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Russell reveals Tombstone secrets

KurtRussell.jpgThere's a very interesting interview with Kurt Russell online where Russell talks about the troubled production of the great western Tombstone and how he directed much of the film through the ghost director George P. Cosmatos.

According to the interview when the screenplay writer Kevin Jarre was fired from the production Russell called Sylvester Stallone and asked him for a ghost director, Stallone offered up Cosmatos' name as this is what he had done on Rambo 2. During the shoot, each night, Russell would give Cosmatos a shot list for the following day and the deal was no arguments, just do it.

The interview comes from True West Magazine through Obsessed with Film.

"I backed the director; the director got fired, so we brought in a guy to be a ghost director. They wanted me to take over the movie. I said, “I'll do it, but I don't want to put my name on it. I don't want to be the guy...

...I said to George [Cosmatos], 'I'm going to give you a shot list every night, and that's what's going to be.' I'd go to George's room, give him the shot list for the next day, that was the deal. 'George I don't want any arguments. This is what it is. This is what the job is'...I got him from Sly Stallone—called up Sly, said I need a guy. Sly did the same thing with Rambo 2 with George. And I said to George, 'While you're alive George, I won't say a goddamn thing.'

There's also some interesting talk about how Kevin Costner was originally slated to take this film and passed it over for his Wyatt Earp story, even then he used his influence to make sure that Tombstone could only stay at Buena Vista.

Russell also mentions that Richard Gere and Willem Dafoe were mentioned as Earp and Holliday. Aren't we glad those didn't happen, although Dafoe would have been okay, Val Kilmer was superb.

What nails the interview is that Russell says he has his old notes from the filming and extra footage in his garage. He's not entirely happy with the film and on the question of a release with all that footage edited in he says he's too busy living right now, but maybe one day.

Now that's a release I could really do with seeing, couldn't you? It's a great interview and well worth reading, well done to OwF for catching the story. Now, what's the shout for a directors cut of Tombstone?



Ay. I know Hollywood is a place where the director is quite often not much more than a hired hand and the real driving force behind a film is quite often the star, but I didn't know such a thing as "ghost directing" went on. I can see the Director's Guild having a fit over this now that Kurt's opened his big mouth, and I just hope George was paid really really well for his complete lack of creative control.

I would think they had a very beneficial agreement for George, I mean would you do that job without the benefits? With an agreement like that why would the DGA have an issue?

I have heard about ghost writing or ghost singing but this is the first time for directing.



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