Before They Were Stars: Kevin Costner (or His Head) in “The Big Chill”

It always sucks when an actor earns a role in a movie, only to find out that their entire part has been removed from the finished film. But it’s particularly frustrating when said actor is still an unknown and their potential big break ends up on the cutting room floor. This fate befell an aspiring young actor named Kevin Costner when he was cast in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1983 hit comedy-drama, The Big Chill. Even though Costner’s part wasn’t a large one, it was integral to the plot: he played the role of Alex, a character who commits suicide at the beginning of the film, prompting his old college friends to reunite at his funeral. Costner was supposed to appear as Alex in a couple of flashback sequences, but Kasdan ultimately decided to cut all these scenes out. All that remains of Costner in the finished film can be seen during the opening title sequence, which intercuts between introducing the main characters and a mortician preparing Alex’s body. In other words, all you can see of Kevin Costner in The Big Chill are one of his legs, one of his hands, and the top of his head! But at the very least, it’s still better than his performance in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

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