Over the years, Kevin Costner has played a variety of different roles with one thing in common: they were all characters in movies and not TV shows. (With the exception of “Devil” Hatfield in the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.) Well, he’s got another TV project in the works, and although it’s not a narrative series, it still sounds incredibly interesting, as he’ll be narrating the western-tinged National Geographic special Billy the Kid: New Evidence.

Costner will also be executive producing Billy the Kid: New Evidence, which will center on a (relatively) recently discovered rare photo of William H. Bonney, the man behind the nickname. This is especially important, should it be proven authentic, as there is only one other photograph of Bonney in existence. There wasn’t an abundance of cameras (or smartphones) when the outlaw was alive from 1859-1881.

The photo first came into the spotlight back in 2010, when collector Randy Guijarro bought a 4X5 tintype for $2, and then discovered what appeared to be Billy the Kid in a game of croquet with his gang The Regulators. (Mount up!) The initial photo of Bonney sold for $2.3 million back in 2011, and if this second image is the real deal, it’s expected to fetch even more money from collectors.

The special will center on investigators trying to determine the authenticity of the picture using modern methods and re-creations of the time period to figure out where it was taken. Here’s how Costner described the importance of the project.
Billy the Kid was once the most-hunted man in America and, if you think about it, was one of the media’s first notorious bad boys. The world was fascinated with him then, and the fact that this recently discovered image has created such excitement proves that the world continues to be fascinated with him today. Billy the Kid is the epitome of an American legend.

It should be obvious to everyone that Nat Geo should get in touch with Emilio Estevez to play Billy the Kid in the recreations, as he nailed the role back in Young Guns.

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It wasn’t long ago that Costner was in the running to star in The Trial, an upcoming Amazon project created by David E. Kelley. But he ended up passing on it, and the role was nabbed by Billy Bob Thornton. Here’s hoping Costner figures out another way to reach TV viewers in the future.

Billy the Kid: New Evidence will premiere on National Geographic on Sunday, October 18, at 9 p.m.

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