Costner back in ball game

EXCLUSIVE
Kevin Costner, who vaulted to stardom on the strength of baseball pics “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” a decade ago, is in final talks to don pinstripes once more in “For the Love of the Game” for Beacon Pictures and Universal.

Costner loosely committed to the project two years ago (Daily Variety, Dec. 12, 1996), but never sealed a deal. The project had languished at U, but Beacon took an interest after it signed an overall production deal with Universal.

U and Beacon are now out to helmers on the pic and expect to start production some time in September, right after he finishes “Message in a Bottle” for Warner Bros.

Universal will likely take domestic distribution on the project, while Beacon, which will cover an undetermined portion of the budget, will probably handle foreign rights.

Producers will be Beacon’s Armyan Bernstein along with Sydney Pollack and Amy Robinson, who originally involved Costner.

Pic, based on a novel by Michael Shaara, is about an aging baseball pitcher who, while hurling a perfect game, daydreams back to what went wrong with his career over the years.

Costner has lately set up several projects to star in, including “Thirteen Days,” also at Beacon. Recently, he’s been flirting with several projects, including a sequel to “The Bodyguard.”

Costner last starred in the flop “The Postman” for WB.

Other major credits include “Tin Cup,” “Waterworld,” “Wyatt Earp,” “A Perfect World,” “JFK,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Dances With Wolves,” “The Untouchables” and “Silverado.”

Attorney Harley Williams reps Costner.

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