So Val Kilmer showed up on Reddit last night to do an Ask Me Anything.
And I have to admit that I was expecting a bit of a car crash. Maybe a PR-focused trainwreck à la Woody Harrelson. Maybe something else. I’m not really sure why.
But, really, the whole thing turned out to be funny, personable, and informative. Shame on me.
I encourage you to check out the whole thing, but here are some highlights:
Not enough Tombstone on here! Your performance in that is one of the best in any movie, ever, imo - great work and best of luck going forward
Hello Val, I’ve been a fan since I watched Tombstone for my AP US History class. How does it feel knowing one of your films is literally studied in a classroom?
After seeing the results of Batman and Robin, do you think you dodged a bullet by not taking part?
I am a big fan of your work and have been for a long time.
When you were younger you had a reputation for being a “difficult actor”. That’s usually code for someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for things. Now that you’re older do have a perspective on that? Was it bullshit? Do you wish you had approached things differently? Or would you do it all again?
Any answer that references the Island of Dr. Moreau would be especially appreciated…
Thanks for doing this.
Of all people Oliver Stone warned me from experience of how vindictive our little community is and that “YOU better make time for them…” Them back then meant press and hanging with studio execs and casting agents and other stars and agents. I loved my life in New Mexico so took up the cause of defending myself when this folly started gaining traction a bit too late. I didn’t develop a persona like all my contemporaries. When you think of Sean Penn or Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp, you think immediately of the same character and image I do. Tom Hanks usually has an American flag behind his head for example. Johnny has a hat. These are characters they have created. Its fun and its a way to secure your part of the sandbox, but its only a slight part of who they are. These are their personas. Cultivated. Now that I’m older I do wish I had spent a bit more time here defending myself, only because it cost me some really fun roles, and a mountain of money I assumed would always be there. Just for my kids sake, it would be nice to have a couple joints around the world, to pop off to. But most importantly, all the nonprofits I’m involved with would be helped by lots of cash, like some of my friends are able to do now. But Robert Downey Jr. was at the bottom of the barrel and now he owns the HOLLYWOOD sign I think.
your comedic timing in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is fucking perfect. Can you get Shane Black to write a sequel or anything for you two to work again?
I know!!!!! I love those guys so much and we had so much fun. You can tell if you watch the behind the scenes footage. I ruin so many takes cause Downey has me howling that he actually gets upset and demands I “Keep going keep going…” And Shane is just the best. So unusual. So clever. And then RDJ went and worked with Michelle Monaghan and didn’t even tell me. I woulda gone by just to watch them together again
What was it like working with Shane black and Robert Downey jr while filming kiss kiss bang bang? P. S. Loved your cameo in the psych series finale, really funny!
Shane and Robert are two of my favorite people out of the 1000’s I’ve worked with in my lucky lucky life. They really care deeply about their craft and come to work every day with 100% of themselves. I would do anything for them, anywhere, any time.
Yes please! KKBB is my favorite movie!
Do you turn ‘Danger Zone’ up or down when it comes on the radio?
I hate you right now for making me hear it. Chayis, I will get you back. Just start humming EYE OF THE TIGER and thats my revenge…
You once wished me a happy birthday on twitter 4-5 years ago. Thanks for that
Do you ever get tired of hearing people say Doc Holliday quotes?
My best friend and I started a Val Kilmer/Self-Help Podcast called Val Pals. The plan was to watch your entire filmography in chronological order, talk about the films and give self help advice based on the film.
Life got kind of crazy (I got a new job and got married) so the podcast got put on hold after we made it to At First Sight (Which means we did episodes for your first SEVENTEEN films).
1) Should we revive the podcast and finish out your filmography?
2) Also, do you have plans to bring Citizen Twain to New Mexico?
3) Lastly, did you realize you’re shirtless in I think 14 out of your 17 first films?
1-yes 2-yes 3- of course. Why make a film if you don’t take your shirt off when your 22?
What was your experience like working on Heat?
Well imagine being able to say, “Al and Bob” for the rest of your life. Not many people can do that. I have seen Bob, giggling like a school girl in a van in the middle of the night, because we have to be quiet cause they are filming outside… I have been hugged by Al Pacino in the middle of downtown LA like he was my older brother. I have shot live rounds from high powered assault weapons over Bob’s head while rehearsing lines from our film. I got to kiss Ashley Judd. I sometimes lived at Michael Mann’s house. I am in one of the greatest cops and robbers films in film history, has to be in the top 20. I am on the poster for goodness sake. What an honor! Priceless experience. Watching ALL the actors do their thing. We all work hard but when you are with the icons, you get really squared away. Loved every minute of it.
How hard was it to film the final gunfight in Heat? At the time, it was probably the biggest, most elaborate and realistic urban action sequence, so I assume it was quite the experience under Michael Mann.
shot only on weekends. sched was for 11 days. It took 15. We were all happy as hell but Michael Mann never wanted it to end so he kept filming inserts while we sweat thru our suits in the LA HEAT…
I have loved your work for decades Mr.Kilmer. Are you Elvis in True Romance, and why were you not credited with the role?
As I recall we couldn’t use Elvis’ name cause Mrs. Presley didn’t sign off in the end so I’m called something like, Mystery Friend
Hey Val, first I’d like to say that Real Genius is a classic and was a huge part of my childhood being raised by daytime Comedy Central movies, so thank you for that. I suppose I really only have one question for a man such as yourself.
If I were to look up the word idiot in a dictionary, what would I find?
The definition of the word idiot which is what you are…
You’re the hero we need. Would you play Batman one more time if you were asked?
What is a role that you turned down that you wished you wouldn’t have?
It’s not fair to the actor that ended up with the role, as they probably don’t know they weren’t the first choice, so I have to be supportive to my fellow actors and not ever say…
Val Kilmer, you absolutely made the movie tombstone that was the most believable badass portrayal of a character. Why have I not seem you in on the big screen in so long??
been writing a film about Mark Twian and Mary Baker Eddy for 17 years… some things take time what can I say. Worth it tho. It’s my masterpiece
Is it true that the rivalry between Iceman and Maverick was not just acting, but there was real tension behind the scenes between you and Tom Cruise?
No. He was a sweet heart. We were all quite rowdy me and all the real flyboys and the actors, so I actually felt a little sorry for him cause we all had time to play and date the cute extras and zoom around San Diego in muscle cars, but Tom was always in some scene and never go to play with us…
Thanks for doing this AMA! I wanted to know, what was it like working with Marlon Brando, especially during such a storied production?
Also, what project are you currently working on that you’re most passionate about?
Brando was everything you want the major icon in your world to be, a genius and a gentleman. I was getting divorced at the time and he was so gracious about offering me time and considered thought. He offered to call my ex on behalf of the children. He was one of the funniest men on earth. I still laugh out loud about some of the things he said and did. i mean he literally wore a salad bowl over his head. Much has been said about how awful the experience was. There were several embarrassed execs who made it seem worse than it was to do because the film was so poorly received, and the replacement director was desperate for a comeback and blamed me for the films failure which doesn’t hold water when you watch it because I die in the film and the whole last half is just as bad as when I was alive so how could I have made stuff I wasn’t in not work? Doesn’t make any sense. I worked like a dog to make that film as entertaining as I could because it was such a privilege to work with the greatest. He was not really respected tho and the film suffered greatly by not taking his suggestions. He always took major chances and that true daring always makes people nervous. He would improv, which I love, but they wouldn’t film it or use what often did do. To be that great and that misunderstood. So sad… But I am so glad I did it. I begged the studio to film a documentary which I promised them was more interesting than what was happening in front of the camera, but no one ever took me up on it.
Holy God! Val Kilmer you rock!! Seriously such a big fan. I really dig everything you’ve done but Real Genius sorta changed my life. I was a kid working very hard in school and then Chris Knight shuffled along on his bunny slippers and told me the answers weren’t always the answers and I saw the light!
Question time! There were rumors that the set of Tombstone was quite tumultuous and that Kurt Russel basically directed the film. What was your experience on set?
He was responsible for the films success no question. He and I worked so hard I eventually moved in with him and slept on the sofa when Goldie wasn’t in town, so we could use the extra 20 minutes writing or going over schedule etc. I have such admiration for Kurt as he basically sacrificed lots of energy that would have gone into his role, to save the film. Everyone cared don’t get me wrong, but Kurt put his money where his mouth was, and not a lot of stars extend themselves for the cast and crew. Not like he did. And he is such a good dad and devoted to his girlfriend, and built his own home by ranch. C’non. He’s a true superstar and wildly underrated as an actor. Not many guys with his range. And I got all the best lines and he knew it and still laughed and joked every single day. Early on he said casually, “Well this is your picture…” I didn’t know what he was talking about so like a bozo I made him explain himself. He is very very articulate when he wants to be. Even I liked me when he was done complimenting my early days of filming… Tombstone=Milestone
I hear you own and love buffalo? I have loved them ever since Dances with Wolves. How many do you own and do you name them?
Alas i had to sell them in 2008 as I suffered in the crash like so many other honest Americans because of the perverse greed of Wall street.
Hey Val! I loved your voice acting in The Prince of Egypt. How do you approach voice acting compared to the usual stuff?
It’s all the same really. Some things are easier, some things are actually harder. Of course playing God is every Baldwins dream so
Do you realize that, because of you, every time I see Macy’s I start singing, “Are you lonesome…tonight…”?
as you should
What was it like to work with Tony Scott? He’s one of my favorite directors of all time.
I love him so much and cried openly for a long long time when he passed. We did 4 or 5 things together and one of the underrated directors for actors because he also had such style as a photographer. A gentle super hard working original dare devil sweet sweet man. He wore a pin his mom gave him every day for heavens sake.
Has it all been worth it?