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‘Tombstone’: Val Kilmer Says Kurt Russell Is ‘Solely Responsible’ for the Film’s Success, Implying He All but Directed It

The film's initial director was replaced a month into production.

Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer in Tombstone

Not unlike “Poltergeist,” 1993’s “Tombstone” has long provoked discussion about who truly deserves to be credited as director. Kevin Jarre, who wrote the screenplay to the classic Western, was initially set to pull double duty; he was replaced by George Cosmatos after falling behind schedule.

According to Val Kilmer — who, if you haven’t seen the movie, is your huckleberry — it’s star Kurt Russell who most helped bring “Tombstone” into the world.

“Kurt is solely responsible for Tombstone’s success, no question,” wrote Kilmer on his blog yesterday; the unequivocal statement was in response to a question about Russell’s behind-the-scenes role. “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.” Russell has no directing credits to his name, but he did write the story to the woefully underrated “Escape From LA.”

Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, and Powers Boothe co-star in “Tombstone,” which was narrated by Robert Mitchum. According to Kilmer, Russell did as much — if not more — behind the camera as he did in front of it.

“I have such admiration for Kurt as he basically sacrificed lots of energy that would have gone into his role, to save the film,” he continued. “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.” Read his full comments here.

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