Val Kilmer has had a lot of ups and downs in the previous few years. He had cancer and, while he beat it — he’s been cancer-free for four years – he lost his capacity to speak and eat. (His voice has deteriorated to a rasp, and he is kept alive by a feeding tube.) His suffering is chronicled in the latest film Val, but don’t expect to see him on the big screen anytime soon. At the request of actor Tom Cruise, he will appear in the long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick.
In a new interview with People, producer Jerry Bruckheimer admits that Cruise “truly wanted” Kilmer to reprise the character of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who was the opposing student at the prestigious Navy pilot program in the 1986 original. (He presumably grew up to become a four-star admiral in the belated sequel.)
‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back,’ he continued. Bruckheimer told People, “We have to have him in the picture.” “And he was the driving force behind it all. We all wanted him, but Tom was emphatic that Val had to be in it if he was going to do another Top Gun.”
Following the ZAZ spoof Top Secret! and the MIT college comedy Real Genius, Kilmer recently confessed that he was forced to take the role. It was his big break, and he was soon seen in films like Willow, The Doors, and others. The chemistry between Kilmer’s Iceman and Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has been extensively studied. In the otherwise forgotten indie comedy Sleep With Me, Quentin Tarantino famously argued for their homoerotic credentials. In any case, it’ll be nice to see the two back in action.