Kevin Costner Can’t Hold Back Tears as His Western Epic ‘Horizon’ Earns 7-Minute Cannes Standing Ovation, Promises ‘3 More’ Installments

Kevin Costner
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Horizon: An American Saga,” Kevin Costner‘s risk-it-all Western epic, rode into Cannes on Sunday, earning a seven-minute standing ovation.

Costner was visibly emotional as the film received huge applause and chants of “Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!” During his speech, Costner thanked the audience and promised “three more” installments of the “Horizon” franchise, which is already due to get a sequel in August.

“I’m sorry you had to clap that long for me to understand that I should speak,” Costner said to laughter. “Such good people. Such a good moment, not just for me, but for the actors that came with me, for people who believed in me who continued to work. It’s a funny business, and I’m so glad I found it. There’s no place like here. I’ll never forget this — either will my children.”

The blood-soaked film, a two-part look at the expansion of the American West, is told from the perspective of the cattle ranchers, farmers and soldiers building a future for themselves in the region, as well as the Natives who lived there first. It’s a deeply personal project for Costner, who put much of his own fortune into making the $100 million-plus film, including mortgaging his ranch. He directs and stars in the film, which he also produced and co-wrote.

Though Costner received a rapturous reaction after the credits rolled, “Horizon’s” three-hour runtime and the American frontier storyline may have proved too much for some. There were scores of walkouts throughout the film — many attendees returned, but some did not. In the movie, Costner shoots his way through the 19th century Wild West. Along the way, he has a sexual romp with a damsel in distress who is 33 years his junior, and shoots and kills a very villainous fellow settler — which earned the biggest applause during the movie. Unlike a typical film one would see at Cannes, “Horizon” closes with a compelling preview of the next installment.

The Western genre has been kind to Costner over the years. He had a box office hit with “Open Range” and a blockbuster smash with “Dances With Wolves,” both of which he directed. Costner also won Oscars for producing and directing “Dances with Wolves.” Much of the pre-release publicity for “Horizon” has centered on Costner’s messy break from “Yellowstone,” the hit show that he anchors and abruptly left despite its ratings success. The show’s producers alleged that Costner had been less available when the complicated production of “Horizon” monopolized his time.

Costner showed the first part of “Horizon” at Cannes on Sunday. It opens on June 28 in the U.S. with the second chapter debuting in theaters on Aug. 16. That release strategy carries its own risks — if the first installment is a dud, will people show up for its follow-up?

The ensemble of “Horizon” includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Tatanka Means, Owen Crow Shoe, Jamie Campbell Bower and Thomas Haden Church.

From Variety US