In one of his most memorable roles, Val Kilmer played gunslinger Doc Holliday alongside Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp in the 1993 film Tombstone.
Now, Kilmer is returning to the Western genre to take on the Earp role himself in the indie film The First Ride of Wyatt Earp.
According to Variety, the film "finds an elderly Earp sitting down with a reporter to reflect on the ride that made him a legend, when the young marshal rounded up a posse to track down the outlaw who mistakenly murdered the woman he loved." It isn't clear in the Variety article, but one would assume that Kilmer will play the older Earp.
The movie was written by Darren Benjamin Shepherd and will be directed by Mike Feifer. Feifer's previous work consists mostly of direct-to-DVD movies, including an inordinate number of films about real-life serial killers. Rounding out the cast for The First Ride of Wyatt Earp is Glory Daze actor Daniel Booko, country music singer and actor Trace Adkins, and American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo, among others.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. A direct-to-DVD director is making a movie with a cast that includes an American Idol contestant. On paper, that doesn't sound too great. But let's focus on the positive. It's Val Kilmer playing a cowboy again! (Sort of.)
I'll admit that Kilmer's star power had declined from its peak in the 1980s and 1990s, as evidenced by his many appearances in direct-to-DVD features, but the guy is still a talented actor when given the right role. For instance, Kilmer's role in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr. was hilarious, and a great example of the actor's skills.
Clearly we shouldn't expect another True Grit, but I say we give Feifer and his team the benefit of the doubt and just enjoy the prospect of Val Kilmer returning to the Western genre that served as a high point in his career. Yeehaw!