Kevin Costner has a thing for sports movies. He also seems to have a thing for 2014. In 1983, four movies released which Costner had a part in: Table for Five, Stacy’s Knights, The Big Chill, and Testament. That includes a couple of pretty minor roles. Since then he’s never appeared in more than three movies in a single year, and the last time he did that was 1999.
In 2014, Costner will appear in a starring or key supporting role in at least four movies, with the very real possibility of a fifth coming along, at least in the festival circuit if not theaters. We’ve already seen plenty of coverage for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which was bumped from its original Christmas Day release to January 17, and it was only a couple weeks ago when we saw the trailer for Costner’s starring role in 3 Days to Kill, out February 21. Now we’ve got a trailer for his third movie of the year and second leading role: Draft Day.
Draft Day positions Costner as the general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns football team with the NFL draft – in which his team has the #1 overall pick – fast approaching. Charged with the competing dictums to make the team better and make a big, splashy move, Costner’s Sonny Weaver, Jr. fights against alienating his owner, coach, and players while trying to deliver a winner.
Although you’ll see plenty of familiar faces in the trailer (pundits like Chris Berman and Jon Gruden), this is not based on a true story. Rather, this movie, which seems to be trying for the Moneyball angle proven a success a couple years ago, is entirely a work of fiction. Still, it seems like it should appeal heavily to the fantasy football crowd seeking the behind-the-scenes drama of the NFL Draft, something which has become quite the event unto itself.
Alongside Costner, the film will feature Jennifer Garner, Dennis Leary, and Frank Langella. It’s being directed by Ivan Reitman, father of Jason Reitman, who most recently produced Hitchcock and directed No Strings Attached but is best known as the director of the comedy classic Ghostbusters.
As for the rest of Costner’s year, the only confirmed release at this point is McFarland, a true story in which he plays a running coach who helps a small town high school team overcome racial and economic tensions to become a cross country powerhouse. McFarland comes from Disney, which has been in the news rather frequently of late with this sort of movie. Costner is also in post production on indie drama Black and White, which he both starred in and produced. We’ve had no official word on Black and White yet, but while it could see distribution before the end of the year it seems more likely that it will go to fall festivals seeking to attract a distributor for a 2015 release.