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Trivia / Tombstone

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  • All-Star Cast: Let's see...Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliott, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Dana Delany, Stephen Lang, Michael Rooker, Billy Bob Thornton and many more. There's even one special appearance during Doc's introduction. The actor? You guessed it: Frank Stallone!
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Longtime veteran western actor Glenn Ford had originally signed on as Marshall White; however, poor health forced him to withdraw. The role went to Harry Carey, Jr., who was originally cast as a wagonmaster.
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    • Robert Mitchum was originally cast as Old Man Clanton, but the part was dropped from the script after he was injured falling off his horse. He did narrate the film.
  • The Cast Showoff: Val Kilmer is skilled at fingerwalking (the art of rolling something over and through his fingers), which he famously does with a poker chip in his first scene.
    • Michael Biehn gets to do some particularly spectacular Gun Twirling in the bar scene opposite Kilmer.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Dana Delany as Josephine Marcus. Delany was 36 when she played the role of a 20-year-old actress working the towns of the Wild West.
    • Virgil Earp was 38 at the time of the events. Sam Elliott was 49.
  • Deleted Scene: Many scenes/subplots cut from the film still did not make the expanded DVD version: one sequence was the Cowboys' bonfire rally/mourning scene, which takes place the night they buried the OK Corral dead.
  • Dueling Movies: Duelled with Wyatt Earp (1994) with Kevin Costner. Where Costner's film was an epic (over 3 hours!) focused on Wyatt's life, Tombstone was an ensemble film centering mostly on the events in Tombstone and the immediate aftermath. While neither film was a hit upon its release, Tombstone earned $56 million at the box office against a $25 million budget, meaning that it likely made a modest profit after all expenses. It has also been Vindicated by Cable and become something of a classic western. Wyatt Earp, on the other hand, was a big flop, earning only $26 million against a budget of $65 million and quickly getting forgotten.
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  • Dyeing for Your Art: Val Kilmer got the emaciated and sickly look of Doc Holliday by eating almost nothing but onions and tomatoes for weeks before filming started.
  • Enforced Method Acting: According to George Cosmatos on the DVD commentary, Stephen Lang was drunk when most of his scenes were filmed.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Billy Bob Thornton's lines were ad-libbed, as he was told only to "be a bully".
  • Missing Trailer Scene: A love scene between Wyatt and Josephine was cut, because George P. Cosmatos did not want to consume the love story so fast. Part of the scene can be seen in the movie trailer. The scene was after they fortuitously ran into each other riding horses.
  • Real-Life Relative: Wyatt Earp's fifth cousin, Wyatt Earp, plays Billy Claiborne.
  • Throw It In!:
    • It was Val Kilmer’s idea to whistle on the way to the O.K. Corral.
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    • Doc Holiday's wink to Billy Clanton just before the culmination of the O.K. Corral gun fight was completely improvised by Kilmer
  • Troubled Production: From the start, Kevin Costner was placing pressure on studios not to finance the picture (Tombstone and Wyatt Earp were two halves of the same project that more or less split off due to Creative Differences between Costner and writer Kevin Jarre), with Buena Vista (Disney) stepping up at the last minute. Disney refused to have anything to do with the original choice for Holliday, Willem Dafoe, due to the controversy still surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ. Jarre was originally set to direct, but was fired due to his refusal to cut the screenplay (both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer have stated the original shooting script was about 30 pages too long). Disney hired George P. Cosmatos to finish the film; Kurt Russell (who had significant pull behind the scenes with both cast and crew) has in recent years made the claim that he directed the picture with Cosmatos as a front (he was the same guy who did Rambo: First Blood Part II, so he was at the very least agreeable to actor input), although Michael Biehn has denied Russell's claims, and at least some of Jarre's directorial work is still in the film. As a cherry on top of all of this, the actor playing Old Man Clanton, Robert Mitchum, was injured in a horse-riding accident, which led to the part being cut entirely (although Mitchum was able to do the beginning and ending narrations) and much of his dialogue given to Curly Bill.
  • Wag the Director: In an interview with True West magazine in October 2006, Kurt Russell admits that after original director Kevin Jarre was fired, he directed a majority of the picture. According to Russell, credited director George P. Cosmatos served merely to make things run smoothly. Michael Biehn denies this, however. In 2017 Kilmer stated that at the very least Russell poured in a massive amount of behind-the-scenes effort to keep the film on track after Jarre was fired, even going so far as to reduce his on-screen presence in order to focus on behind-the-scenes issues.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Richard Gere was originally cast as Wyatt Earp with Willem Dafoe as Doc Holiday. Buena Vista refused to distribute the film if he was cast, due to Dafoe's role in The Last Temptation of Christ.
    • Mickey Rourke turned down the role of Johnny Ringo.
    • Jerry Goldsmith was originally attached to score this film but unfortunately had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.
    • In an interview in the late 1990s, John Carpenter claimed he almost directed this film.
    • Kevin Jarre's original script was significantly longer than the final film. It was intended to be an epic, detailing the lives of all the combatant parties in the story.

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