Exclusive: 'Horizon' Star Glynn Turman Talks Westerns, Horses, and How Kevin Costner's Upcoming Saga Has Been Years In The Making

The real-life cowboy is starring in Kevin Costner's upcoming four film epic 'Horizon'.

Glynn Turman is in his sixth decade as an actor, but he still maintains the passion — and energy — of an up-and-coming artist. Since the 1960s, he's been a fixture in film and television, with memorable turns in movies such as Super 8, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and 80 for Brady, as well as acclaimed series including Fargo, How to Get Away with Murder, House of Lies and Queen Sugar.

Now, Turman is setting his sights on the Wild West with his role in Kevin Costner's new multi-film epic, Horizon. While the Yellowstone figurehead has kept most of the details close to the vest, it's rumored to include at least three movies that chronicle "a multi-faceted, 15-year span of pre- and post-Civil War expansion and settlement of the American West." Costner co-wrote the films and is both starring and directing.

While Turman couldn't reveal much about his part in this ambitious four part feature (even his character's name is a mystery), he did sit down with Wide Open Country to delve into his long career, the Western genre, and what it's like to work with — and be — a living legend.


Wide Open Country: Between starring in 80 for Brady and Queen Sugar and appearing in a campaign for Beyoncé's IVY PARK denim line, you've had quite the year. What's been one of your favorite projects you've worked on recently?

Turman: Well, I just came back from Utah at the Zion National Park, where I was filming with Western aficionado extraordinaire Kevin Costner for his new project, Horizon. And I'm telling you, I had a ball.


WOC: Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Turman: I can't talk too much about it, but just know that it's a Western saga that chronicles a certain time period just around the Civil War. It shows the grit and determination of all of those pioneers, Native Americans, and everyone who made the American West what it is. It's that no-holds-barred storytelling that Kevin Costner is so good at.


WOC: Have you ever worked with Costner before?

Turman: Never had. We met years and years ago at a bar, and we were both fans of one another. We recognized that right away, and we said, "We have to work together, and we have to do a Western together." At that time, he said, "Don't worry, man, we will." Almost 15 years later, he gave me a call and said, "OK, let's do it." And we just had a great time.


WOC: What was it like working with him as a director?

Turman: He's a fantastic director. I don't know how he does all that. I don't know how he stars, writes, produces, directs, and does the whole thing. I can't do that. But he's good at it, and he's got an eye and a sensitivity that is second to none.


WOC: A lot of Westerns usually have some sort of "cowboy camp" or training that actors have to attend. What did you do to prepare for your role?

Turman: When we first met at the bar, I said, "We got to do a Western. You know I ride." And he said, "Yeah, I know you do." He knew that I had a ranch and that I've been the grand marshal of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo for 35 years. So I didn't have to do a whole lot of preparing.


WOC: That's interesting, because you grew up in Harlem in New York City. How did you get into ranching and riding?

Turman: I always had a love for horses. It just was something that was in my blood. I would play hooky from school and go to Central Park, where they had the horseback riding academy, and I'd say, "Mister, I'll shovel all the muck, all that crap over there if you let me ride the horse in that arena." And he would. So I'd come home smelling like you know what, and my mother said, "What is this smell? Where did this come from?" I had to confess that I had been going to the stables instead of going to math class.

She went to a girlfriend who was an equestrian and said, "I can't stop this boy from being around horses. Can you teach him how to ride?" She did, and I've been with horses ever since.


WOC: Amazing. What's your ranch like now?

Turman: It all materialized miraculously and, through a blessing, a dream come true. Once I moved from New York to Hollywood, California, and was able to do well enough to secure a piece of property, my family built on it. We built our home with our hands.


Glynn Turman sits on table next to horse

WOC: As embedded as you are in the culture, Westerns are just now starting to have a moment again. Why do you think that is?

Turman: I don't know, but it's all across all spectrums. I did a fashion layout for Beyoncè that was a Western theme, so it's in the hip-hop world, too. It's everywhere. And what's wonderful about it is that everybody's getting a chance to be included in the retelling of this story. It's lent a great deal of new energy to the experience that has fueled this new surge in the making of this wonderful country of ours, America.


WOC: Back in their original heyday, Westerns didn't offer a ton of diversity. Do you think the stories we're retelling today are more inclusive?

Turman: That's the great thing about it. There are more stories to be told. They're being written by people who have a vested interest in telling the stories, and they're not being told from just one point of view. Diversity is one of the foundations of our nation. And so all those stories have to be told — and as a people, we come out better because of it.


WOC: Absolutely. You're also slated to be in Hulu's series adaptation of Charmaine Wilkerson's bestselling novel Black Cake. Can you tell us a little about your role?

Turman: It's a wonderful story about a woman who's trying to escape her past but whose past has caught up with her, and now she has to share who she is with her offspring. She charges a man by the name of Charles Mitch who I play, who is her attorney, but also a friend — and with the task of telling her children who she is.


WOC: You're 76. Usually, at this age, you see a lot of people slowing down their careers in Hollywood. But you seem to be gaining even more speed. What keeps you motivated?

Turman: My wonderful manager calls it a Glynnaissance. Life is just so precarious, and you never know how it's going to twist and turn. I'm just glad that I'm still here and able to enjoy the craft of acting and telling stories. The fact that I'm still being called for it is a blessing, and I just try to rise to the occasion.


WOC: And you definitely do. You've played such a wide variety of characters in your career so far. What kind of projects are you hoping to do in the future?

Turman: I want to do a little more of what I just came off of. I want to tell a few more Western-based stories. Now that there's such a rise in the need for stories about the West, I'd love to tell some of these stories that I've had in my trunk for a long time.

In addition to his upcoming roles in Horizon and Black Cake, Turman also has a documentary coming out about his life and 60-year-long career in show biz. The Legend of Glynn Turman is available for streaming on Prime Video, Roku, Peacock, Tubi, Crackle, Sling, Vudu, Hoopla and other platforms.

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