IF YOU’RE GOING to leave the most popular show on cable television the same year that the very same role wins you a Golden Globe? You better have a good reason. For Kevin Costner, it’s an epic western film titled Horizon—which he hopes will rival the success of his other epic western franchise, Yellowstone.
How did Costner land here? For one, there’s reportedly been an ongoing battle of egos behind the scenes between Costner and Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. Costner had also allegedly promised Sheridan just a week of his time to finish filming the rest of Season Five. The actor was splitting his professional duties between Yellowstone and Horizon, which may have affected his personal life. A source close to his wife, Christine Baumgartner, revealed in an interview with People that she asked him for a divorce after she became “unhappy” with his work schedule. “Christine wants them to spend family time at their Santa Barbara home,” the source said. “During filming, Kevin is not around very much. His absence has been very hard for her.”
But Costner has only doubled down on Horizon since leaving Yellowstone. “I’ve mortgaged 10 acres on the water in Santa Barbara where I was going to build my last house,” he told Deadline in a joint interview with director Francis Ford Coppola. “I did it without a thought. It has thrown my accountant into a f*cking conniption fit. But it’s my life, and I believe in the idea and the story.” Costner also recalled that critics called Dances with Wolves “Kevin’s Gate,” at the time, “even though they didn’t know that I put all my money into this thing, and I actually asked three other directors to direct it before me.”
Horizon is no small feat, though. Last June, he told Variety that he plans to split the epic western into four films, filmed back-to-back. “Four different movies,” he confirmed, that will release “about every three months” following the first. “They’re all different films that all connect, so you’re watching a saga of these storylines that are happening,” he explained. Horizon will star Sam Worthington, Sienna Miller, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Hayden Church. The story will cover a 15-year period around the American Civil War, covering the expansion of the West and the abuse of Native Americans. Filming for the first part allegedly ended in November 2022, with the second green-lit and finished in April 2023. The four-film franchise has no release date yet, but since nothing can release until Costner finishes every movie—it’s likely a long, long way away.
“I’m not a gambler,” Costner told Deadline. “People might look at this and say, Oh, this is a gamble. And I go, Well, I guess it is, but do I want to go to Vegas and gamble? No. I’m not that kind of gambler. I gamble on the love of story. I’m gambling on people, in a sense. I can’t make them go to the theater, but if they get there, I’m going to try to take care of them the best I possibly can.”
Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.
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