By Christina Wilkie - 09/22/10 11:14 PM EDT
Actor and water cleanup entrepreneur Kevin Costner managed to sidestep jokes about his ultra-expensive flop “Waterworld” during his congressional testimony Wednesday.
But House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) didn’t spare the actor a little nudge about his famously long performances.
Thompson seemed aware of that as he opened Wednesday’s hearing, at which Costner and St. Bernard Parish, La., President Craig Taffaro testified in the first panel. Costner owns a company that manufactures an oil spill cleanup system used during the BP oil spill disaster.
After making his opening statement, Thompson looked directly at Costner and requested, slowly and deliberately, that witnesses make their comments “in ... as reasonable ... a time as ... possible.”
Costner got the joke, and said to Thompson, “Well, then, I guess you’ve seen my movies.”
Thompson replied knowingly, “I have, yes,” causing the room to erupt in laughter.
Perhaps sensing the lawmaker’s serious intent, Costner kept his opening statement to just over nine minutes.
His co-panelist was not so lucky. Taffaro broke the 10-minute mark, forcing Thompson to rap on his glass and tell him to put a lid on it.
A few members seemed particularly unimpressed with Costner’s celebrity appearance. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) arrived halfway through Costner’s testimony and seemed not to notice that a movie star was speaking. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) left the room before Costner finished.