DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Actor Colin Egglesfield wasn’t in the classic baseball film Field of Dreams.
But if they built a screen in centre field, he would come.
When Egglesfield heard about plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release during Father’s Day weekend in Iowa, he flew to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, picked up his dad and drove six hours to the farm where it was filmed.
The Los Angeles-based Egglesfield, most recently seen on TV shows such as Rizzoli and Isles and The Client List, and his father reached rural Dyersville in time for a viewing of the movie on the outfield grass with scores of others, including star Kevin Costner.
That’s when “Hey dad, you want to have a catch?” got them all, all over again.
“My brother had one arm around my dad. I had my arm around him as well. It was just water works,” Egglesfield said of the film’s memorable final scene.
This weekend’s emotional reunion in Iowa showed why Field of Dreams still resonates with so many after so many years.
The site of the Oscar-nominated film about an Iowa farmer who hears a voice whisper “If you build it, he will come” and follows through on his vision by building a baseball diamond over a corn field has itself become a tourist destination since the movie’s release in 1989.
So it was only natural for the farm in northeast Iowa to host a three-day celebration of the film that made it so famous.
Stars such as Costner and Timothy Busfield joined celebrities like Egglesfield, past American League Cy Young award winner Bret Saberhagen and thousands of fans from all over the Midwest at the remote locale.
Costner played the role of Ray Kinsella, the farmer whose diamond lured both the 1919 Chicago Black Sox and his own long-gone father out of the cornstalks beyond left field.
Twenty-five years later, Costner brought his wife and kids back to Iowa to reminisce about his role in one of the most beloved sports movies of all time.
“I’m glad to be here with friends and old acquaintances and making some new ones, and for my children to be a part of this,” Costner said. “It’s certainly a high mark for me, this little movie, and it remains so.”
The weekend was jam-packed with activities like celebrity softball games and concerts from the Gin Blossoms, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and even Costner’s own country band, Modern West.
But perhaps the biggest item on the agenda was a game of “remember when” — for fans and actors alike.
Busfield, who played Ray Kinsella’s brother-in-law Mark, said the moment when “’Shoeless” Joe Jackson, played by Ray Liotta, drilled a liner at Costner’s feet after he dared the White Sox star to hit his curveball is still his favourite.
Actor Dwier Brown, who played Kinsella’s father, talked about how much Costner’s famous plea to Liotta — “What’s in it for me?” — still makes him chuckle.
Broadcaster Bob Costas, who hosted a Q&A with the cast on Friday, talked about how much he enjoyed Burt Lancaster in the role of “Moonlight Graham,” a ballplayer-turned-doctor who gave up his second shot at a baseball career to save Kinsella’s daughter from choking on a hot dog.
What all the actors have in common are warm memories of a movie that’s nearly as popular now as when it was released in 1989.
“I don’t know if anybody thought that, 25 years later, it would still be an iconic movie. You don’t aim for the fences. You try to do your best job 12 hours a day,” Busfield said. “What it’s become, you don’t ever expect.”
Many believe the film’s enduring popularity is tied to how it tackled the timeless issues of fathers, sons and their often complicated relationships.
That wasn’t lost on organizers, who allowed dozens of dads to play catch with their kids — both boys and girls — in the outfield on Saturday morning.
“It just makes you think about people who aren’t in your lives anymore or people that you should reconnect with,” Michael Dunn, a native of Mount Vernon, Iowa, said following a catch with his son Samuel. “When we were here (Friday) night to watch the movie, I’ve watched it probably 400 times and tears still came to my eyes. It’s just an amazing movie.”