Sometimes we watch a movie and enjoy the onscreen action and other times, we watch actors play themselves over and over. If we like them, that’s fine and we can’t get enough of their performances. Then there are those special moments of creative brilliance, when an actor transforms into the character they play so convincingly, that we no longer see the actor. This is what Michael Biehn expertly did with Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. The movie grabbed us from the opening scene and refused to let go until the final credits rolled – pure magic.
It’s hard to appreciate the challenges that faced the actors on the set, when the movie unfolded seamlessly. Michael joking said that his biggest challenge during filming was, “Keeping my hands off the wives of the Earps.”
In truth, horseback riding was the biggest challenge. “To feel really comfortable and control them. In the opening scene with the cowboys on their horses charging, I was out in front and scared to death. Then we had to jump off the horses and do another take.”
When asked if he’d like to go back to the time of Wyatt Earp, without hesitation Michael said, “No. I lived in Lake Havasu, Arizona and it’s miserably hot like Tombstone during the summer. I like good food and the thought of no air-conditioning? I like modern time. Maybe I’d go back to that time if it were in a rural court in England. I would be high up, important and pampered, maybe royalty.” Laughed.
Michael’s current movie role has nothing to do with cowboys. It’s a movie he wrote with Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, The Victim. Warning, the trailer contains mature and explicit content intended for mature audiences only.
“It was written in three weeks and shot in 12 days. We’re going to San Francisco with it. I really wanted to do an exploitation movie and that’s what we did. One camera and we were flying. Only a few locations, small cast of characters. I wrote, directed, and starred in The Victim.”
During all the excitement of the premiere of The Victim, Michael won the Saturn Award for lifetime achievement, which he richly deserves.
Thank you Michael Biehn for sharing what went on behind the scenes of Tombstone. It is a movie that has captured the hearts of those who love a good Western. We look forward to talking with Michael again and appreciate his candor and humor. Next time we catch up with Michael, we’ll talk about his role as Chris Larabie in The Magnificent Seven. In the mean time, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He is going to have elective surgery to replace a heart valve.
Best wishes, Michael for a speedy recovery.