CINEMA – The sequel to Top Gun without Iceman would not have had the same flavor. But it’s no longer a secret for a long time: Val Kilmer appears well in the second part of the film, in cinemas since this Wednesday, May 25, for a very moving scene. And his participation, despite the illness, was a sine qua non for Tom Cruise.
36 years ago, in Tony Scott’s feature film, Val Kilmer played Iceman, a young showy pilot in competition with Maverick alias Tom Cruise for the title of first in the class at the Top Gun school. In the sequel signed Joseph Kosinski, Iceman has become an admiral and it is he who boosts Maverick for his return to the training center as an instructor.
This elevator return sounds like an echo of their real life. “In the first, I really fought for him to be in the film, because Val is a great actor, I wanted him to play this character,” said Tom Cruise in the American press.
“I’m not making this movie without Val Kilmer”
This while Val Kilmer’s health conditions have deteriorated very sharply in recent years. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015, the actor notably underwent a tracheotomy which today interferes with his breathing and his voice. “I can’t talk without plugging this hole [dans sa gorge]. You have to choose between breathing or eating,” he describes in the documentary Val released in 2021 and co-produced by his children.
However, it was out of the question for Tom Cruise that Val Kilmer was not in the game. “Tom said to me: ‘I’m not making this film without Val'”, recalls producer Jerry Bruckheimer in the columns of HollywoodReporter. “When we filmed this scene, it was a very emotional day, to have Val with us and to see him working with Tom 35 years later”.
Michael Tullberg – Getty Images/Paramount Pictures
His voice recreated virtually
At 62, Val Kilmer even had the idea himself of integrating his throat cancer into the narration of the film. During the moving reunion scene, where Maverick comes to seek advice from his former teammate Iceman, Val Kimer’s character communicates in writing via a computer screen. And when he speaks for a short while, his voice has actually been recreated virtually with the help of artificial intelligence.
“You see this scene and it’s really special. It’s just really special. He is magnificent”, comments Tom Cruise. Young actor Miles Teller, who plays Nick “Goose” Bradshaw’s son in this sequel, describes him as “a sensitive scene” and “very special that hits you right in the heart”.
Val Kilmer’s daughter, Mercedes, told the New York Post that the shooting that day was “extraordinary”. “It was very important for my father because he is very proud of this film. And that’s what he likes to do. It was mind-blowing, and very special for him to be on set with all of his friends who he made the original movie with,” she recalls.
Besides, Val Kilmer didn’t come just for this scene. Miles Teller says that the one who also embodied Batman (in batman forever in 1995) was present on the set several times, like other “old timers”. “He is full of positive energy. He is full of life, seeing him on the set and being able to talk to him was great,” he told the site. Entertainment Tonight.
Sure that the fans of the first hour will not remain unmoved by discovering at the cinema this scene of poignant reunion between the two pilots.
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