Kevin Costner Had Morphine Drip to Film ‘Hidden Figures’: ‘I Wanted to Cry’

Kevin Costner Says He Had Morphine Drip to Treat Kidney Stones While Filming ‘Hidden Figures’
Kevin Costner Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Kevin Costner secretly battled kidney stones while filming 2016’s Hidden Figures.

“I’ve never worked drunk on a set. I’ve never worked high on a set, but I was on morphine the last two weeks that I worked,” Costner, 69, recalled to People in an interview published on Saturday, June 29. “I had kidney stones and I worked 10 days under an IV drip. I don’t even know how. About three days of it, I was normal and then something happened to me.”

Despite feeling under the weather, Costner refused to “miss a day of work.”

“I’ve never missed a day of work [in my entire career] and then when I thought I was gonna be off [the IV drip], a second kidney stone came — which I never had — and I was right back on it,” he recalled to the outlet. “I sat in my trailer with a morphine drip in my arm that I eventually had to have my sleeves down in the movie because of that.”

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He continued, “I wanted to cry, but there was everybody watching, so I didn’t.”

Costner portrayed Al Harrison in Hidden Figures, a film about three Black women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) who worked for NASA on astronaut John Glenn’s journey to space. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae portrayed the historical women, respectively. Costner’s character, meanwhile was loosely based on Robert C. Gilruth, who was the first director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

They were already in production and hadn’t cast the role [yet] and I read it and there was something off with the role. The girls were great, so I’m not a person who likes to manipulate [a] script,” Costner remembered on Saturday. “I said, ‘Look, I just gotta tell you it’s not my M.O. to mess with scripts with this’ and it got quiet. I said, ‘It’s hard for me to explain to you because you have written these other women perfectly, but this guy is just off.’”

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Hidden Figures was co-written by the film’s director, Theodore Melfi, and Allison Schroeder.

“[Theodore] said, ‘[Al] was the only character we couldn’t get the rights to so I based it on about three different people,’” Costner said. “And I said, ‘Well, it reads like that to me. I said, tell me about the other three … [and] can we smooth this out together?’ One of the greatest experiences I had. Working with Ted was magic. He trusted me so much.”