Kevin Jarre’s vision was specific, and even though it was released in 1993, he wanted the look and feel to be like it was shot in the 1940s, like a classic Western. Jarre wanted the movie to be done in a long master shot, but the production crew didn’t agree. Even though this was how things were shot in the 40s and would have been more authentic, the idea was scrapped and it was decided that Jarre should not be the director of “Tombstone”.
The production crew was eager to do a modern retelling of an old story. Kevin Jarre fought for his vision as he was so passionate about this movie. It would eventually be the main reason why he was fired.
Kevin Jarre Wanted Complete Creative Control
As the writer of a movie script and being the director, you would think that you would have the prerogative to demand things be a certain way. For Kevin Jarre, this was precisely the thing that got him fired off the set of "Tombstone". It couldn’t have been easy losing that vision from the movie, and Michael Biehn describes this as being one of the hardest times.
The cast must have felt the void and certainly felt sad over Jarre’s departure. Every aspect of that movie was envisioned by that director and it is hard not to convey it. He just wanted everything to be the way he imagined it. He was there from script to casting and the early stages of production. He had a hand on everything from saddles and spurs to even mustache length. Ultimately, it was because of his rigidity on the set, that the actors felt so creatively stifled. As a result, Jarre was fired from the movie, and George P. Cosmatos was brought in to replace him.
A Sad Departure
It was not an easy decision, and many members of the cast and crew were sorry to see Jarre be fired from the movie. According to Sam Elliott, this was one of the biggest challenges in the making of "Tombstone". It mainly affected Kurt Russel, who found it very difficult without Jarre on set. Elliott added that it was actually heartbreaking as Jarre was the one with the vision.
On hearing the news, everyone involved in the making of this film pulled together to make this vision alive. They felt that they wanted to do that for Kevin and honor the script the way he imagined it. Kurt Russel, who felt particularly sad when Jarre was fired, said that he felt they had to pull it off and do it for Kevin.
A Handpicked Cast
Kevin Jarre had taken a very hands-on approach throughout his involvement in "Tombstone". Before he was fired as the director, he had been able to handpick the cast, which included the likes of the Oscar-nominated Sam Elliott.
Elliott recalls going to have lunch with Kevin Jarre at an eatery (which probably doesn’t even exist anymore) on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. It was where Kevin Jarre had held all of his meetings for the movie. Speaking of Jarre’s vision, Elliott said that he thought Kevin was the one who really controlled things creatively before they got off the ground.
The Script Was Brilliant
Every film brings a unique feeling or experience to its cast. For the majority of the stars of "Tombstone", they felt a strong connection to the project mainly because of its script. To be specific, most of them fell in love with it! For Sam Elliott, it was easy to become drawn into Tombstone’s script, because it was complete and dynamic, and was outstanding in every way he could think of. It had its own dialogue, it embodied Kevin Jarre’s brilliance as a scriptwriter, and every character from top to bottom was well depicted. Jarre also managed to bring in actors that you typically wouldn’t envision in a Western movie, like Val Kilmer.
For Sam Elliott, Val Kilmer’s performance in "Tombstone" was the masterpiece of his entire career. Val Kilmer was instantly convinced of the script after he read the line “I’m your huckleberry.” He asked Jarre about the line and where it came from and even though Jarre wasn’t able to give out an exact answer, the actor, nevertheless, loved it and became completely sold on his character because of it.