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Approaching 70, Kevin Costner grateful for journey, stories

On a winter morning, Kevin Costner is home on his own range, holding court at his 10-acre Santa Barbara ranch.

The sunlight streaming through the living room’s panoramic windows finds the superstar actor looking about a decade or two younger than his 69 years. He crosses his arms and smiles, reflecting on what his time on this planet has taught him.

His first good life tip: “Let life take you on a journey.”

“It has taken me about 30 years to do this one,” he adds, referencing his latest project, a planned four-part epic called “Horizon: An American Saga.” Costner wrote, produced, directed and stars in the sprawling tale.

Why persevere on that journey despite all of the obstacle and challenges that this film presented? “It’s hard to fall out of love for me,” he says. “I don’t do that.”

“Horizon” is a testament to that. The first two movies, due out June 28 and Aug. 16, will unspool a wildly ambitious Western about family, friends and bad guys dealing with land grabs, gunfights, romance and a post-Civil War clash between cavalry soldiers and Indigenous people. Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi and Jena Malone also star.

For Costner, the title “Horizon” says it all.

“The dream of going west has always been there. It’s still about ‘what’s out there?’ You realize when you look at those horizons that the country is bigger and farther than anyone can dream. It’s all about horizons in life. Everyone is out there looking at the horizon — looking for something in life, in relationships, in our hearts,” he says.

“Our 200-year march across this country was no different. I know I’m out there like our ancestors just looking for room and fresh air. That stirs my spirit,” Costner says.

His other good life tips:

Tale wagging

Costner sees himself as part of an age-old tradition: “telling stories around a fire.”

“We all want to hear a good one,” he continues. “I don’t want to waste your time. I want you to take this journey with me via my stories.”

Go for greatness

Costner, who is still pondering his future with the hit TV series “Yellowstone,” says he always knew that “Horizon” would be one of his biggest, most challenging projects — and big stakes are his thing. “When I do something, I hope it’s not good or average — I’m always shooting for something great. Why not figure out that thing and shoot for greatness in your life?”

Be headstrong

What about those moments when a dream seems impossible? “I’m a bit of a hard head,” Costner acknowledges. “When no one wanted to make the first one of these movies, I got the bright idea to make four movies, which I wrote over six years. … I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but that hard head has gotten me through. I bank on it.”

Learn from nature

Costner filmed most of “Horizon” in Southern Utah near St. George and Zion National Park. “It’s a magic place,” he marvels. “I remember every morning walking outside, looking at those mountains and flat mesas and knowing it was a privilege to be there. My eyes would go to the heavens and think, ‘This moment has an impact on me’ … and then I’d think, ‘Weather is coming.’ ”

Dress the part

Does anyone wear a cowboy hat quite like Kevin Costner? “I’m not that guy who aspired to wear a tie in my life,” he chuckles. “I’m not even that comfortable in suits. A Western is something I can crawl into so much easier. That hat just feels natural on my head.”

Take the time

Costner says one of his favorite movie messages comes from his film “Field of Dreams,” when his character asks the younger version of his father to “have a catch.” “I think people respond and many cry at the end of the movie because it makes you think about what you didn’t say in life,” he says. “Instead of wishing you could go back, say those things today. You can’t get that time back.”

Figuring it out

Costner has spent the past year going through a difficult divorce with Christine Baumgartner. He co-parents their three children (Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 13) and has four grown children. His best parenting advice? “It’s about teaching them to be independent. … and then the sad part is they become that. Otherwise, I’m just like you as a parent … I’m figuring it out as I go.”

Pass it on

When he finds something good, Costner wants to pass it on. “You read a great book and tell people the next day. I hear the best song and I can’t wait to share it with family and friends. I hear this joke and I have to pass it on. When a movie touches people, I’m calling people up and saying, ‘You have to check this out,’ ” he shares. “Passing it on is one of the best parts of the human experience.”

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