Kevin Costner rose to fame in the late 1990s and was regarded as one of the largest movie stars in the world. Dance with Wolves proved to be one of his most successful films, which succeeded tremendously at the box office and snagged the star a few Oscars along the way. In 2019, Costner was praised for both Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and JFK, which both had more revealing scenes for the star. However, a Sam Raimi-directed baseball movie was not as kind to Costner’s showing of skin in a nude scene.
In 1999, For The Love Of The Game was released by Universal Pictures. The PG-13 baseball movie released in theaters was apparently very different from the R-rated movie Kevin Costner initially filmed. The movie’s first cut, which was reportedly shown to audiences in a test screening, included a nude shower scene where Costner’s genitals were fully on display. According to what Costner himself has said in more recent interviews, the glass on the shower door obscured things some, but enough was visible that the movie’s rating earned an R from the Motion Picture Association for America (MPAA) and audiences apparently got a full enough view that they reacted to it.
According to what studio executive told New York Magazine at the time, a test audience “giggled” in reaction to seeing Kevin Costner’s nude scene. (Costner himself hesitates to call it a full “nude” scene since it was only the bottom half.) The studio executive in the New York Magazine interview questioned: “Do we really need to see Kevin Costner’s penis?” Apparently, the answer was no.
After the executive interview, it became unclear what the full reasoning was behind removing Kevin Costner’s nude shower moment. Was it because audiences laughed? Or was it to get the rating down to PG-13? They also cut other scenes to make the film shorter, but the brief flash of Costner’s skin didn’t do much to lower the runtime of the movie.
The final movie released by the studio was a much more family-friendly, PG-13 film about baseball. For The Love Of The Game cast Kevin Costner as the lead, a veteran pitcher who returns to the mound for his final game. The movie was inspired by the novel by the same name by author Michael Shaara. Shaara, through his storytelling, interluded his own story to insert flashbacks to his own baseball days. He reflected on his own time as a pitcher.
Kevin Costner was publicly displeased with Universal Pictures’ choice to omit the nude scene as he was dedicated to the run time that was originally pitched to him. A famous interview with Newsweek gave way to the actor’s airing of grievances with the studio, saying that the movie changes were about the length and the rating, not the content of the film. He went on to slam the production company for releasing a more safe version of the film over the best version of the movie.
Kevin Costner has since said in recent years that the exclusion of certain scenes (like his nude scene) has not bothered him and has claimed that there is no bitterness left over the removed nudity from For The Love Of The Game.
The sports movie was not the first that Kevin Costner led. Field of Dreams has been regarded as one – if not the most – iconic baseball movie of all time. Major League Baseball fans were treated to reimagined revisiting the field from the film as the Chicago White Sox took on the New York Yankees, both teams wearing uniform designs from the 1920s. The 8,000-person field was built in Dyersville, Iowa, the same city in which Field of Dreams was set in. Costner, of course, served as the event’s MC for the historic game. Peacock has since been granted a straight-to-series reboot of the fan-favorite. The streamer announced that the series will “re-imagine” the elements of family and baseball that create that rich Iowa charm in which the movie captures. Don’t expect any Kevin Costner nude scenes.