It’s one of the most famous movie lines of all time.
“People will come, Ray,” actor James Earl Jones says in the film. “People will most definitely come.”
And people did come – thousands of them – for the “Field of Dreams” 25th Anniversary Celebration this past weekend. Fans from around the world and celebrities, too — including the movie’s star, Kevin Costner — all made the trip to Dyersville, Iowa, to spend time at the site where the movie was filmed 26 years ago. To mark the silver anniversary of the film’s release, celebrities like Costner and fans gathered on the field Friday night to watch the movie together on the big screen.
“It’s nice to know people feel the same way about the film 25 years later,” Costner said.
At a press conference on Saturday, Costner told the crowd that Friday night had been a special moment for him, since it was the first time he got to watch the movie with his three young children. Some other members of the cast were there, too. Actor Timothy Busfield portrayed Costner’s skeptical brother-in-law in the movie.
“I don’t know if anybody thought that it would be 25 years later and we’d still be an iconic movie,” Busfield said at Saturday’s news conference. “You don’t aim for the fences. You try to do your best job 12 hours a day…and what’s its become you don’t ever expect.”
Dwier Brown, the actor who played Costner’s father in the movie, appears in one of the most emotional moments of the film, but Brown said the scenes he likes best are the ones that make you laugh.
“I like when Tim walks in front of the pitch. Every time the movie’s going on, I have to watch that bit,” Brown said. “I also like it when Kevin’s arguing with (the Ghost Players) about why he doesn’t get to go into the field and he says” ‘I’ve done everything and I’ve never asked: “What’s in it for me?” And they say: ‘What are you saying?’ And (Costner) says: ‘What’s in it for me?'”
NBC sportscaster Bob Costas was also in Dyersville for the film’s anniversary celebration. He shared his favorite moments from “Field of Dreams” during Saturday’s news conference.
“Everybody remembers: ‘Dad, want to have a catch?’…and they remember James Earl Jones’ speech, but Burt Lancaster as ‘Moonlight Graham’ has a little speech of his own that he delivers to Kevin in his office now that he’s a doctor and you can see that whether it’s Baby Ruth or Shoeless Joe Jackson or somebody that played half an inning in the Big Leagues, they understand what the game can mean and what the beauty of the game and how it stays inside them, and then when he reappears here and revives…Annie and Ray’s daughter and then walks back across the field and when Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson says, ‘Hey you were good,’ he validates that he was a good ball player, even though he only played a handful of moments in the Major Leagues,” Costas said. “I like that part.”
The cast and crew took part in a celebrity softball game at the field Saturday, along with other celebrities, such as actors Colin Egglesfield and Joel Murray, actress Kristy Swanson, model Kim DeJesus and baseball greats Bret Saberhagen and Glendon Rusch. Rusch called it an incredible experience.
“I’d never been to the Field of Dreams, so to come here and be a part of this with the cast, you know, it’s like a childhood dream, really,” Rusch said during an interview. “…It’s like being a little kid.”
Thousands of fans filled the bleachers and sat along the entire perimeter of the field to watch the game, which included an appearance by the Ghost Players. The Ghost Players, all local guys who dress up as old White Sox ball players –just like the movie — played with Costner’s three kids as Costner and his wife watched and smiled. Denise Stillman, who now owns the “Field of Dreams” farm and movie site, said it was a special weekend for Costner.
“It’s been fantastic,” Stillman said. “Having Kevin here obviously ads a huge electricity to the event and I know the event means a lot to him because he’s had his family with him here this weekend. He’s got two little boys that are just absolutely adorable and they were having a catch yesterday and having that great, special time to really soak up and share this piece of his history with his family was special to watch.”
Stillman said people from all over the world came to Dyersville for the anniversary celebration.
“People from Switzerland, people from other parts of Europe — I believe we have one family from somewhere in the Carribean and we’ve got some folks from Asia, so it’s been truly an international event and it’s been a labor of love from the town (of Dyersville),” Stillman said. “We’ve had thousands of people supporting us and I think, literally, half of them working the event.”
Doug May drove several hours from Woodburn, Iowa, to come to the field. He was playing a game of catch with his son Saturday after watching the screening of the movie Friday night.
“It was surreal to be there, you know, you’re like: ‘Oh, we’re sitting right where they’re playing the game or right where that ghost is coming. We’re right there!'” May said. “It’s just surreal that you’re part of history.”
Tim Horn came all the way from Arizona to share this Father’s Day weekend with his son.
“A good father-son bonding experience and we actually watched the movie for the first time this morning,” Horn said, and his son added: “It was pretty good.”
Horn asked his son: “What was your favorite scene?”
The younger Horn replied: “When he pitches the ball, but falls down, apparently.”
The elder Horn followed up: “Did you like the ghosts coming out of the corn fields?”
The boy replied: “Yes!”
All 12,000 of the free tickets for this weekend’s events were claimed.
(Reporting by Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)