It’s well known that classic western Tombstone went through some shooting difficulties, with director George P. Cosmatos brought in to rescue it. Cosmastos was a known ghost director though and it was long rumored that Kurt Russell actually directed (like Sylvester Stallone allegedly directing Rambo II).
In a blog post yesterday, Val Kilmer revealed that while that’s still true, it was Russell that worked his ass off to salvage what the original director had done in that first month. He helped the film so much that when Cosmatos came aboard, with only two days prep, he wouldn’t fall behind schedule because the studio wouldn’t allow for any delays:
“Kurt is solely responsible for Tombstone’s success, no question. I was there every minute and although Kurt’s version differs slightly from mine, the one thing he’s totally correct about is how hard he worked the day before, for the next day’s shot list, and tremendous effort he and I both put into editing, as the studio [Hollywood Pictures] wouldn’t give us any extra time to make up for the whole month we lost with the first director.
I watched Kurt sacrifice his own role and energy to devote himself as a storyteller, even going so far as to draw up shot lists to help our replacement director, George Cosmatos, who came in with only two days prep.
I was very clear and outspoken about what I wanted to do with my role, and actors like Powers Boothe, who we just lost, and Bill Paxton, were always 100% supportive, even in the blistering heat and sometimes as the day would fade, at the possible expense of their own screen time. I would even go up to [Russell] and whisper, ‘Go for another…’ meaning another take when I thought he could go further, but in the interest of the schedule, he would pound on…
I have such admiration for Kurt as he basically sacrificed lots of energy that would have gone into his role, to save the film. Everyone cared, don’t get me wrong, but Kurt put his money where his mouth was, and not a lot of stars extend themselves for the cast and crew. Not like he did.”
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