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One of Kevin Costner’s best roles almost went to another actor

One of Kevin Costner's most beloved movies in 1989's Field of Dreams, but scheduling conflicts meant that he almost lost out to an unexpected Hollywood star.

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner is currently lording over Montana in Yellowstone, but he of course had a long Hollywood career before that. His career took off in the late 1980s in the likes of The Untouchables and Bull Durham. In 1990-1992, he had the impeccable run of Dances with Wolves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK and The Bodyguard. Baseball has been something of a theme in Costner’s career, and in 1989 he starred in one of his most beloved movies – Field of Dreams.

However, Costner came close to missing out on the role, even though he really wanted to do it. It came down to the thing that often throws spanners in the works in Hollywood – scheduling conflicts. For the movie’s 30th anniversary in 2019, Costner told EW; “I just thought it was beautiful, but it wasn’t going to be in the cards.” But director Phil Alden Robinson held out for Costner, and eventually, he became the face of one of the most beloved sports movies of all time.

 For a time though, it looked like Robin Williams might play the role. “There was an idea that maybe Robin Williams was going to do it, who I thought was sensational,” Costner revealed.

“And when I finally asked Phil [Alden Robinson, director], I said, ‘Well, why did you wait for me? Because I think Robin’s really great.’ And he was like, ‘I do too. But I think that Robin could hear voices in the corn, and I needed a guy that you don’t believe is going to hear a voice in a corn. And I thought that was a really insightful thing. I get a lot of credit for Field of Dreams and all the credit goes to Phil. I just played it.”

“It is a personal favourite,” admits Costner. “I think of it as our generation’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Our big action moment is, ‘Do you want to play catch?’ It wasn’t a fist fight; [it] wasn’t a crash. It was, ‘Do you want to play catch?’ And people’s hearts broke into a thousand pieces.”

Ray Liotta, who sadly passed away in 2022, was also praised for his role as Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams. Check out our guide to the best drama movies.