11 Field of Dreams facts you never knew

There are more mysteries than just what is going on in that cornfield

August 12th, 2021

You may think you know “Field of Dreams.” You’ve watched the movie on repeat, you’ve slowed it down and studied it -- frame-by-frame -- and you can recite the script by heart. Well, congratulations. No matter what your parents may have told you, that’s quite a feat.

But whether you are the person above, or you’re simply someone who loves a story about baseball, family and ghosts haunting a cornfield, you may be surprised to learn one of these facts about the film:

  1. Kevin Costner actually approached the filmmakers about starring in the film, rather than the other way around. The producers claim he was their first choice, but assumed he wouldn’t make another baseball movie after “Bull Durham.” According to director Phil Alden Robinson, who shared this tidbit in the documentary included on the film's home release, Costner even pushed back another film he was in so he could star in "Field of Dreams."
  1. So, you may know that Kevin Costner has a country-rock band named Kevin Costner and the Modern West. What you may not know is that the band has a song called, “When We Get Home to Iowa.” It was inspired by Costner’s time shooting the film. While the track has yet to make one of the albums, you can hear a live version below:
  1. Following Ray Kinsella's lead, the baseball-obsessed Costner has even built his own field, too. He has one located on his ranch in Aspen, Colo., and it comes complete with stadium lights, a pitching machine and a sound system. If you've got $250,000 laying around, you can even rent the property for the week.
  1. Though the movie was based on W.P. Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe,” and initially shared the same name, the final title is much closer to Kinsella’s preferred name for the book. His novel was nearly titled “Dreamfield.”
  1. Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, was originally supposed to be the reclusive author J.D. Salinger. However, the producers changed the character after Salinger threatened to sue. The working title of Kinsella’s novel was “The Kidnapping of J.D. Salinger.”
  1. Salinger still found a way to be involved in the story -- in a way. Claiming it has nothing to do with his own last name, W.P. Kinsella noticed two characters named Kinsella appeared in Salinger’s work: Richard Kinsella is a classmate in “The Catcher in the Rye,” and Ray Kinsella appears in the short story “A Young Girl in 1941 with No Waist at All.”
  1. The field may look perfect when the White Sox and Yankees step onto it, but it took a little movie magic when they shot the film. The production crew used crushed red brick on the infield and even had to paint the grass with vegetable dye and latex turf paint to hide brown patches.
  1. Somehow no one knows just who played the famous unseen voice that tells Ray, “If you build it, he will come.” Some believe it’s Costner and others think it was Ray Liotta, who played Shoeless Joe Jackson. Kinsella said he was told it’s actor Ed Harris, the husband of Amy Madigan, who played Annie Kinsella.
  1. If you ever thought that Ray believes the voice a little too quickly, well, director Phil Alden Robinson initially agreed. In the first cut of the film, there’s a scene where Ray visits a hearing specialist. The scene was then cut from the final version.
  1. You won’t be able to see them, but Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are some of the extras in attendance for the game at Fenway Park. Years later, while working on “The Sum of All Fears” together, Affleck allegedly told Robinson, “Nice working with you again.” After Robinson looked confused, Affleck explained the connection.
  1. What was the date of the actual game that Ray and Terence saw at Fenway Park? Thanks to the intrepid work of Flip Flop Fly Ball's Craig Robinson, we know the answer: May 16, 1988. It’s the only game that year that Jody Reed, Marty Barrett, Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans and Mike Greenwell -- who you can see on Ray's scorecard -- took up the first five spots in the lineup for the Red Sox at home against the A's.

Unfortunately, while the scorebook got the lineup right, the action on the field was seemingly made up.