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Kevin Costner Unveils Western Gamble ‘Horizon’ at Cannes

Kevin Costner Unveils Western Gamble ‘Horizon’ at Cannes

Kevin Costner road into Cannes with cowboy swagger, making finger pistols on the red carpet to cheers from the crowd ahead of the premiere for Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1, a self-financed western that is one of the biggest swings of his long career.

Inside the Grand Lumiere Theatre, Costner was greeted with extended applause before the screening, the first public exhibition of the $90 million-plus budgeted film that is planned as just part one of a four-part saga. Three hours later, as the credits rolled, the crowd delivered a standing ovation that began to taper off at around the four-and-a-half-minute mark, but then continued on for a total of around ten minutes, ending when a tearful Costner took the microphone to speak.

“I’m sorry you had to clap so long for me to speak,” Costner told the crowd, adding of the movie, “It’s not mine anymore. It’s yours.”

He was joined at Cannes by Horizon stars Sienna Miller, Jena Malone, Isabelle Fuhrman, Ella Hunt, Georgia MacPhail, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Wasé Chief. Costner received support for the film from guests including his JFK director Oliver Stone, Julianne Moore, Michelle Yeoh, Isabelle Huppert and Emily in Paris actress

Horizon is a major gamble for Costner, who has been trying to make the project for more than 30 years. After decades of trying to find studio financing, Costner instead put in $20 million of his own funds into the project, deferring his fees and taking out a lone against his Santa Barbara. “When no one wanted to make the first one, I got the bright idea to make four,” Costner said wryly in February during a press conference. He has already shot Chapter 2, which bows just two months after Chapter One. He has two more scripts he would like to make, and has shot a few days on Chapter 3, but is in need of funds to complete the picture.

Since directing best picture winner Dances with Wolves, Costner has become synonymous with the western genre, and one of its biggest champions. He was one of the first A-list movie stars to jump to TV with the miniseries Hatfields and McCoys in 2012, before such a move became commonplace. And he has led the ratings juggernaut Yellowstone for five seasons,.

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Costner is banking on that Yellowstone crowd showing up for Horizon. In a bold move, the first two parts will come out in close succession, with Chapter 1 arriving in North America on June 28 and Chapter 2 coming in August. (Warner Bros. is distributing domestically, while Universal is handling international distribution, but neither have financial skin in the game.)

The Hollywood Reporter chief film critic David Rooney was not high on the film, writing, “Kevin Costner has been in the saddle long enough to know the difference between a big-screen feature Western like Dances With Wolves, a miniseries like Hatfields & McCoys or a longform like Yellowstone. All those projects have done well by him and he’s done well by them. His connection to the quintessential Americana genre and the rugged lands it calls home is indubitable. So why is his sprawling new frontier tale, Horizon: An American Saga, such a clumsy slog? It plays like a limited series overhauled as a movie, but more like a hasty rough cut than a release ready for any format.”

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