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Kevin Costner Talks Spending $20M on Horizon, Yellowstone Future

Kevin Costner Talks Spending $20M on Horizon, Yellowstone Future

Kevin Costner saddled up to the Campari Lounge at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday for a 75-minute conversation about his life and career that was funny, revealing and even tear-jerking.

It was all part of The Hollywood Reporter executive editor (awards) Scott Feinberg’s annual taping at Cannes of his Awards Chatter podcast, and took place just hours before Costner unveiled his latest film, Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1, at the festival.

During the lively conversation, Costner seemed energized by the crowd, at times standing up and wandering toward them, or facing the picturesque view of the Croisette and pretending to have a conversation with himself (or a wise advisor) wherein he’d interrogate his decisions, like spending his own money on his movies.

Costner invested $20 million of his own money into Horizon, deferred his fees and took out a loan on his Santa Barbara home to make it happen, all of which make the four-picture plan arguably the biggest gamble of a career in which he has bet on himself numerous times.

“I had the kind of success that I couldn’t even dream of,” Costner said. “But I don’t want to let this pile of things I have — whether it’s money, whether it’s [possessions], be so important to me that I can’t think about what I want to do. I’m going to keep enough things that my family’s going to be good. … I’d like to have money, I’d like to have nice things, but I thought to myself, ‘That’s going to control me if I let it.’”

To laughs from the crowd, he addressed his “pile” of money and possessions directly, saying, “Every time I looked at this pile, I’m like, ‘Fuck, I don’t want to lose you. Why am I so interested in this movie?’”

Costner has already filmed the second Horizon, which arrives Aug. 16, just under two months after the first chapter bows in North American theaters on June 28 — and the filmmaker revealed he has already shot a few days on Chapter 3. “I’m going to go back [to the U.S. after Cannes], and I think I have enough money to shoot another seven or eight days,” he said. “I’d like it to be easier, but I don’t think it ever is going to be for me.” He is still seeking funding for the rest of Chapter 3 and all of Chapter 4.

From his star-making turn in 1985’s Silverado to 1990’s Dances with Wolves, for which he won producing and directing Oscars, to becoming one of the first A-list movie stars to transition to TV with the 2012 miniseries Hatfield & McCoys and then the ratings phenomenon Yellowstone, which debuted in 2018, Costner has been the face of the western genre for much of his career. And he is banking on that credibility motivating the public show up for Horizon.

Scott Feinberg and Kevin Costner record an episode of the ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19.

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The actor also addressed headlines about the fate of Yellowstone, which has been on an extended pause after shooting the first half of its fifth season. In divorce proceedings in late 2023, the actor claimed he was owed $12 million for the second half after Paramount “walked away” from negotiations. Yellowstone producers, meanwhile, have claimed Horizon interfered with his commitments to the show.

During the podcast taping, Costner said that from his perspective, the scripts for season 5B just weren’t ready by the time they were supposed to be, and he could only wait around for so long before having to start on Horizon. “I scheduled my movie between when we were supposed to make Yellowstone and when we were supposed to start [the show’s next season], and somewhere along the line they couldn’t follow their dates,” he asserted. “I had 400 people waiting for me and my own money there. And so, a series that I gave all my attention to for five seasons, I still was prepared to do that. But I couldn’t break my word with actors that I made promises with, and a promise I made to myself. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at me.”

Costner then got laughs from the crowd by looking out the window and pretending to consult with his attorney about how much money he was being offered. He concluded that he would indeed return to Yellowstone, but reiterated that it’s not about money for him: “I like money too, but it just doesn’t inform my decisions. It just doesn’t. Because if it all goes away, I know how to work. I can work on a fishing boat, I can build a house. I’m okay.”

A day after the taping, the Paramount Network announced production on Yellowstone season 5B was underway, but there was no word on Costner’s participation.

For many more of Costner’s colorful stories — about a chance meeting with Richard Burton that changed his life, the pressures of making Waterworld, shooting the famous courtroom scene in JFK, and the list goes on — be sure to tune in to his full Awards Chatter episode when it drops later this week on all major podcast platforms.

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