The great Ray Liotta passed away on Thursday at the age of 67, leaving behind a legacy in Hollywood that saw him taking on some of the silver screen’s most iconic roles. It was a fantastic career with some scene-stealing moments and his tragic passing, while filming his latest movie, did leave the industry and fans alike stunned. It’s led some others in the industry, collaborators and co-stars, to pay tribute to the actor in a number of different ways. One of them was Kevin Costner who posted a famous scene the two shared from one of Ray Liotta’s smaller, albeit very memorable, roles.
On Thursday, Kevin Costner posted on Twitter a memory of Ray Liotta from when they worked on 1989s Field of Dreams. It was one of Liotta’s first major parts, playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in the film adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. Costner offered up words about this scene, how it sort of came together by accident, and how the former will remember Liotta when it’s all said and done. Check out what Kevin Costner had to say about Ray Liotta.
This scene from Field of Dreams follows the iconic calls from the cornfield to Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella which say, “If you build it, he will come.” Those haunting words set Costner’s character on a mission to raze his corn crop and build a baseball field, thinking that Shoeless Joe Jackson will come back from the dead. It ends up happening, with Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe appearing out of the cornstalks in uniform, ready to play baseball once again. This scene is when Costner’s character offers to pitch some batting practice and the ball is laced back up the middle, causing Costner to fall down. It does appear it was originally supposed to happen that way, but it gave us a great scene nonetheless.
With Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan, and of course, James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and is considered as one of the best sports movies ever made. It ended up putting Ray Liotta on the map with the way he portrayed Shoeless Joe even in limited scenes, bringing a serious side to the role while also offering a bit of humor as well. And though Kevin Costner was already an established actor at this point, starring roles in Field of Dreams and Bull Durham over these final years of the 1980s are what vaulted his career into super-stardom.
Following Field of Dreams, Ray Liotta would take his career-defining role the next year, playing Henry Hill in Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas. And Kevin Costner acted and directed Dances with Wolves. Both movies featured at that year’s Academy Awards with Dances with Wolves winning Best Picture and Costner winning Best Director, beating out Scorcese. Somehow, Liotta wasn’t nominated that year which is comically bad in retrospect especially when seeing some of the other names on the list. But fans of both actors will always have this iconic Field of Dreams scene, something Costner clearly looks back on with great fondness.