Why Kevin Costner Turned Down The Hunt For Red October

Kevin Costner

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.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.