Val Kilmer looks way, way different from his ‘Top Gun’ days. Gone are those incredible good looks and since he is recovering from a tracheotomy for throat cancer, even his signature drawl has been replaced with a scratchy voice. What has not changed is that twinkle in his eye, as he reminisces about his heydays with Tom Cruise and the gang during the filming of ‘Top Gun’. Like everyone, he too is waiting for the ‘Top gun: Maverick’ sequel to release at the end of this year (if Coronavirus permits!)
Unlike Val Kilmer, for whom life at the time was all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as he himself admits in his memoir, ‘I’m Your Huckleberry’, Tom Cruise was all about being the best he could be. The moment the shot would be called, Val Kilmer says the entire cast would spread out into two groups, one led by Val Kilmer, the ‘party boys’ as he calls them, and the other was headed by Tom Cruise and his sincere focus.
Val Kilmer lived fast and loose and has little if any regrets, primarily being his loneliness. But the sincerity that Tom Cruise had, says Kilmer, has worked out for him very well. Said Kilmer, “Tom refrained from our revelry, with good reason. From day one, he was laser-focused on a singular goal: to become the greatest action hero in the history of film. His dedication was admirable. Of course, even more admirable, is the fact that he achieved his goal.”
The 60-year-old actor, known for ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and having played Batman nearly begged Tom Cruise for a chance to reprise the Iceman role again. And he plays Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, a four-star admiral heading the naval operations in ‘Top Gun: Maverick‘. But when ‘Top Gun’ was being cast, Kilmer admits he had no interest in the movie but was forced by his agent, who also happened to be Cruise’s agent, to meet director, Tony Scott. Kilmer says Scott “overwhelmed my disdain for the project with pure unadulterated positivity.”
The polarization shown between Val Kilmer’s Iceman and Tom Cruise’s Maverick in the movie was a bit real. Kilmer says the slight rift carried on, to a little part, even after the filming ended for the day. Once, to break the ice, Kilmer even played a little prank on Tom. Kilmer gifted him a very expensive bottle of champagne but placed it in the middle of the field, with scavenger hunt-like clues for Cruise to figure out. Cruise got the bottle but Kilmer says, “Tom never thanked me for that “Iceman touch”. Guess the ice was just right.”