Val Kilmer: Young Tom Cruise Impressed Me

Actor out with a memoir
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2020 11:05 AM CDT
Val Kilmer Didn't Want That Role in Top Gun
In this 2014 file photo, Val Kilmer poses for a portrait in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Val Kilmer is out with a memoir, I'm Your Huckleberry, the title taken from the famous line he uttered in Tombstone. And while the book touches on his throat cancer and his high-profile relationships with the likes of Cher and Cindy Crawford, per ABC News, an excerpt in the Daily Beast focuses solely on his iconic role as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky in Top Gun, opposite Tom Cruise. "I didn't want the part," he writes. "I didn't care about the film. The story didn't interest me." His agent talked him into the audition, where he read his lines "indifferently" and was surprised to be informed the part was his. "I know that the script is insufficient, but it will get better, Val," director Tony Scott told him. "Wait until you see these jets. They take your breath away." It was Scott's passion, writes Kilmer, that sold him.

Cruise impressed, too. Kilmer writes about partying in nearby San Diego with other members of the crew. "Tom refrained from our revelry, with good reason," he recalls. "From day one, he was laser-focused on a singular goal: to become the greatest action hero in the history of film. He was up nights learning lines; he spent every waking hour perfecting his stunts." All this was admirable, writes Kilmer, but even "even more admirable is the fact that he achieved his goal." He recalls a small prank he pulled on Cruise, when he left him a pricey bottle of champagne in a field, along with clues to find it. "He never did thank me for the Iceman-style bit," writes Kilmer. "I thought it would break the ice, but I guess the ice was just right." Read the full excerpt, in which Kilmer recalls going deep to find the Iceman's backstory. (More Val Kilmer stories.)

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