Val Kilmer has revealed that he begged to be part of Top Gun: Maverick, with the sequel to the 1986 smash hit set to premier at Cannes on 18 May.
Top Gun helped to launch the career of Kilmer and also thrust co-star Tom Cruise into superstardom. It told the story of LT Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell (Cruise) a United States Navy pilot who goes to train at the prestigious Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California.
From a budget of $15 million, the Tony Scott project went on to gross $357m worldwide, making it an enormous financial success.
A sequel has been in development for well over a decade, but plans were halted after the death of Top Gun director, Scott.
Joining Cruise in the sequel is Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell and Ed Harris.
One previous cast member whose inclusion in the project was in doubt was Kilmer after a cancerous tumour on his throat resulted in a procedure on his trachea that has left him no longer able to speak in the same way.
Kilmer says that, though he wasn't originally slated to appear, he convinced producers by saying you can't have Maverick without Iceman returning.
"Tom was Maverick, but Maverick's nemesis was Iceman. The two went together like salt and pepper," he said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
'It didn't matter that the producers didn't contact me. As The Temptations sang in the heyday of Motown soul, 'Ain't too proud to beg.'"
Kilmer remains unable to speak, but his voice was remarkably digitally added to his performance in Top Gun: Maverick thanks to London-based artificial intelligence firm, Sonantic.
The revolutionary new method of AI could allow for Kilmer to feature in roles going forward, particularly voice roles.
"I’m grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible," Kilmer expressed.
"As human beings, the ability to communicate is the core of our existence and the effects from throat cancer have made it difficult for others to understand me.
"The chance to tell my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiar, is an incredibly special gift."
Action / Drama
1986 • 110 minutes
Top Gun: Maverick
Action / Drama
2022 • 130 minutes