Kevin Costner Explains Why He Broke One of His Rules to Cast Son Hayes in New Film ‘Horizon’

Kevin Costner Defends Casting Son Hayes in 'Horizon' Over a Young Actor
Kevin Costner and Hayes Costner attend the 'Horizon: An American Saga' photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2024. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

When it came to casting a particular role in his new film Horizon: An American Saga, Kevin Costner knew his 15-year-old son, Hayes, would be a perfect fit.

“He’s a beautiful boy and he’s quiet,” Costner, 69, gushed on the Monday, June 17, episode of Today. His casting, however, went against the actor’s beliefs about celebrities involving their kids in their projects.

“I have not shoved my children into the business,” he explained. “I realize there’s so many young actors that would just kill to be in this movie and I don’t want to take those parts away from them just ‘cause I can place my own children in. But in this instance, it was a smaller part. I selfishly wanted him with me for the week, two weeks he was with me.”

Despite Hayes’ little acting experience, Costner praised his son for turning in a “really beautiful” performance. In the film’s trailer, Hayes’ character can be seen hiding his mother and sister in a secret door in the floorboards as their home is being attacked, seemingly sacrificing himself in the process.

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“It’s a really complicated scene,” Costner told Savannah Guthrie of the moment. “In the end, there’s a nobility, there’s an absolute fatalness about it. It’s what you want in a son. It’s what you don’t want a son to do, and at the end of the day, you’re proud that he would make that choice.”

Making Hayes’ acting debut even more special is the fact that Costner named his son after Horizon’s lead character, Hayes Ellison, as the film has been in the works for over three decades. “I was watching him grow up and I was thinking, ‘Man, I better get with it and make this movie!” he told Entertainment Tonight in April.

Kevin Costner Defends Casting Son Hayes in 'Horizon' Over a Young Actor
Kevin Costner with children Lily, Grace, Cayden, Hayes, and Annie. Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Costner shares Hayes, as well as Cayden, 17, and Grace, 14, with his ex-wife Christine Baumgartner. He also shares adult children Annie, 40, Lily, 37, and Joe, 36, with his ex-wife Cindy Silva, as well as his son Liam, 26, with ex Bridget Rooney.

Hayes and four of his siblings joined Costner on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet last month. They and attendees gave Costner a 10-minute standing ovation following Horizon’s premiere screening.

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“I brought five of them and got them tuxedos, I bought them dresses,” Costner said of the family outing during the May 22 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! “I wanted to know … that they were going to stick with me and support me.”

Costner added that the trip to France also doubled as a mini vacation for him and his children. “The minute we got there, my two sons went fishing. My three daughters ended up on a boat, and said they’d see me around three or four o’clock … and then I get a call and they were drinking drinks at this point so they cruised in about eight o’clock at night,” he shared. “I said, ‘We came to France to be as a family’, they go, ‘It’s working great dad, what do we do next?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, we need a tour director to figure that out.’”

Horizon: An American Saga premieres in theaters Friday, June 28.

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