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Exclusive: Kevin Costner Reveals New Western, 'Horizon: An American Saga' Was 30 Years In The Making

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Kevin Costner western movie Horizon saga

Kevin Costner's favorite genre is no doubt the Western. The Academy Award-winning director's (DANCES WITH WOLVES) next Western is an ambitious four-part Western starting with HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA. The first two movies will be released two months apart this summer. The trailer debuts Monday, and Kevin Costner gave us a sneak peek into the film he's been waiting to make for over 30 years.

Starring, written, and directed by Kevin Costner, HORIZON features many familiar faces such as Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Danny Huston, Michael Rooker, Will Patton, Giovanni Ribisi and STRANGER THINGS villain Jamie Campbell Bower.

Set during the four years of the Civil War (1861-1865), Costner explores the settling of the Old West and the bloody journey across the country as it's being torn apart.

Costner began his own journey in making HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA in 1988. Originally titled SIDEWINDER, Costner submitted the script under his son's name and under the name HORIZON to avoid any copy cats like his other projects.

“It was at a point in my career it seemed like people were copying some of the movies I was doing whether it be Robin Hood, and there’s a couple of Robin Hoods Or Wyatt Earp, and suddenly there’s a couple of Wyatt Earps. I had commissioned this Western. I just don’t want anyone stepping into what I’m trying to do.”

The HORIZON title stuck even though the name was a ruse. In the 30 years he held on to the project, he decided the term "horizon" best suited the cinematic saga.

"The longer I started to think about it, the more I began to appreciate the dream of going West. They‘re always about going out there. It is about the horizon.”

Costner adds the term is synonymous with the goals every human sets for themselves.

The filmmaker and actor has saddled up plenty of times with classics such as BLAZING SADDLES, SILVERADO, OPEN RANGE, DANCES WITH WOLVES, and two series, Hatfields & McCoys (2012) and the modern Western Yellowstone.

So why make a four-part Western? “We have a lot of Westerns that are not good," says Costner. He describes most Westerns as "too simplified" in that they focus on one pop-up town where strangers and villains enter the picture to save something. He didn't name any films but that plot pretty much summarizes most Westerns.

While most Westerns focus on men, the HORIZON director reveals women will be the focal point of the new movie. "Women’s lives were short," he says. Life in the open range was hard on everyone especially women who toiled away in a harsh environment. "They were worked to death," he says.

Like in DANCES WITH WOLVES, Native Americans will also be represented. "Native Americans were crushed in the move West," he says of the 200-year march across the country.

Costner understands how ambitious his HORIZON saga is. He admits he had a tough time pitching the movie to studios.

“When no one wanted to make the first one, I got the bright idea to make four more. I don’t know what's wrong with me.”

Describing himself as a "hard-head," he went on to finance the first two chapters himself. He set off to Utah and shot the film in 52 days. In comparison, his Academy Award-winning DANCES WITH WOLVES was nearly doubled with 106 days of production. He credits the advancement in technology for the quicker turnaround.

Audiences finally get a glimpse of Costner's HORIZON, and he admits it was not easy capturing moments in a three-minute trailer, but he hopes the tease will entice movie-goers. Ultimately, he hopes the HORIZON saga will have a personal connection to viewers.

"Can they in a sense feel themselves in this movie because that’s what I want people to feel in the dark to absorb themselves. Take the ride. We all know what happens when the lights go out. Either something good. Something average or something great. What I hope is that it’s something that stays with them forever when they see this movie."

HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA CHAPTER 1 & 2 (New Line Cinema) will be in theaters  June 28 (Chapter 1) and August 16 (Chapter 2).




Director: Kevin Costner


Writers: Kevin Costner, Jon Baird


Producers: Kevin Costner, Howard Kaplan, Mark Gillard


Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Owen Crow Shoe, Tatanka Means, Ella Hunt, Tim Guinee, Danny Huston, Colin Cunningham, Scott Haze, Tom Payne, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Will Patton, Georgia MacPhail, Douglas Smith, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jamie Campbell Bower, Alejandro Edda, Wasé Winyan Chief, Michael Anganaro, Angus Macfadyen, Jon Beavers, Alex Nibley, Kathleen Quinlan, Etienne Kellici, Amos Jason Charging Cloud, Bodhi Okuma Linton, Gregory Cruz, James Russo, Jeff Fahey, David O’Hara, Chris Conner, Leroy M. Silva, Bernardo Velasco, Tom Everett, Glynn Turman, Giovanni Ribisi and more.

In the great tradition of Warner Bros. Pictures’ iconic Westerns, Horizon: An American Saga explores the lure of the Old West and how it was won—and lost—through the blood, sweat and tears of many.  Spanning the four years of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, Kevin Costner’s ambitious cinematic adventure will take audiences on an emotional journey across a country at war with itself, experienced through the lens of families, friends and foes all attempting to discover what it truly means to be the United States of America.

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