'The Big Chill' at 35: Jeff Goldblum describes the famous Kevin Costner scene that never was

Kevin Costner’s lost scenes in the 1983 classic The Big Chill have become a part of movie lore in the years since its release (the film turns 35 on Sunday), heard about but never seen.

Unknown at the time, the future Dances With Wolves Oscar winner played Alex, the suicide victim whose death reunites eight college friends (Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams). Director Lawrence Kasdan, however, cut all of Costner’s scenes from the film. Or at least those that showed his face; the actor’s slashed wrists are visible in the opening sequence as a mortician maneuvers his corpse.

During a recent Role Recall interview with Yahoo Entertainment (watch in full below), Goldblum described in great, Goldblum-esque detail what was originally intended to be a pivotal flashback scene featuring Costner as Alex.

“We shot this whole flashback … in Atlanta, and we shot it first, when we’re all together in our college days,” Goldblum said. “We’re all making a Thanksgiving dinner. Kevin Costner’s character was in the kitchen with a sharp object — that finally he did himself in with — about to cut the turkey. And he was going to cut this perfect turkey. It was poetical, and metaphorical. He’s about to cut this perfect turkey, and we were all there kind of having a good time, and I think Glenn Close’s character says, ‘Hey Alex. We need you in here.’ And he’s there, and he can’t bring himself to cut the turkey. It’s whole, and it’s kind of perfect. And he doesn’t want to do it.”

As Goldblum suggested, it was a clever bit of reverse foreshadowing, as well as multidimensional character-building when it came to Alex, who ultimately we’re only told about by his friends.

“Then we saw the movie, and for one reason or another, they decided not to use it,” Goldblum said. “But [Costner] was wonderful.”

Watch our full Role Recall interview with Jeff Goldblum:

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