Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades


Actor Kevin Costner has put up his own money to make a series of movies called “Horizon: An American Saga.” After a successful career – from his Oscar-winning “Dances With Wolves” to “Open Range” to TV’s more recent “Yellowstone” – 69-year-old Costner has thrived with the Western genre.

So Costner is trying to capture lightning in a bottle again, coming up with his own cowboy tale that’s so large he plans to tell it as four sequential movies.
Television binge watching has expanded viewing habits, and Costner hopes to attract an audience that will watch (over time) ten to twelve hours of his storytelling.

The first of Kevin Costner’s movies – “Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1” is playing this week at a theater near you. It will continue with “Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 2,” being released on August 16, 2024. “Chapter 3” started its principal photography in May 2024, while “Chapter 4” is currently in development.

Kevin Costner co-wrote “Horizon: An American Saga,” produced and directed it. These movies have been described as a “passion project” for Costner. He argues, “I feel I’ve made a movie for the people, period. This isn’t a movie from me. I felt like it was my turn in my career to tell a story. This is the one I choose to tell. It’s just my turn.”

In “Chapter 1,” we meet an ensemble cast who share an epic story based on the opening of the West. “Spanning the four years of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, you will embark 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.”

In addition to Costner, the cast includes such faces as Sam Worthington, Michael Rooker, Sienna Miller, Jena Malone, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Jeff Fahey, Isabelle Fuhrman, Tatanks Mans, Owen Crow Shoe, Wasé Chief, Thomas Haden Church, and regular Will Patton, to name a few. The film(s) will feature over 170 speaking roles.

Costner says, “I’m on schedule right now at $98 million, and when I do the fourth film, it will push me over $100 million.”

He adds, “My kids might not get the 10 acres (the waterfront Santa Barbara property Costner put at risk). But they’re going to have homes, and they’re going to have my legacy and the wealth that follows, from my estate. They can make up their own lives. But I’m not going to let anything hold me back. They can make it seem like it’s an obsession, but it’s something I wanted to do.”

Vulture gave the film a so-so review, saying: “Its stately pace never feels boring, so it doesn’t feel like it should have been shorter. But it also doesn’t really work on its own … And it feels impossible to judge this film, because, in some weird way, it doesn’t feel like anything has really happened yet.”

Kevin Costner would say to stay tuned for Parts 2, 3, and 4.

And putting up his own money, you could say he’s betting the farm on it … or in Costner’s case, betting the open range he owns in Santa Barbara.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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