Kevin Costner Defends Casting Son Hayes in 'Horizon: An American Saga'
Cover Images/ROGER WONG

Despite critical backlash, Kevin Costner stands by his 'selfish' decision to cast his son, 15-year-old Hayes Costner, in a pivotal role in his latest Civil War-era Western film.

AceShowbiz - For many aspiring young actors, landing a role in a major film is a dream come true. However, for 15-year-old Hayes Costner, this dream became a reality without an audition, thanks to his father, Hollywood legend Kevin Costner. The "Dances With Wolves" star cast his son in the role of Nathaniel Kittredge in "Horizon: An American Saga," a sweeping four-part film set before and after the Civil War.

Costner has been upfront about his reasons for bringing his son onto the project, calling it a "selfish" decision. "I selfishly wanted him with me for the week, two weeks, he was with me," he shared on the "Today" show.

He emphasized that Hayes' role was relatively small but required a serious commitment. "He's a beautiful boy, and he's quiet. And I have not shoved my children into the business," Costner added, highlighting his son's composed nature and promising performance.

Despite the Oscar winner's heartfelt defense, critics have not been kind to "Horizon." The film currently holds a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers calling it "meandering" and lacking "credible characterization."

While the BBC criticized the movie for its lack of a coherent plot, Variety noted its aimless direction. Esther Zuckerman of The Daily Beast went so far as to label the film a "misogynistic, racist... mess," questioning why Costner didn't opt for a television format instead.

Costner, who directed, co-wrote, and financed the film, has expressed that "Horizon" is a deeply personal project. He risked his home to bring it to life, incorporating an ensemble cast that includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, and Luke Wilson. Despite his son's lack of experience, Costner praised Hayes' performance in a particularly challenging scene, noting the nobility and emotional depth he brought to his character.

While Hayes' participation has sparked debate, it is clear that the Costner family has a close bond. The actor said he named Hayes after his character in the film, a tribute that he hoped would inspire him to "get with it and make this movie." Whether or not the film resonates with broader audiences, Kevin Costner remains proud of his son's contribution.

"Horizon: An American Saga" is set to be released on June 28. As with many of Costner's projects, it will evoke strong opinions, both critical and supportive, from those who watch it.

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