“Your son, the f—k up, finally did it”: No One Negotiates Like Kevin Costner as Yellowstone Star Didn’t Back Down from a Fight That Could Have Cost Him ‘The Untouchables’

For The Untouchables, Kevin Costner swung for the fences in terms of his pay for the film.

Kevin Costner in The Untouchables


  • Kevin Costner's big breakout role was in Brian De Palma's crime drama The Untouchables.
  • The actor was not a big star at the time but he knew how much playing Eliot Ness meant to him.
  • Costner bargained for higher pay ($1million) against the studio's $800,000 offer and won in the end.
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Kevin Costner was a rising young actor featuring in minor roles in the early 80s. The future superstar was on the verge of stardom by the mid-80s and was cast in two films that would become his breakout hits. First, he was cast in Roger Donaldson’s action thriller No Way Out. After finishing that film, he was approached by director Brian De Palma for the crime drama The Untouchables.

Tom and David have a intense scene in No Way Out
Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman in No Way Out

Costner was not a big name at the time but Paramount and De Palma seem to know the potential that he had. No Way Out had also not come out yet and the studio led with a generous $800,000 offer for the role of Eliot Ness in The Untouchables. Costner, knowing the responsibility of playing a real-life American hero bargained his way to increase his pay to $1 million.

Kevin Costner Stood Up To Paramount For His Deserved Pay in The Untouchables

The Untouchables in action
A still from Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables

Kevin Costner‘s big breakthrough film was Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables. In the film, Costner played Eliot Ness, the real-life agent of the US Bureau of Prohibition, who formed the Untouchables group that took down Al Capone during the Prohibition era. The actor was not a big star at the time but he managed to negotiate an impressive paycheck for the film.


The actor played his first ever big leading role in the film and he hadn’t had a big solo hit or a film that proved his strong power yet. However, Paramount and director Brian De Palma were confident of his potential as the film’s lead. Costner also knew the pressure of playing Eliot Ness and when the matter of being paid came, the actor stood his ground when the studio offered him only $800,000.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Costner revealed that he wanted to be paid a million for the film. While the studio initially did not agree to it, Costner bargained and fought his way for it which resulted in him getting the remaining $200,000 after the film came out. He even told his parents about finally making it big in the industry. Costner said,

“[I] said, ‘It’s got to be a million.’ And they said, ‘We can’t do it.’ And I said, ‘Yes, you can.’ I got the remaining $200,000 deferred at the point the movie came out, so I got to my million. And I was able to tell my parents, ‘Your son, the f*** up, finally did it. It worked out OK.'”

The Untouchables was a big critical and commercial success, grossing $76 million in its original release in 1987 (via Box Office Mojo). Two months later, Costner’s action thriller No Way Out (a film that he had shot earlier) came out and continued his successful run at the box office.


Kevin Costner Predicted Sean Connery’s Oscar Win for The Untouchables

Jim and Eliot discuss matters about the group's overall goal
Sean Connery and Kevin Costner play Jim Malone and Eliot Ness in The Untouchables

Kevin Costner and Sean Connery starred in Brian De Palma’s crime drama The Untouchables. Connery played Jim Malone, an Irish cop who joins the Untouchables group to take down Al Capone. His incredible and intense performance was one of the highlights of the film which ultimately earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Costner told Entertainment Weekly that he told Connery while shooting that he would probably be nominated for an Oscar. While others doubted his claims, he knew for sure that Connery was doing something special with the role. Costner said,

“I told Sean when I worked with him, I said, ‘I think you’re going to [be nominated for] the Academy Award for this’. Some people say, ‘Oh, bullsh–.’ It’s true! It’s true; I could see what was happening.”

In addition to Costner and Connery, the De Palma-directed film also starred Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, and Robert De Niro. As of 2024, Costner is coming up with his passion project Horizon: An American Saga, which hits theatres on June 28, 2024. 


Fans can watch/rent Costner and Connery in The Untouchables on Apple TV+. 


Written by Rahul Thokchom

Articles Published: 937

Rahul Thokchom is a content writer at Fandomwire who is passionate about covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. He has a Masters Degree in English that contributes to the richness and creativity in his works.