By EW Staff
Updated August 13, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Ben Glass

One thing you can say about ol’ Kev: When the guy suits up in a baseball uniform, it’s hard to find a fella more likable… or bankable. After going two-for-two with ”Bull Durham” and ”Field of Dreams,” Costner looks to keep his hit streak alive with this $50 million Walter Mittyish baseball flick — which may very well wind up being the last time he steps on the diamond. ”I had to throw 80 miles an hour every day for something like 20 days,” says the aching star. ”My arm hasn’t recovered — it’s traumatized from throwing so much. I’m not kidding. It’s really bad.”

Costner plays Detroit Tigers hurler Billy Chapel, a onetime all-star who’s now in the twilight of his career. His team’s in last place. He’s just found out he’s about to get traded. And the love of his life (Preston) is about to leave him. With all of this bad news, he steps onto the mound in Yankee Stadium, and over the course of what turns out to be a perfect game, he flashes back on his life and replays its pivotal moments. ”What I love about it is, it’s not cliché at all,” says Costner. ”It’s really a relationship movie that just happens to be set against the world of baseball.”

While Costner may seem like a natural for the part, it’s a change-up for director Raimi, who’s best known for his over-caffeinated horror works such as the ”Evil Dead” movies. In fact, Raimi had to lobby for the gig before last year’s ”A Simple Plan” proved to Hollywood that he could succeed outside of genre films. According to Costner, producer Armyan Bernstein approached Raimi to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ”End of Days.” But the baseball-obsessed Raimi told Bernstein that the film he really wanted to direct was ”For Love of the Game,” which would require the okay of its star.

”I was sure Kevin had never heard of me,” says Raimi, ”but he flew me to the set of ‘Message in a Bottle’ on his private jet to discuss it, which is pretty intimidating. After we met, I honestly didn’t think he was interested in me, but I guess he must have liked the other directors he met with even less.” BUZZ FACTOR: 7 <!–

To see the movie trailer for “For Love of the Game,” click here.

Required: RealPlayer for streaming video. Need it? Get video help.–>

For Love of the Game

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 138 minutes
  • Sam Raimi