In 2023, you can't think about the Western genre without thinking about Kevin Costner. From his early roles in Western films including Dances With Wolves and Open Range to his wildly popular Yellowstone character John Dutton, it's no surprise that Costner's next venture will fit into the same genre. After the news broke that Yellowstone will end after this season, fans are itching to know more about Costner's project that is rumored to be a factor behind his departure from the series. His film series, Horizon: An American Saga, is over 30 years in the making, and finally on its way to the big screen.
What is Horizon about?
Per IMBD, Horizon "chronicles a multi-faceted, 15-year span of pre- and post-Civil war expansion and settlement of the American west." The story will unfold over a total of four films, running 11 hours all together. The film series is a passion project Costner first dreamed up in 1988. "It's really been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's exactly what I want to do," he told People. " In my career I've tried to choose not based on what was popular. I made the films I wanted to make."
The Long Road to Production
Filming for the first movie in the series finally kicked off in August 2022 and continued through November of the same year. Costner has been fighting to get to this point for years. "I commissioned this story in 1988. Single movie, two-hander. A conventional Western with a beginning, middle, and end. I couldn’t get anybody to make it," Costner told Deadline. Over the years, countless producers turned him down. The film was eventually picked up by Disney, but fell through due to budget concerns.
"Eight years later, I started thinking about the story, started writing with a partner, and it ended up being four screenplays. So I reverse-engineered everything from 1988. I thought it was really good. But I still couldn’t get anybody to make it.... I don’t know why, but I have not let go of this one. I’ve pushed it into the middle of the table three times in my career and didn’t blink. This is my fourth,” Costner continued. Eventually the Yellowstone star decided to take matters into his own hands, funding the saga with his own money. "I've mortgaged 10 acres on the water in Santa Barbara where I was going to build my last house, but I did it without a thought. It has thrown my accountant into a f***ing conniption fit. But it’s my life, and I believe in the idea and the story," he told Deadline. Undoubtedly a risky move on Costner's part though this isn't the first time he's put up his own capitol for a film. Costner partially funded Dances With Wolves, which turned out to be a great invested as the movie brought in millions at the box office and beyond.
Just as Costner starred in Dances With Wolves, he also plays a major role in the Horizon saga. The cast for the series is absolutely massive, with more than 200 cast members with speaking roles. Aside from Costner, the cast will include Ella Hunts, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Sam Worthington, Sienna Miller, Thomas Haden Church, Michael Rooker, Glynn Truman, Kathleen Quinlan, Giovanni Ribisi, and Costner's own son Hayes.
When will Horizon premiere?
As of today no official release date for the first film has been announced, though Costner expressed he hopes to set the premiere for Fall 2023. The first film of the four-part saga is currently in post-production as filming for the second movie is underway. Costner initially hoped to premiere the film at the Venice International Film Festival, but the festival has since passed without a showing of Horizon. As with all movies and television shows, production is on hold due to the ongoing writers' and actors' strikes.
Where is Horizon filming?
Considering the films are set in the American West, it's a no brainer that the films will be shot there. Thus far, filming has been confirmed in Grand County in Southeastern Utah and St. George in Southwestern Utah. Both filming location are a stone's throw away from some of America's most stunning National Parks including Zion, Grand Canyon and Arches, so at the very least the backdrop for Horizon will be breathtaking.
Though we're sad to see Yellowstone coming to an end, we're eager to see the project Costner is so passionate about, hopefully in the very near future!
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