Val Kilmer — the actor most noted for his roles in Top Gun and Batman Forever — has recently opened up about what it’s been like to continue working on films after he had to undergo a tracheotomy as part of a treatment for throat cancer.
In a new interview with Good Morning America (GMA), Kilmer opened up about how it felt to be back on set after his surgery and the ways he’s had to adapt his skill set.
“It’s just like any other language or dialect,” he explained. “You have to figure out a way to communicate that’s no different than any other acting challenge but it’s just a very unique set of circumstances.”
He said he felt “better than I sound” when asked about his health and seemed to be in good spirits, joking around with GMA’s T.J. Holmes.
Kilmer’s most recent role is in a movie titled Paydirt, which is an “action-packed thriller” that sees him star as a retired sheriff, per the movie’s IMDb page.
Although Paydirt is special to Kilmer — as it marks his return to the big screen after his cancer diagnosis — it’s also important to him for another reason. The movie is the feature film debut of Kilmer’s daughter, Mercedes Kilmer. She portrays his on-screen daughter as well, something that both have stated was special to them.
“I was just proud like her graduation day,” Kilmer said in response to being asked what it was like to see his daughter’s name in the credits on screen.
For her part, the 28-year-old actress said she was not only proud to be working alongside her father, she was happy to see a studio give an actor with a disability a starring role in a big budget film.
Paydirt releases later this month but was not originally supposed to be Kilmer’s first return to the big screen after his cancer diagnosis. He is reprising his character, Iceman, in the Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which was supposed to release this summer. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will now premiere in summer 2021.
Although he said his tracheotomy offered a bit of a filming challenge for him, he explained when he met with the production team, he “had a suggestion” on how his character could be portrayed.
Aside from that small tidbit of information, however, he continued to play coy, not being able to impart any further information about his role. He did offer GMA’s Holmes one small piece of information, though — his hair was not as long in Top Gun: Maverick as it was in his interview.
“Iceman has not become Ice-monk,” he joked.