Val Kilmer came very close to turning down one of his most famous film roles in his entire Hollywood career.
The 60-year-old actor revealed in The Daily Beast‘s exclusive excerpts from his new memoir I’m Your Huckleberry that he originally didn’t want to star in the 1986 action film Top Gun.
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“I didn’t want the part. I didn’t care about the film. The story didn’t interest me,” he admitted. “My agent, who also represented Tom Cruise, basically tortured me into at least meeting Tony Scott, saying he was one of the hottest directors in town.”
Kilmer said he “showed up looking the fool, or the goon” at his audition for the role of LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.
“I wore oversize gonky Australian shorts in nausea green,” the actor recalled. “I read the lines indifferently. And yet, amazingly, I was told I had the part. I felt more deflated than inflated. I had to get out of there.”
“The moment I got into the elevator, the director ran after me and slid his arm in to block the door,” Kilmer continued. “He blurted his truth in his chipper British accent: ‘I know that the script is insufficient, but it will get better, Val. Wait until you see these jets. They take your breath away.’”
He also recollected what it was like working alongside Cruise, who portrayed LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
“From day one, he was laser-focused on a singular goal: to become the greatest action hero in the history of film,” Kilmer said of Cruise.
“He was up nights learning lines; he spent every waking hour perfecting his stunts,” he said. “His dedication was admirable. Tom is a comrade I respect and admire, though as creatures we hail from galaxies far, far away from one another.”
Cruise and Kilmer are set to reunite in the Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, where they will both reprise their respective roles from the original film. The film is set to hit theaters on December 23, 2020.
The sequel will also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Glen Powell.