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Despite a sizzling heat of 97F / 36C, hundreds of fans, friends and media have gathered on and around the Mann's Chinese Theater's famous grounds today to honor Oscar winning actor / producer / director Kevin Costner with a legendary Hand- and Footprint Ceremony. Costner is the 192nd celebrity to sink his hands and feet into wet cement following, literally, in the footsteps of other stars.
"I feel so lucky today. I feel so guilty," mused the 51-year-old. "I've been able to live my dream. I've been able to stare down the bully, kiss the girl, and save the day. The staple of all Hollywood movies, the fantasy of every man."
Costner thanks both fans and co-workers, from writers and directors to the "stuntmen who've taken risks to make me look stronger or jump farther than I ever could."
He fondly remembers seeing black & white pictures of the Mann's Chinese Theater as a young boy and then describes the "shock" he experienced when seeing the famous place in color during his first visit to Hollywood. He also recalls being a tour guide at some point, showing tourists the homes of the stars. "Today", he adds pensively, "tourists stop at my house".
Costner enthusiastically speaks about how he's always loved watching long epics with a lot of stories and describes, how the film "How the West Was Won" influenced him early on.
"The Mann's Chinese Theater is the inofficial Mekka of our Hollywood World"
His passion for movies and movie making, and the love for Westerns and Baseball in particular, have not faded one bit over the years. When he approaches a project it's not about box office numbers, but all about telling the story.
Costner also recalls some of his proudest moments, such as acting with his kids, having a catch with his Dad, riding in a herd of buffalos and pitching at Yankee Stadium.
Costner ends his speech on a cautiously optimistic note.
"Long live the movies and the imaginations that drive them. Long live our hard fought freedoms that allow us to bring them to you without fear or censorship".
Preparing the cement for the Hand- and Footprint Ceremony.

The cement must have the perfect consistency in order not to dry out too fast or crack. Often the cement has to be protected from the glaring sun or sprayed with water during the ceremony if speeches run too long. 
Hon. Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant introduces Kevin Costner, who's starring in  The Guardian  
Speaker # 1: Jim Wilson - A close friend of Kevin since 6th Grade. He owns "TIG Productions" together with Kevin and produced 7 movies in which Kevin starred.
Speaker # 2: Armyan Bernstein, Producer and Executive Producer on several of Kevin Costner's movies.
Photographer was on assignment for "German World Magazine"
All photos taken with prof. equipment and small compact camera
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