Val Kilmer & Kurt Russell Exchanged Hilariously In-Character Gifts At The End Of Tombstone

The 1993 Western "Tombstone" had a notoriously troubled production that even led star Kurt Russell to help with directing duties, essentially co-directing with credited helmer George P. Cosmatos (the director of "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and father of "Mandy" director Panos Cosmatos). Despite the difficulties filming the story inspired by the exploits of real-life Tombstone sheriff Wyatt Earp (Russell), some of the cast managed to develop friendships, and that includes Russell and the man behind Doc Holiday, Val Kilmer. 

In an interview with GQ where he looked back at some of his most iconic roles, Russell shared a fun anecdote about gifts he and Kilmer traded at the end of filming "Tombstone" that happened to be exceptionally in-character for them both. Making "Tombstone" may have been a real pain, but at least they managed to find a silver lining (and created one of the best Westerns of all time). 

Some seriously in-character gifts

When asked what it was like working with Kilmer, Russell explained that it was absolutely terrific and then went on to share a story about the two of them sharing some great goodbye gifts:

"In those days, especially when you were working with people, you'd get them — sometimes at the end of the show, you'd get gifts or trade gifts. It's not mandatory. It's not something that you've got to do or that they've got to do. And so I asked my driver to see if he could get ahold of Val's holster and gun and hat and chair with his name on the back, take a picture, and then in that picture I wanted to have this thing. It's the end of the show and it's been a battle and we've all gotten through it very well, and I give Val this present. And he looks at me, and he turns to his driver and he says, 'Give it to me.' Because what I had gotten Val was a plot at Boot Hill. And what Val had gotten me was an acre of land overlooking Boot Hill. Doc Holiday is all about death. But Wyatt is all about life. It's in that last scene. We just looked at each other and went, 'Well, I guess that pretty much says it all.'"

The two basically managed to do the actor's version of when a couple accidentally end up proposing at the same time, and it shows just how in sync they were with their characters. As portrayed in the movie, Holiday and Earp had an incredibly deep friendship, and it sounds like some of that carried over to Kilmer and Russell as well. 

Life and death

A big part of what makes "Tombstone" so great is the dynamic between Earp and Holiday, because they really are two very different men who are nonetheless bound by strict (although slightly divergent) moral codes. They end up as men of the law in a land of lawlessness, but that's about where their similarities end. Doc Holiday is dying from tuberculosis (or "consumption," to use the vernacular of the day) and has an understandable obsession with the death that looms over him. Meanwhile Earp fights for all that is good and right in the world and looks toward a better future. He is the life to Holiday's death, and together they are truly an unstoppable force ... much like Russell and Kilmer as performers. 

Imagining the two of them exchanging their gifts and having a laugh about it is enough to put a smile on the face of any "Tombstone" fan. After all, Boot Hill is the historical cemetery in the real Tombstone, Arizona, which would mean that if Kilmer decided to use the plot, he'd be in Tombstone forever, while Russell can visit whenever he wants. I feel like the real Earp and Holiday would appreciate the sentiment.