When Kevin Costner first started out, his roles looked a little different.
He had his film debut in the movie “Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.” (also known as “Hot Malibu Summer”). He also made a very brief appearance in the comedy film “Night Shift” from 1982.
In 1985, he was cast in what is now considered Costner’s breakout role. The movie was his friend Lawrence Kasdan’s Western film, “Silverado.” From here, Costner would grow his Western presence and eventually his influential status as a drama director and actor.
Kevin Costner and ‘Silverado’
“Imagine standing in the best spot in a river on a really firm rock, and knowing you’re just going to fish there all day. This is everything I need right here. It was a blessing,” Kevin Costner said.
The movie helped launch him into the movie world. Two years later he was considered a movie star after his role as a federal agent in “The Untouchables.” Then suddenly he was an A-lister after his legendary, quote-worthy films expressing his love for baseball, “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams.”
He owes a great deal of success to the Western film that started his career. He would later return to the Western genre in 1990 with the 12-time-nominated Academy Award film “Dances with Wolves.”
It continues to be the most Oscar-honored as well as financially earning Western ever released. Costner went from playing a loud and obnoxious cowboy named Jake to later being known for his soft-spoken heroes with essential dialogue only, like Lt. John Dunbar.
“Jake was just so full of juice that it was difficult to figure out who he was relating to in the scene because he was talking at one pitch level. I remember thinking, I know exactly how to play those other parts, but how am I going to play this guy? And I found a way: I basically tried to compete with the horizon, the outdoors itself, and have a sense of fun. I was really lucky to be able to play that part. It did a lot for me,” Costner said.
Kevin Costner reunited with Kasdan for his 1994 film, “Wyatt Earp,” where Costner played the title role.
Costner Talks About Film in 1985
In an interview from 1985, Costner talks about getting into acting and his role in “Silverado.”
He said that his role as Jake had really challenged him as an early actor. Even physically he had blisters on his hands from having to learn to spin guns that were two pounds on each hand. Costner put a lot of work into learning different gun skills for the film.
Beyond that, Jake was different than the macho and stoic character Costner grew up watching. His enthusiasm and excitement was a role that Costner said he never really saw himself playing. He pictured himself as one of the more quiet cowboys that slowly makes their epic and heroic move.
“It was important that Jake be a different sound. His level of experience is a little different than the other guys. It’s not reasonable to have four guys sitting around talking about their mutual experiences,” Costner said about learning to master the role.
Regardless, Kevin Costner as Jake was a success and surged him into the acting and Western world.