There’s a common pattern when we look through Filmography of Kevin Costner. I’m talking about “Bull Durham”, “Field of Dreams”, “For Love of the Game”, “Tin Cup”, “McFarland, USA”, “American Flyers” and “Draft Day”. It’s Costner who plays roles ranging from athletes to coaches to front office executives in all types of sports.
That’s seven sports movies if you’re counting, which ties Costner to Wesley Snipes and Dennis Quaid for starring in the most sports movies of all time, per Yahoo! But, while Snipes has been in classics like ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ and ‘Major League and Quaid has been in ‘Any Given Sunday’ and ‘The Rookie’, ‘Bull Durham’ and ‘Field of Dreams’ are essentials of the genre. Being two of the better baseball movies all time in the same way “Natural”, “A league apart »and “The Sandlot”they could strengthen a sports movie pick up on their own, but Costner keeps coming and going.
Now why is that? What’s it about Costner that makes him Hollywood’s go-to sports guy?
Cal State Fullerton and Augie Garrido shaped his love for baseball
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The most obvious answer is that Costner is a big sports fan. He was a football, basketball, and baseball player in high school and carried that passion through his college years at Cal State Fullerton. He was kicked off the baseball team by legendary college baseball coach Augie Garrido, but he always supported the team and became lifelong friends with the skip. Costner became interested in acting during his senior year. If he had been on the team, he might not have tried at all.
“I didn’t even know I cut it,” Garrido told Knoxville News in 2018. “We had a hundred guys trying. There were just better players.
Costner corroborated Garrido’s decision at a 2016 CSF baseball fundraiser admitting, “I just wasn’t that good.”
Nonetheless, Coster has bled blue and orange since leaving campus. He donated money to help build new facilities, given the team pep talks and can be seen in the stands in Omaha when the Titans compete in the College World Series. Costner and Garrido remained good friends when the latter also moved to the University of Texas, and Costner even bought a house in Austin, sometimes attending Longhorn practices and games. Costner also helped Garrido portray the New York Yankees manager in “For Love of the Game.” And when Garrido died in 2018, it suited Costner just fine. narrated video tribute as his celebration of life ceremony.
So when Costner was approached to play minor league baseball player Crash Davis in Ron Shelton’s “Bull Durham” alongside Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon early in his acting career, it was a no-brainer. The same with the acceptance of the role of Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams”.
But, you have to ask yourself: why would Kevin Costner make movies about sports other than baseball? Why would Kevin Costner do this? Why does he make so many damn sports movies?
He reigns over the sports movie box office
Well, aside from Costner’s overt love of sports, sports movies make him rich. “Bull Durhammade $50,888,729 at the box office while “field of dreams” grossed $84,431,625. In the 90s, Costner and a sports movie were a guaranteed moneymaker. “metal mug“? $53,854,588. “For the love of the game$46,112,640 even though it was deemed a critical failure. If you’re Costner, why not take a whistle or go front office like he did with “McFarland, United States” and “draft day“? Together, these two grossed $75,534,258. Sure, Costner’s draw wasn’t the same when he wasn’t an athlete in the film, but they still made money. I do not say Costner’s $250 Million Net Worth is all from his sports movies, but the residue he gets from “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” can’t hurt.
Either way, the two-time Oscar winner’s bread and butter is clearly baseball while his seasoning is golf. Speaking of ties, the actor was offered the role of Shooter McGavin in “Happy Gilmore” but turned it down in favor of “Tin Cup”. I’m intrigued by a world where a Costner version of Shooter exists, but I can’t imagine one without Christopher McDonald.
Box: I must talk very quickly about “Draft Day”. I dissected the movements of Costner’s character, Sonny Weaver did last year. If this was real life, he would have been fired driving the streets of Cleveland on his way to work. Shit, if he was working for the Cowboys, Jerry Jones might have paid to “go to Florida.” But, being the movies, Costner remains calm as he makes the most insane deals you can think of. Then there’s split-screen where the images blend into each other. Then there are the filmmakers who assume that audiences have no idea what football is. It’s a thing of beauty.
“Draft Day” was the last time we saw Costner in a sports role, but a fitting end to his sports movie career would be another baseball movie. Here’s my pitch: Costner plays a disgraced Major League Baseball manager named Tom Wobbengardner. Tom is successful and has a World Series ring, but his vice is that he likes to frequent underground casinos. After racking up massive debts in a high-stakes game of poker, he begins rigging baseball games. He racks up even more debt, is exposed, and is banned from professional baseball forever. Now working as a grocery store manager in his hometown, Tom is approached by his old friend Neil Plukovsky, now the principal of their old high school, to save their dysfunctional baseball program.
Kevin Costner turns down a movie from a dumb writer on the internet. Now why would he do that? What happens in aspen?