Faith, Church, and Family Inspires Kevin Costner’s New Film, Horizon

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Oscar-winning director and actor Kevin Costner recently shared how faith shaped his upcoming film “Horizon: An American Saga.” “Faith is what guided people out there to the unknown,” Costner, 69, told The Christian Post. “They just leaned on it. There was this promise, but the promise was not enough. You had to go on faith. And people brought the religion with them west.”

“I grew up a Baptist, and church has always been a part of my life. …So, I don’t mind it bleeding into a movie,” the actor said. “I don’t force it in. But when I think about why people went west when they said goodbye to people back east, they never saw them again; there was some kind of trust that people needed to lean on because they were often in situations where they didn’t even know what they were doing. They were out of control; they needed faith.”

The three-hour film, the first of a four-part series, stars Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, and Luke Wilson. The first installment will be released in theaters on June 28, and “Horizon: An American Saga—Chapter 2” will be released on August 12. The third film is slated to be released in 2025.

The movie was filmed in Moab, Utah, and takes place during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, when the nation was divided at war.

Costner has been working on the project since the 80s and has invested $38 million of his own money. He told CP that the years-long creation process required a steadfast belief that the film would come to fruition in its own time. 

“I’ve had hands over me, for sure, in my life, and I’m like anybody, I try to force it,” the “Yellowstone” actor said. “I try to force things through force of will, and I’ve been able to do that a lot in my life. But I’ve also found that things come in their own time. I think that’s how my career’s gone, to be honest. Everything in its own time, I didn’t burst onto the scene as a teenager. It took me a while. So, I trust my journey.”

Although the film is rated R and is not a faith-based project, Costner noted that family and faith strongly influence the narrative. 

Scripture verses are subtly infused throughout the film, particularly when characters are faced with times of trial. In one scene, a settler quotes Psalm 91 – “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

“I wanted [Scripture to] obviously relate to the situation,” Costner said.

Costner, a father of 7, told CP how the film showcases the theme of family, including that his youngest son, Hayes, 15, appears in the film as Nathaniel Kittredge.

“Anybody can make a movie about a gunfight, and I’m going to get you to those gunfights, and those gunfights are going to be terrifying, and they’re going to be loud,” he said. “But I think just a woman trying to bathe because she feels so dirty, or a mother and daughter who realize that some hell is going on above them and the only way they’re going to survive is if they share breath, I feel the closeness. I feel like that really has an important part in Westerns.”

Although the film is rated R, Costner hopes that audiences would pass on the story to younger generations, highlighting the belief that “violence and humanity can go together.”

“I think a lot of people are going to say, ‘I’m going to bring my son and daughter because they need to understand what their great-great-grandmothers and grandfathers went through,’” he said.

“This does have violence, but it also has a nobility, a sense of why family is important. When she says goodbye to her son, she has faith that she will be with him again. Violence and humanity can go together. That’s my hope that while it’s R-rated, a lot of people will say, ‘I feel like my daughter should see this.’”

Costner, who won two Oscars for his 1990 frontier saga “Dances With Wolves” and a Golden Globe for his role as John Dutton in the long-running TV series “Yellowstone,” hopes that said “Horizon,” would contribute to the legacy of American Westerns and provide a nuanced understanding of America’s historical narrative.

“I hope that it stands on its own. I’m not looking to reinvent the West or set the record straight,” he said, adding that the film tries to acknowledge the harsh realities and cultural clashes of the era while celebrating the resourcefulness and courage of those who ventured west.

“This was hard fought for,” he said. “The resourcefulness it took for the people that came out, not even being necessarily equipped to be in the West, is something that I admire. But I also understand the great clash that happened between cultures and what we lost. There were people that were displaced. So I don’t ignore any of it. I just go after it. I hope I land on the side of behavior and authenticity.” 

Photo Credit: ©YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures

Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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