Because the cast had formed a relationship with Kevin Jarre who had handpicked each of them for their roles, the cast wasn’t fond of the new director, George Cosmatos. “He was a whole other animal,” said Sam Elliott.
“We had our moment right at the beginning… I always go to the set and stand around when I’m not working just to watch—I’d rather do that than sit around a hotel—and I remember George coming up to me with his dark glasses, looking up at me from the top of his glasses, sticking his nose right in my face. And he said, ‘Am I gonna have trouble with you?’”
An Amazing Script
"Tombstone"’s script is what enticed the creative appetites of the cast. In fact, the script is what got most of the cast to sign on to the film — even actors like Val Kilmer, who were strangers to the genre.
Val Kilmer said the line that convinced him to take on the project was “I’m your huckleberry.” After asking Jarre about where this line came from, Val Kilmer said, “He didn’t have a specific answer. But I loved it. It just seemed to be the odd, perfect statement for the scene—’You’ve met your match.’”
A Famous Cameo
Another interesting feature of Tombstone is that there is a very remarkable cameo appearance. Wyatt Earp’s fifth cousin, Wyatt Earp the Third, made an appearance in the film as Billy Claiborne.
Earp the Third is actually an actor who has regularly taken on the role of the legendary Earp and even of Doc Holliday in various film projects.
How It All Came Together
Despite the friction between the cast and new director George Cosmatos, the project came together well. During his rocky encounter with Cosmatos, Sam Elliott decided to stand his ground with the new director.
Elliott said after Cosmatos asked if they're going to have trouble working together, that he looked him back in the eye and asked the same question. The director laughed in return and the two ended up working together just fine.
Kurt Russell’s Contribution
Years after the release of the film a rather shocking statement was made by star Kurt Russell about his role in the film. Russell said that he actually had a major hand in assisting Cosmatos and that he more-or-less directed the film after Jarre’s departure.
Reportedly, he had also told Cosmatos that he would not reveal his role as “ghost director” while Cosmatos was alive out of respect for him. This was quite a bold statement, but his fellow co-stars have since supported his claim, including Val Kilmer who went so far as to say that Russell was “solely responsible” for the film.