Kevin Costner’s 34 year film career has seen him cycling, golfing and (of course) playing a lot of baseball. In real life however Costner prefers sitting in the Arsenal stadium watching the Gunners. While filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves he ended up seeing a game by chance and became a fan. So much so that on his 49th birthday he flew from London to Birmingham to watch Arsenal beat Aston Villa 2-0. He also shares his fellow fan’s rivalries confessing that he goes out of his way to avoid Tottenham fans; “They hate my guts, I’m sure of it!”
Before Draft Day, Costner generally avoided movies centred on American Football because he disliked telling stories about fictional teams, “I don’t like wearing fake uniforms in fake leagues” he recently told ESPN, “I’m a purist.” Draft Day however was fully endorsed by the NFL meaning that the colours, the stadium and the league are all real. The film also features current players Demario Davis James Brewer, Ramses Barden, Zoltan Mesko, and Stephen Hill. The tense drama is directed by the legendary Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop) stars Costner as a team manager negotiating a tense period of player picks or drafts.
From the fairway to the batter’s box Costner’s been on cinematic sports pitches for over three decades. To celebrate the DVD release of Draft Day we look at his top sporty 5 roles.
Field of Dreams (1989)
A stone cold classic weepy. Field of Dreams sees Costner as a loveable Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in a corn field after hearing strange voices. The heart warmer contains one of the most misquoted lines in the history of movies when Costner is told “If you build it, he will come” not ‘they’. Look out for the uncredited Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as extras in the Fenway Park scene who were then unknown actors.
FUN FACT: The baseball diamond still exists and you can visit and even play baseball there. See it here on Google maps – 42°29’51.8″N 91°03’18.4″W
Tin Cup (1996)
“Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you’re not good at them.” This romantic comedy sees Costner as a burnt-out pro golfer trying to get into the US Open to win the heart of his rival’s girlfriend, played by the gorgeous Rene Russo. Tin Cup is a quality movie with Kevin in his prime heart throb mode.
FUN FACT: Pierce Brosnan was originally considered for the role of the rival. Three years later he would get his own on-screen romance with Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair.
Bull Durham (1988)
Another classic baseball film, but this one pre-dates Field of Dreams. Bull Durham sees a young Costner and his protégé Tim Robbins getting tangled up with a sports groupie played by Susan Sarandon. Bull Durham was a smash in the US but lesser known in the UK. It’s well worth checking out.
FUN FACT: The director found out there really was a baseball player called ‘Crash’ Davis already. When he approached Davis to ask his permission, Davis asked, “Do I get the girl in the end?” Shelton told him he does and Davis agreed.
American Flyers (1985)
An even earlier movie, American Flyers follows Costner’s character Marcus as he competes in a gruelling bike race through the Rocky Mountains. Not only does he have the mountain to deal with though – he’s also struggling to tell his brother he has a brain tumour on route.
FUN FACT: The film features the 7-Eleven team, a real life racing team that Lance Armstrong was once part of.
For Love of the Game (1999)
In For Love of the Game, Costner plays a baseball pitcher looking back over an embattled career while trying to save his relationship and his team. For Love of the Game is another great sports movie grounded by Costner’s cool charisma. Look out for Kevin Costner’s real life parents who appear in the film as his character’s family.
FUN FACT: The film originally featured Costner doing full-frontal nudity. The scene was cut after test audiences apparently found it funny.
DRAFT DAY is out to buy on DVD from 26th January, 2015