Val Kilmer has had a long and storied career in Hollywood. His credentials include several iconic roles on the big screen including Batman, Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday, and, of course, Iceman.
As Top Gun: Maverick is set to go back into the Danger Zone, Kilmer has been flooded with support — especially during his throat cancer battle — and the actor has said that it has been so special to him, having fans come out from all corners.
After the movie premiered in Cannes, the actor posted an emotional social media message, saying: “I’m overwhelmed to see the love and appreciation for Top Gun. I’m feeling very blessed.”
Kilmer, as mentioned, battled throat cancer and lost his ability to speak. He regained that ability thanks to some special technology that allowed him to act in the movie, as well as thank his fans.
I’m going to give you a quick break, in case you want to leave the story, because there are about to be some spoilers for the movie.
Okay, if you are still reading this, you do not care… so:
In Top Gun: Maverick: Iceman is reunited with Maverick, where he is in poor health, and now has to communicate mainly through a computer. The two have a brief by poignant interaction that has been met with acclaim.
Kilmer’s daughter Mercedes spoke about the moment fondly.
“It means a lot to my dad, as he’s very proud of that film. This is what he loves to do,” she said. “It was trippy, and very special, for my dad to be on set with all of his friends who made this movie when they were my age.”
Having Kilmer back in the film was important to all involved, including the star, Tom Cruise.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said that Cruise never let his commitment wain: “He said, ‘I’m not making this movie without Val’. When we filmed it, it was a very emotional day, having Val there and seeing him work with Tom after 35 years.”
The broader picture is that this may not have happened without Cher.
When Kilmer collapsed in 2015 — and was subsequently diagnosed with throat cancer — he found himself, like many others, struggling to pay medical bills. That is when Cher stepped in.
The two dated in the 1980s and remained friends. Kilmer had an incident at her pool when dealing with his disease and included in his memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, how much their continued friendship has meant to him.
He wrote, “Cher stepped in and stepped up… Once Cher works her way inside your head and heart, she never leaves.”
Top Gun: Maverick is set to open this weekend and is expected to shatter Memorial Day Weekend box office records.