Kevin Costner makes long movies. Two of his three films, Dances With Wolves and The Postman, clock in at about three hours apiece. But for his latest, the long-gestating western Horizon, which Costner will direct, the Yellowstone star is outdoing himself. According to Variety, Horizon runs 11 hours in length, which will be edited into four two-hour-and-45-minute-long movies, with even further cuts when it lands on television.
Now, we know that an 11-hour movie segmented into episodes sounds a lot like television. Heck, if you asked us, we’d say, “Cos, you’ve got a four-part miniseries on your hands, bro.” But you’re not asking us, and even if you were, it wouldn’t matter because Costner has bigger plans for Horizon.
Horizon, which Costner tells Variety, is a “beautiful story” that spans 15 years in the American west, focusing on the white settlers moving across the country and the indigenous groups living there. But we don’t have 15 years. We only have 11 hours. So, according to Costner, Warner Bros. and New Line will release “four different movies” over a year, “about every three months.” If only we got Avatar sequels that fast.
Before we incite another riot over the difference between TV and cinema, Costner did say that he initially sold the thing as an “event television movie.” Ah, yes, TV movies, where common-ground and bipartisanship still flourish. However, as Costner said, “what [Warner Bros. and New Line do] with it will really be up to them because things change really quickly in how people want to see things and what they want to do.” So maybe this will be a TV series? Costner seems to be up for anything as long as someone will pay him to shoot 11 hours of western-themed drama.
“I’m happiest because at one point in TV — where you can get your largest audience — they’re going to get to see it the way I intended it to be seen,” he continued. “It will eventually be cut up into [hour-long episodes] or 42 minutes — however TV works. But their first viewing of it will be as four 2 hour and 45-minute movies. And every three months, one will come out. If you’re interested in those characters, the hope is that you’ll really want to watch the next one, but it won’t be in hour segments.”
So eventually, Costner will chop Horizon up into its final form: 11 42-minute episodes, which sounds a lot like a season of Yellowstone, but whatever, this is cinema. Speaking of Yellowstone, Costner gave a cryptic warning to all the spin-offs running around out there:
“People feel they hit a formula and they want to keep it up. I know they want to make a decent story of it. People are capitalizing on it and hopefully they’re doing it in an elegant, intelligent way.”
Thankfully, 1923 already has Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford on board. Elegance? Check.