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Kevin Costner on his saga, "Horizon," and a possible return to "Yellowstone"

Kevin Costner on "Horizon: An American Saga"
Kevin Costner on "Horizon: An American Saga" 07:47

When Frank Sinatra sang "My Way," he could've been singing about Kevin Costner. The Oscar-winning actor-director is at work on his most ambitious project to date – a four-part saga of the American West. And just like Ol' Blue Eyes, Costner is doing it his way.

"Horizon: An American Saga" is spectacular in every sense. There are four parts, each one feature-length. And Costner says he put his own money – $38 million – into the project (so far). And you can practically see where all the money goes, especially if you happen by one of Costner's shooting locations, like the one he showed "Sunday Morning" outside of Moab, Utah. Around here, it's not so much a movie set as a time capsule. Every detail is accurate down to the doorknobs. "You want to create an environment that's authentic," he said.

Kevin Costner filming his multi-part Western epic, "Horizon: An American Saga."  CBS News

The story is authentic, too, about the lure of the Old West, and the tragedy of the people who lived here first.

Costner said, "These towns, they weren't like mushrooms, they didn't just pop up. They were fought for. This land was contested, and it was always an ugly finish for the Native Americans, always. And so, those are themes that, while I'm embarrassed by that, kind of ashamed of how it went down, I'm also not afraid to talk about it."

He's already finished shooting parts one and two, and is currently filming part three, even before part one has opened. So, how is he? "I'm okay. I'm like a wagon headed West, too. I've just run into everything that you can imagine. I have to hold onto the rope, 'cause I got this pact with the audience that I'm gonna give them something. … I want 'em to go West."

To watch a trailer for *Horizon: An American Saga," click on the video player below:

Horizon: An American Saga | Trailer 1 by Warner Bros. Pictures on YouTube

Costner's own story is pretty epic as well. His directorial debut was 1990's "Dances With Wolves," and he had to put his own money into that one, too. When it premiered, The New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael called it "childishly naïve," but Costner had the last laugh. The film won best picture, and Costner took home best director as well.

Costner's made other big movies, including "Bull Durham," "Field of Dreams," "The Untouchables," and "The Bodyguard." But it seems he's always felt comfortable in a cowboy hat. He helped make Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone" a monster hit for CBS' parent company, Paramount, but that's over now. 


Smith asked, "Did you have to leave 'Yellowstone' in order to complete 'Horizon'?"

"No," Costner said. "I did everything that I was contracted to do with 'Yellowstone.'"

"Would you like to go back?"

"Yeah, if I like the story, where it was going, I would go back," he replied.

But right now he has his sights set on something else. "Horizon" part one is in theaters next week. Part two comes in August, and parts three and four are due sometime after that.

So, how did the film grow to four parts? "I wasn't done!" he laughed. "I mean, how one became four, even I kinda go, 'Really, Kevin?' But it's so good right now. I really love it."

Actor-director Kevin Costner. CBS News

Costner said he's had this story in his back pocket for three decades – and says his son, Hayes, is a big reason why he chose to make it now. "I saw Hayes at 13 and I said, 'I gotta do this movie,'" he said. "'I want him in that movie. I'm gonna make it.'"

The film's debut in Cannes last month earned him a standing ovation – and also drew some less-than-glowing reviews. But to the 69-year-old Kevin Costner, making the movie is worth anything, and everything.

Asked if he would ever put his own money into a project again, he replied, "I probably will. In the world of business, of movies, I don't think I should have to. But the reality is, if nobody wants to go fishin' with me, I'm gonna go anyway."

"If you have any money," Smith laughed.

"No. That was mean!" he laughed. "If I have any money. One more good deal, I'm outta business."

Now he's hoping crowds will line up, like fans who got a sneak peek on Tuesday at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas. And he's still raising money for parts three and four. But like a famous cowboy once said, courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.

Smith asked, "This is the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?"

"It has been, and it continues to be," Costner replied. "You know, if I hear the word 'billionaire' one more time, I think I'm just gonna roll over. 'Cause I don't have that kinda money. … You know, all these guys, all these scaredy cats, it's probably why they have so much, because they're smart and they hold onto it. I'm not that! I just really believe in the idea of what this can be. And so, I just keep pushing it."

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Story produced by John D'Amelio. Editor: Mike Levine. 

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