Famous talented actors usually have only one movie release scheduled for a year, or maybe two. Other times they may even skip a year altogether without any release. So who can actually end up finding the time and energy for five releases in a year? Yeah, you read it right, five releases in the same year. None of them cameos. Well, if you are Superman’s Earth-dad, then maybe you are something special after all. We are talking of Kevin Costner, the famous Kevin Costner who is remembered as Eliot Ness from The Untouchables, Crash Davis from Bull Durham, Ray Kinsella from Field of Dreams, Lt. John J. Dunbar from Dances with Wolves, Jim Garrison from JFK, and coming closer to the present period, Jonathan Kent from Man of Steel.
Costner has been seen on the big screen right from the early 1980s, and his career high point could be said to have come in the early 1990s when he won two Academy Awards – Best Picture and Best Director – for Dances with Wolves. Some good work followed in the subsequent years with JFK and The Bodyguard, but then things took a really bad turn. Two high profile flops, both of which Costner directed as well as acted in, Waterworld (1995) and The Postman (1997), pretty much undid all the good work Costner had done before. But the thing one can learn from Kevin Costner here is that he kept coming back. He stuck to his work and tried his best to deliver. Not with great results always, as some more disappointments became part of his career, but then the revival wasn’t far away. He got recognition for his role in 2000’s Thirteen Days, and also managed to salvage his reputation somewhat as a director with 2003’s western flick Open Range which was a critical and commercial success. And Costner’s resurgence has continued ever since. From 2005 to 2011, Costner has had a film released each year. In 2012, he was away from the big screen but made a big impact on television with the mini-series Hatfields & McCoys which won him an Emmy. Then in 2013, he played the role which brought him again in front of a huge audience, that of Superman’s Earth-father, Jonathan Kent, in the popular film Man of Steel. And now in 2014, Kevin Costner is everywhere!
It has been a pretty incredible ride, in which the perseverance of the man is clearly visible. Despite the really bad days, Costner has stuck to his work, and refused to fade away, even though the odds were stacked against him. And you just get that feeling that this kind of commitment is bound to get rewarded. So Costner kicked off 2014 playing the CIA man who recruits Jack Ryan into the force in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The movie hasn’t done too well commercially, but Costner has four more up the sleeve, so not to worry much. The next film 3 Days to Kill is set for a release this weekend in the USA. It’s another action-thriller film, with Costner playing the central role of a dying Secret Service Agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter and is offered an experimental drug to save his life in exchange for one last assignment. It does not sound like the most promising of plots, and is likely to end up as a B-grade action film, but there would still be a lot of Costner to look forward to.
Kevin Costner has two sports films lined up this year too. That is not a genre unknown to the actor whose most epic role is considered by many as the farmer who decides to build a baseball farm in Field of Dreams. While this movie may have been more of fantasy-drama than about sports, Costner has also been involved in another baseball film For Love of the Game. This year though it is not about baseball for Costner but football and athletics. So first up is Draft Day in which Costner is set to play the General Manager of the football team Cleveland Browns who is struggling to acquire the number one draft pick for his team. The initial promos give the impression that an enjoyable popcorn flick is on its way. The next one releasing towards the end of the year is McFarland which has quite a promising premise based on true events — a track coach in a small California town aims to transform a team of athletes into championship contenders while grappling with several social issues of the 1980s. Finally there is the more serious drama film Black and White which does not have a release date yet, but is likely to hit the theatres in 2014 itself. In this movie, Kevin Costner plays a grieving widower who is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life.
So there is a lot of Costner to see in 2014. Two action films, two sports movies, and one drama flick. These are genres Costner has dabbled in before in his 30 year long acting career. He seems to be playing to his strengths, nothing beyond his range, and one would expect that even if none of these films turn into anything spectacular, Costner would still come out of it unscathed. And if things really go his way, Costner could be the talk of the town, come end of the year. It is great to see Costner emerging strong from the debacles of the past and his persistent hardwork has brought him such a plethora of movie roles. If he ain’t too tired, can we have some of this in 2015 as well?