out loud here, “I Don’t Want To Live In Waterworld Twice, By Kevin Costner.”

Could totally be good, right? Now, I’d probably leave out all the stuff about the marauding band of pirates called the Smokers, and that whole sequence where my character gets pissed off at the kid for using his crayons and then throws her off the boat, and, in fact, I’d probably just keep the focus on the world being covered in lots of water. But, yeah…there’s a kernel of something there…

Or maybe it sucks. Who knows?

I really go back and forth on this thing. Could be a brilliant observation—that what we thought was a silly premise 25 years ago could actually be our future—or maybe it’s kind of on the nose and expected. I dunno…I guess if I’m being honest with myself, it’s just kind of a loose collection of ideas in my head right now, and that’s not really anything. Guess I really wouldn’t know until I rolled up my sleeves, got under the hood, and wrote the damn thing. Like, here’s something I’ve kicked around: I could do something high concept-y where the op-ed is from my character in Waterworld, and the opening sentence is something like: “This is the Mariner. I am here to trade the rare commodity of dirt for supplies, but first, let’s talk our warming planet.” Or I could just be very sincere and say, “Hey, I’m Kevin Cosnter, I won an Academy Award for directing Dances With Wolves, and I was in Waterworld. A real problem faces this planet today, and here’s what I gleaned from Waterworld that may help.”

I guess I’d edit out that Dances With Wolves part. Doesn’t really fit the premise of the piece. That’s just my ego talking. Actors ya know? C’mon, Kevin, you’re better than that.

I remember when I first started circling this idea. It was about three years ago, and I was on the set of Molly’s Game, and I asked Jessica Chastain if she thought there was something there and she was like, “Oh, yeah, I could see that. Maybe...depends…” and I was like, “Yeah…see you on set.”


Jessica was always hard to read. Hey, you guys like Molly’s Game? I thought it was pretty good. Not great, but it had some moments, right? I liked my part. Tin Cup’s a fun movie, right? Holds up. Solid sports movie with a good love story.

Anyways, Waterworld—I drink my own piss in it. Remember that?

Now I’ll grant you that maybe I’m way too close to this thing. It’s no secret I was the star of Waterworld. There is a chance that I probably think about Waterworld way more than most people think about Waterworld. So maybe any op-ed about Waterworld would be kind of insidery and only really appeal to people who were in Waterworld, like Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Enola’s guardian and attempts to escape with her to Dryland on a hot air balloon using a map tattooed on Enola’s back.


I guess if you didn’t know any of that stuff, the op-ed wouldn’t be interesting to you at all. Or maybe you really wouldn’t need to know the plot details of Waterworld and would just remember the overall premise and that would be enough and you’d be, like, “I don’t need to know the movie. What I vaguely remember about Waterworld was that the world was covered in water. I’m on board.”

Dennis Hopper was in Waterworld, and he’s dead now.

Okay, before I close, I do think I should address the elephant in the room. Waterworld was a flop. A big old major studio failure. But, see, I think that kind of helps it, right? Waterworld occupies this weird space in the culture because it was kind of written off as a big joke when it first came out. So I was thinking, maybe that could be what the op-ed is about. Maybe there is something interesting there about how it was written off by everyone. Something about how Waterworld was viewed as dumb, but now, based on what’s going on with the climate, maybe, in retrospect, Waterworld isn’t so dumb after all.


Was Waterworld actually the 1984 of its time?

Now that’s a pretty great title for the piece.

Or not...

Maybe it’s lame...

I dunno...

Anyways, you can watch Waterworld right now on Hulu if you have a Starz add-on.