Kevin Costner was worried sick this A-list actor would get one of his biggest roles

Jun 3, 2024

Kevin Costner has been a star in Hollywood since the 1980s.

But he almost lost the leading role in one of his most famous movies.  

And Kevin Costner was worried sick this A-list actor would get one of his biggest roles.

Kevin Costner got the lead in Field of Dreams over Robin Williams

The 1989 Academy Award-nominated sports drama Field of Dreams is one of the most memorable movies of actor Kevin Costner’s long career in Hollywood.

Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who begins to build a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield after hearing a voice tell him, “If you build it, He will come.”

The ghosts of baseball legends visit him throughout the movie. 

But he told GQ in an interview that he almost lost the part of Ray Kinsella to comedian Robin Williams.

“A good story requires a good script for it to somehow leap off the page and become a movie,” Costner told GQ magazine. “That little movie had gold dust all over it, not in the way that I thought it would be a big hit, whereas gold dust on it in the way it moved me personally.”

“There was an interesting thing because Robin Williams, bless his heart, there was a moment when I asked the director, I said, ‘You know, Robin Williams is a big star, as big as you ever wanna get,'” Costner recalled.

Williams was beginning to cement himself as a serious actor in the late ‘80s with movies like Dead Poets Society, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.  

“So when he picked me to do it, kind of over Robin Williams, because it seems like a natural for Robin Williams, and he said, ‘I’m pretty sure that Robin Williams hears voices in the corn,’” Costner recalled. “I’m kind of sure that you don’t. They’re gonna end up believing you, Kevin, because they’re gonna see how it works.'”

The line in the movie “If you build it, he will come” became one of the most memorable movie quotes in history.

“They might have said ‘voice,’ and I’m like pulling a piece of corn, I forget what happened, but it’s like, gee, I had to act like I heard a voice, right? So, I did,” Costner said.

Kevin Costner takes the role in Field of Dreams because of the script 

Costner took the part in Field of Dreams after he fell in love with the movie’s script.

“When I read Field of Dreams on a couch by myself, the first page was sweet. Somebody’s talking to him in the corn,” Costner recalled.

The Yellowstone star revealed during his dispute with that show that being invested in the script is an important part of the creative process for him.

“Okay, let’s keep going, and it wound its way not to a gunfight or to a car chase or to a big fight,” Costner said.  “Its journey took you to a place where you look, and you saw your father, and it’s Biblical for things that go unsaid between father and son, between mother and daughter, things we wish we would’ve said.”

“And this little movie in the corn got me all the way, and suddenly it wasn’t a movie anymore, it was truth, and it was — ‘I wish I could have said that in my life,’” Costner added.

Field of Dreams ended up becoming one of the defining roles of Kevin Costner’s decorated career in Hollywood.

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