If so much has been said about Tom Cruise’s return to his role as Maverick in the long-awaited sequel to top gunpremiere scheduled for next week, another actor remembered in the film is Val Kilmer, Tom Iceman Kazanski, co-star of the 1986 film.
Cruise and Kilmer will return to one of their most memorable roles after more than 35 years for this new installment, directed by Joseph Kosinski. However, it is worth remembering that Kilmer underwent emergency surgery in 2015 due to cancer and lost his voice “as he knew it”.
Kilmer’s return is also one of the main condiments behind the return of top gunone of the most remembered films of the eighties and definitive catapult for the leap to stardom of the film’s two main actors.
Hence, it is not surprising that Tom Cruise himself has been one of those responsible for Kilmer being part of this reincarnation of top gun. That Kilmer has been summoned to personify Iceman again is the responsibility of the one who is also one of the executive producers of this long-awaited sequel.
“In the first one, I really tried really hard to get him to be in the movie., because he’s a tremendous actor, and I wanted him to play that character. you see that scene Top Gun: Maverick and it is very special. It is very special. He’s beautiful,” Cruise confessed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. In turn, another of the producers, Jerry Bruckheimer, told People in 2021 that Cruise “really wanted” Kilmer in the sequel.
“He said, ‘We have to have Val. We have to have it back. We have to have him on film,’” Bruckheimer said. “And he was the driving force. We all loved him, but Tom was very convinced that if he was going to do another top gun, Val had to be in it”, expressed the producer, who also highlighted how exciting the reunion between the two protagonists was.
“It didn’t matter that the producers didn’t get in touch with me,” Kilmer said in his 2020 memoir. “As the Temptations sang in the heyday of Motown soul: ‘I’m not too proud to beg,’” he said. the interpreter of Iceman, who did not hesitate to confess that he approached the production to ask for his participation in the sequel.
Joseph Kosinski assured in TotalFilm that it has been a real pleasure to reunite these two mythical actors in action cinema. It is clear that the star of the genre is Cruise, thanks to his saga of Mission Impossible, but Kilmer is not far behind either. “That was a great big accomplishment: to have Val play Iceman again. To get to work with an actor of that caliber, to see the chemistry, the camaraderie between him and Tom, and to have those two characters come together in this film, was a really special moment and one of my favorite parts of the film.”.
According to writer Justin Marks, who co-wrote the story on which the film’s screenplay was based, the desire to cast Kilmer as Iceman in the film came from higher ups. “That was something Tom (Cruise) said from the beginning,” Marks said while speaking on the red carpet at the film’s premiere in San Diego. “He said, ‘There is no Top Gun 2 no Iceman. you gotta find a way to do it‘”.
Marks added that it took five different writers and many drafts of the script to figure out how to get Iceman into the film. “I don’t know who finally figured out how to do it better,” she explained. “The version you see on screen is a credit to the group in a really powerful way.. I was stunned seeing what they did.”
Thanks to artificial intelligence
In 2015, after a tumor was detected in his throat, Kilmer (62 years old) he had to undergo a tracheotomy and various treatments that significantly affected his voice, to the point of profoundly modifying it. “My voice, as he knew it, was taken from me. People around me struggle to understand me when I speak. But despite all that, I still feel like I’m exactly the same person,” said the actor himself last August, when the company Sonantic published a video in which Kilmer’s voice was reconstructed thanks to artificial intelligence.
“As human beings, the ability to communicate is at the core of our existence. And the effects of throat cancer have made it difficult for others to understand me. The opportunity to tell my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiarit is an incredibly special gift”, the actor is heard saying in the presentation made by Sonantic on YouTube.
The company worked with Kilmer so that “you can use your original voice both in artistic projects and in your daily life“, according to Infobae. “I am grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I never imagined possible,” Kilmer said in the same video.
The actor, who went into remission from throat cancer that caused him to lose his voice, teamed up with the company to digitally restore his voice. To that end, they created 40 different versions of the actor’s voice and a text-to-speech program that Sonantic says can capture all the tones and nuances Kilmer wants to give his voice.
“Kilmer may participate in film or television productions that require voices in off or replacement dialogs that will be created by Sonantic’s easy-to-use computer application”, said Jack Kilmer, the artist’s son, excitedly.
In a new documentary about his life, Kilmer reported that it was difficult to speak and make himself understood. But that only made the actor want to share his story “more than ever.”
The documentary, titled Valunites decades of footage captured by Kilmer, who said he was “the first guy I ever knew to have a video camera,” to tell the story of the actor’s professional triumphs and personal tribulations.