Kevin Costner loves his sports movies, and with good reason. Outside Dances With Wolves, he’s probably best known for his work on a baseball diamond in movies like Field of Dreams and Bull Durham. Well, this time it’s not baseball (like For the Love of the Game) or golf (Tin Cup), but track and field that’s drawing him in, as Disney has reportedly signed the actor onto McFarland after pursuing him for nearly a year.
McFarland follows the true story of a California track coach (Costner) in the ’80s who helps lift a town’s track program into state contention. The film figures to involve significant racial and cultural tensions, as the town in which the story is set is predominantly Hispanic.
The inspirational sports movie based on true events is nothing new to Disney. Remember the Titans tackled the issue of school integration in the early ’70s through the frame of high school football, and it’s overwhelming success led to movies like The Rookie, Miracle, The Greatest Game Ever Played, and Invincible.
For Costner, McFarland is just one of a slate of films the actor will appear in over the next couple years, marking his busiest time in the movies since the late ’90s. He of course appeared in Man of Steel, which premiered a month ago, as Jonathan Kent, and is playing a key role in the new Jack Ryan movie due out the end of August, starring Chris Pine in the role of the titular Tom Clancy character which Harrison Ford portrayed in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. As for 2014 releases, Costner is currently shooting Draft Day, another sports movie, though one that figures to be more like 2011’s Moneyball as it centers on Costner as the GM of the Cleveland Browns. Also due out next year is the action/thriller Three Days to Kill and the family drama Black and White, which co-stars Octavia Spencer, who won the 2012 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Minnie Jackson in The Help.