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Ray Liotta, Field of Dreams, 1989

Ray Liotta, Field of Dreams, 1989

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson, "Field of Dreams" was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. The fantasy drama included cast members Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster, Gaby Hoffmann, Frank Whaley, and Timothy Busfield. The musical score was written by James Horner.

Summary, via IMDb:
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, "If you build it, he will come." He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voice continues, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.

A bit of trivia, via IMDb:
After the movie was completed, test audiences didn't like the name "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, because they said it sounded like a movie about a bum or hobo. Universal called Director and Screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson to tell him that "Shoeless Joe" didn't work, and the studio changed the title of the film to "Field of Dreams". When Robinson heard the news of the change, he called W.P. Kinsella, the author of the book, and told him the "bad" news, but apparently he didn't care, saying that "Shoeless Joe" was the title the publishing company gave the book. Kinsella's original title was "Dream Field."
 
The studio built the baseball diamond on an actual farm in Dyersville, Iowa. After the filming was completed, the family owning the farm kept the field, and added a small hut where you could buy inexpensive souvenirs. As of 2012, visitors were free to come to the field and play baseball as they pleased.
 
The movie's line "If you build it, he will come." was voted as the Number 39 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100). It is frequently misquoted as "If you build it, they will come."
 
Ray Liotta had no baseball experience, and batted right-handed, although "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was a leftie. Phil Alden Robinson allowed Liotta to bat with his right, but still put him through several weeks of extensive training with University of Southern California baseball coach, and former Brooklyn Dodger, Rod Dedeaux, in order to be convincing as one of the sport's greatest hitters. Liotta eventually developed a good swing. The scene where he hits a line-drive straight back at Kevin Costner actually happened. Costner's fall on the mound was real, and although it was a surprise, he stayed in character.
 
There was an actual Archibald "Moonlight" Graham. The scene where Terrence Mann is interviewing the men in the bar, were people who knew the real "Doc" Graham. They found out about the movie and the inclusion of "Doc" Graham's character. They drove from Chisholm, Minnesota to Iowa. The stories the men shared, were actual stories about "Doc" Graham.
 
Novelist J. D. Salinger, on whom the character Terence Mann is based, was very offended by the fictional portrayal of himself in W. P. Kinsella's novel "Shoeless Joe," upon which the film is based. His lawyers said that they would be "unhappy if it (the story) were transferred to other media," so the studio created the character of Terence Mann.
 
In real-life, Joe Jackson was a soft spoken, humble Southerner. A far cry from the brash New York-accented Ray Liotta. Also, in the film, Jackson claims he couldn't stand Ty Cobb. In real-life, Cobb and Jackson were close friends.
 
During filming, Iowa was in the middle of a drought, and the cornfields surrounding the diamond had to be given lots of extra water in order to grow tall enough for the actors to disappear into the stalks. As a result, the corn grew too fast for the Costner shots. In the one scene where corn is above his shoulders, he is walking on an elevated plank. Because of the drought, the sod for the field began dying quickly. The Dodgers groundskeeper suggested they do what he did at his stadium, paint the dead grass green.
 
The production scouted more than five hundred farms in Iowa, before finding one near Dyersville that had all the physical qualities they wanted, plus enough isolation to make filming easier. Don Lansing, the owner of the property chosen, agreed to let the production reconfigure his house and open it up inside to accommodate cameras and equipment. He was paid $12,000 for his consent. An air conditioning system was installed, a porch built, and the floors leveled.
 
Burt Lancaster originally turned down the part of "Doc" Graham, but changed his mind after a friend, who was also a baseball fan, told Lancaster that he had to work on the movie.
 
During a lunch with the Iowa Chamber of Commerce, Phil Alden Robinson broached his idea of a final scene in which headlights could be seen for miles along the horizon. The Chamber folks replied that it could be done, and the shooting of the final scene became a community event. The film crew was hidden on the farm, to make sure the aerial shots did not reveal them. Dyersville was then blackened out, and local extras drove their vehicles to the field. In order to give the illusion of movement, the drivers were instructed to continuously switch between their low and high beams.
 
When "Shoeless" Joe Jackson asks about the lights at the ball field, Ray comments that every ballpark had them, adding "Even Wrigley." Wrigley Field had famously been the only Major League stadium without lights, not adding them until August 1988, a few months prior to the film's release. In the original novel, Ray told Jackson that every ballpark except for Wrigley had lights.
 
The Voice is credited simply as "Himself," and the identity of the actor who provided it remains unknown. W.P. Kinsella said he believes the voice was Ed Harris, the real-life husband of Amy Madigan. Others have speculated the voice was performed by Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, or Kevin Costner.

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Photo taken on 24 April 2018 (© classic_film / Flickr)

Related tags :
 1980s, movie, 1989, eighties, field of dreams, film, drama, cine, cinema, ray liotta, hollywood, man, actor, celebrity, vintage, classic, retro, old, entertainment, ephemeral
 

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