There are all sorts of reasons why actors may turn down roles that are offered to them. Kevin Costner had to turn down the lead for The Hunt for Red October but he wants to set the record straight on the reason. It seems that some believe he turned down the role of Jack Ryan because he wanted more money, but the Untouchables actor says it wasn't the money. It really wasn't the money.
I know this: I had to turn down The Hunt for Red October because I had promised I would do Dances [with Wolves] and some people thought me saying no to Hunt for Red October was that I needed more money. It wasn't more money. I had already postponed Dances for a year and I wasn't going to do it now. I had all my things in place. In fact, if anything, it caused me a lot of pain because there was more money offered on Hunt for Red October than I had ever seen in my life. So I was doing the dumb thing. I was putting up my money and leaving behind the biggest check I had ever seen.
It must have seemed like madness at the time. Kevin Costner tells Variety that he turned down a bunch of money because he had this passion project that he'd already been putting off that he felt like he just had to do. Dances with Wolves cost him money. He had to put up much of his own to finance the production. By the end of the shoot that Hunt for Red October paycheck was probably looking even better than it had at the beginning.
Of course, in the end, the gamble paid off. Kevin Costner's passion project won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and a Best Director Oscar for Costner himself. It wasn't "the dumb thing" anymore. It's now the movie that Kevin Costner will be linked with for his entire career.
The Hunt for Red October ended up casting Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan, before switching actors to Harrison Ford for two subsequent films in the franchise. For his part, Kevin Costner would eventually get to enter the world of Tom Clancy with a role in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit a movie that saw Chris Pine in the lead role and has been roundly forgotten by history already.
Kevin Costner can next be seen in another film that will likely contend for a few Oscars, Hidden Figures, which focuses on the story of African American women who were involved in the early days of the space program. Costner's character isn't based on a real person, but is rather a composite of several different people who worked on the project. Hidden Figures is in limited release now and opens nationwide January 6.