Val Kilmer Almost Didn’t Play His Career-Defining Role Iceman in Top Gun

Top Gun

In the 1980s, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy, Tom Cruise, Michael J Fox, Jane Fonda and Harrison Ford were some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

While they had just started their illustrious careers, the ’80s also saw the rise of Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer.

But for Kilmer, who played Batman in 1995’s Batman Forever, his successful career almost might not have been, after almost turning down one of his most famous roles — Iceman in the 1986 flick, Top Gun.

In his new memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir, the 60-year-old revealed that he first resisted the audition.

“I didn’t want the part. I didn’t care about the film. The story didn’t interest me,” he wrote.

“My agent, who also represented Tom Cruise, basically tortured me into at least meeting [with] Tony Scott (director of Top Gun), saying … he was completely obsessed with me.”

Can you imagine anyone else playing Maverick’s (Cruise) competitor Tom “Iceman” Kazansky?

And when it came to his character, whose personality was, well, ice-cold, Kilmer became “obsessed” with trying to figure out why.

Kilmer detailed a hallucination he had of a conversation with Iceman’s father, who was chewing ice cubes at the time — a characteristic which he gave to the character.

When he asked the imaginary character what he wanted, the reply confused him but defined the character that gave him his big break — to stay on your “journey for the clergy”.

Of course, the film would propel his career forward at lightning speed and the actor would go on to star in Willow (1988), Billy the Kid (1989), The Prince of Egypt (1998) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).

Top Gun
Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Paramount Pictures.

Another career-defining moment was Kilmer’s portrayal as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors.

“I spoke 24/7 in his laconic, ironic, super slow delivery,” he wrote in the memoir, before admitting he was quite the brat.

“Hey man, all I am saying is that this song is the dumbest, worst piece of filth I ever wrote and I don’t want to sing it now or ever.”

Kilmer is starring alongside Cruise once again in Top Gun: Maverick, which he hopes will save his “troubled career”.

Top Gun Maverick hits cinemas on December 24 2020.

WATCH: The Official Trailer for Paramount Picture’s Top Gun: Maverick.

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