The Three Faces of Costner, and Tom Petty

LORELAI: The three faces of Costner – Bull Durham, Dances with Wolves, The Postman. Tom Petty playing Tom Petty, that great big speech about “Once upon a time there was a thing called mail”. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you wanna mail something.

Kevin Costner (born 1955), award-winning actor and filmmaker. The three faces of Costner seem to be the first big success of his career, the greatest success of his career, and what seemed at the time to be the fading of his career with a failed film. In fact, he was to have renewed success with The Open Range in 2003, and received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that same year, so his comeback was just around the corner.

Bull Durham, 1988 romantic comedy sports film. It’s partly based on writer/director Ron Shelton’s experiences in the baseball minor leagues, and depicts the players and fans of the Durham Bulls from Durham, North Carolina. Kevin Costner plays a veteran catcher brought in to teach a rookie pitcher (played by Tim Robbins) about the game in preparation for moving to the major leagues. It was a commercial and critical success, and was named the #1 sports film ever by Sports Illustrated. It’s also considered one of the best comedies. It helped solidify Costner as an A-list celebrity.

Dances with Wolves, 1990 epic western which stars, and was produced and directed by, Kevin Costner, in his directorial debut. It’s based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Michael Blake, and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a group of Lakota (much of the dialogue is in Lakota with English subtitles). It was a box office hit, and the #4 film of the year. It was also favourably reviewed, and won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It is credited with revitalising the western genre in film.

The Postman, 1997 post-apocalyptic action adventure film, which was also produced and directed by Kevin Costner, who plays the lead role. It is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by David Brin. Set in a neo-western version of a disestablished US in the near future of 2013, an unspecified apocalyptic event has led to war and plagues, leaving a huge impact on human civilisation and erasing most technology. A nomadic drifter finds an old uniform of a US Postal Services mail carrier, and unwittingly inspires hope, becoming a national hero. It failed at the box office and was heavily criticised in reviews.

Thomas “Tom” Petty (1950-2017), singer, songwriter, and musician. He was the lead vocalist and guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed 1976, and was a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, as well as performing as a solo artist. He sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the most successful music artists of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

He seemingly plays himself as the mayor of Bridge City in The Postman, as Kevin Costner’s character immediately recognises him as a famous person. Tom Petty had a post-apocalyptic themed story in his 1982 song I Got Lucky, and mentioned wanting to have a small part in a futuristic postwar movie. He finally got the chance in this film. [Picture shows Petty as the mayor].

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