erik lundegaard


Sunday July 16, 2023

Before They Were Famous: Kevin Costner in ... What?

I think I got pulled in to the IMDb slideshow because I didn't recognize the actors and thought, “Well, if this is 'Before They Were Famous,' maybe this will help me figure out who among the kids is famous.” Win win.

Sashe Calle, for example. Here she is on the afternoon soap “The Young and the Restless” before she was famous. So why is she famous now? Ah, she's the new Supergirl in the new “The Flash” movie nobody went to see. Got it. And here's Anson Mount wearing flannel on some 1995 TV somethingorother. And now he's ...? Oh right, he's the new square-jawed Capt. Pike on the new “Star Trek.” Or the new old “Star Trek.”

And then I got to the one on Kevin Costner.

Before he was famous.

Kevin Costner.

In “Dances With Wolves.”

By that point, he'd only starred in “No Way Out,” “The Untouchables” (the fourth-biggest box-office hit of 1987) “Bull Durham” (15th of 1988) and “Field of Dreams” (14th of 1989). I subscribe to, which digitizes and makes searchable hundreds of newspapers from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; and in 1989, among the newspapers this website has contracts with, there were 40,113 references to Kevin Costner. 

Before he was famous. 

Could IMDb get it more wrong? Could IMDb continue to get it more wrong in all of the ways they do? It's like they're gaslighting our cultural history. Costner became more famous after this, sure, and “Dances With Wolves” helped. And so did “The Bodyguard” and Whitney Houston and “I Will Always Love You,” and all that. In 1991, per, he's referenced 80,301 times. So that's twice as famous. He became twice as famous as he was before. But before, he was just one of the most famous actors in Hollywood.

Put another way: It's not like anyone went to “Dances With Wolves” in 1990 and said, “So who's this starring again?” We knew.

IMDb, if you can get a deleted-scene screengrab of him as Alex in “The Big Chill,” yes, that's him before he was famous. You might want to try that.

Posted at 10:37 AM on Sunday July 16, 2023 in category Technology