Director Cosmatos divulged the fact that Stephen Lang occasionally had a little too much to drink during the filming of “Tombstone”. In the book “The Making of Tombstone” the author recalls such a moment. Actor Charles Schneider, who played Professor Gillman, told the story. He said Lang was still in costume and appeared to be yet in character, though his shoot was wrapped up.
“So there he was looking like he was red-faced, slightly out of his mind and he was acting like he was a fancy man directing an orchestra.” Schneider detailed Lang’s off-script “conductor performance,” which, he said, was perfectly suited for his crazy character, exactly what Ike Clanton might do. Schneider sums up the story, “Wow, I’m watching Stephen Lang being that guy totally at the moment having fun.”
Tombstone Might Have Been Directed by John Carpenter
Director John Carpenter revealed in an interview in the late-1990s that he had an interest in directing the movie. Carpenter has often noted his affinity to Westerns and his hope to make one. During the interview, he says that he almost directed "Tombstone".
It’s not surprising that the collaboration was a possibility. Carpenter’s friendship with Kurt Russell goes back a long time. Since Russell starred in the film, it’s easy to imagine Carpenter manning the director’s seat.
Finding a Composer for Tombstone
Originally, the musical score for the film went to Jerry Goldsmith. He’s an Academy Award-winning composer who won an Oscar for his work in "The Omen" in 1976. He was actually contracted for the job and working on it, but the arrangement fell apart. Because of a scheduling conflict, Goldsmith had to turn down the "Tombstone" music score.
He recommended composer Bruce Broughton to score the film. It was such a last-minute deal that Goldsmith’s name still appears in the credits. Broughton, who admitted it was a rushed composition, noted that he had less than four weeks to finish it.
Kilmer’s Impromptu Whistle
The classic gunfight scene at the O.K. Corral is the climax of the movie, but it lasts only about five minutes. The actual shootout with guns-a-blazing detonated in only 30 seconds.
The historical event is known as the most famous gunfight in American Wild West history. When "Tombstone" portrays it, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, and Doc Holiday are pictured strutting into town. Val Kilmer, playing Doc Holiday, decided to start whistling in the middle of the filming of the dramatic scene. Just when the tension was so thick you could slice it with a knife, Kilmer broke into a whistle. The director liked it, and Kilmer’s eerie whistling improvisation made it into the film.
Wanted for Cattle Rustling
There is no doubt that Ike Clanton was a wild gun-toting outlaw capable of doing the worst. While it may seem likely that he was killed while he was robbing a bank (as we learn in the film’s narration), in reality, he ended his life trying to get away with a different crime. Detective Jonas Brighton who was on Clanton’s trial tried to arrest him for cattle-rustling.
So, as Clanton tried to escape arrest for stealing cows, he was shot and killed. One thing’s true about the narrator’s summary, Ike Clanton lived on the other side of the law and was killed for doing so.