Val Kilmer Says He Didn’t Want to Do ‘Top Gun’: Here’s Why

by Josh Lanier

Val Kilmer wouldn’t have done Top Gun if he’d had a choice. He admits that the script wasn’t something he was interested in during his new documentary Val.

In Val, which he compiled from thousands of hours of home footage he shot over his life, Val Kilmer explains what turned him off from the high-flying Navy pilot film.

“Believe it or not, I didn’t want to do Top Gun at first,” he says in the documentary, according to the NY Post. “I thought the script was silly, and I disliked warmongering in films. But I was under contract with the studio, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

Kilmer was coming off the criminally under-rated spoof movie Top Secret when the studio presented him with the script. And after his first read, he realized it wasn’t for him. But he had no choice but to do the film, which ironically became the most defining of his career. And that says a lot considering he played Batman, Jim Morrison, and Doc Holliday in Tombstone.

In the movie, Val Kilmer plays Iceman — his call sign as a pilot. He is the chief antagonist to Tom Cruise’s Maverick as they compete to be the best at the Navy’s elite flight school. And being somewhat of a method actor, the anger between them didn’t stop when director Tony Scott yelled cut.

“I would purposely play up the rivalry between Tom’s character and mine off-screen as well,” Kilmer says. “And what ended up happening is the actors, in true Method fashion, split into two distinct camps. You had Maverick and Goose on one side, Slider, Hollywood, Wolfman, and me, Iceman, on the other.”

Val Kilmer will reprise the role for the upcoming sequel Top Gun: Maverick.

Val Kilmer Secretly Battled Cancer For Years

If you’ve seen Val Kilmer in recent years, the first thing you’ll notice is his voice. The suave actor who could pull off the line “I’m your Huckleberry” with ease now struggles to get every word out. That’s because cancer stole his voice.

“I was recently diagnosed with throat cancer,” the narrator says in the trailer. “I’m still recovering and it is difficult to talk and be understood.”

Kilmer admitted to having throat cancer in 2017, CNN said, though he had been sick much earlier. He continually denied it in the press at the time. But when doctors removed a portion of his voice box and replaced it with a medical device, it was impossible to hide.

Val Kilmer hasn’t worked much since his diagnosis. Mostly because of his struggles to speak. And to make ends meet he wrote a memoir. And now this documentary, which hits theaters Friday and Amazon Prime on August 6.

“I don’t look great and I’m basically selling my old self, my old career,” Kilmer said, according to the NY Post. “For many people, it’s like the lowest thing you can do — talk about your old pictures and sell photographs of when you were Batman or the Terminator.

“But it enables me to meet my fans and what ends up happening is I feel really grateful rather than humiliated because there are so many people.”