Val Kilmer is an amazing talent. The stories of his early days are legendary. He was the youngest actor to ever get into Juilliard acting program. He was offered lots of film roles while he was there, and did stage work before hitting the big screen.
It’s hard to pick your favorite role of his, because so many were great. Here in San Diego, most locals would pick his Ice Man character in “Top Gun” since it was filmed here.
I just recently saw “Tombstone” for the first time. He was good in that.
“Heat” was known for being the first movie that had Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a scene together. Well, Kilmer wasn’t chopped liver in that.
I always thought his movie that Ron Howard directed, “Willow”, was underrated.
I saw his turn as Batman, but honestly, don’t remember it. I barely remember when Clooney played the caped crusader, either.
He’s the only guy to play two musical superstars -- Jim Morrison and Elvis (in the first Tarantino script, the underrated “True Romance”).
The first time I saw Kilmer in person was at Comic Con over 10 years ago. He was selling autographs for $25 each. There was a huge line, and I didn’t feel like paying. Especially since my favorite band -- The Doors -- well, it wasn’t my favorite movie. It was rather disappointing. Yet it wasn’t nearly as disappointing as the experience I had with Mr. Kilmer tonight.
He was screening the film of a stage play he did called “Citizen Twain”. You could get tickets to see that, or VIP tickets (which included drinks and desserts), or the meet-and-greet package, which was $100.
I couldn’t find The Doors DVD I had, I think because I gave the movie away. So we stopped first at a video store to buy Top Gun. I noticed his movie “The Saint,” and we got that, too. I figured, my wife and I could each get one signed.
When Kilmer walked into the event, everyone was snapping photos. It wasn’t too out of hand, though. He stopped to bend down and take a photo with a guy in a wheelchair, and it looked like he autographed something for him. I didn’t want to be pushy, and having a “meet-and-greet” ticket, I didn’t feel it was necessary to rush him.
Yet after he took a few photos with some people and some products, I found myself right near him. I pulled out the Saint DVD and asked him to sign it. He pointed to the elevator, which had just opened up. He didn’t sign, and went upstairs to the movie.
People were saying he wasn’t talking because of his recent surgery due to throat cancer. He was also wearing a scarf/bandana around his throat. That made me wonder how he completed his scenes for Top Gun 2 recently. It also made me wonder how he would do the Q&A he was supposed to do with the always entertaining and immensely talented Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood.
Well, we sat through this Citizen Twain, which was torture. He tried to make Mark Twain more of a stand-up comedian, and with a more modern touch. It was an hour and a half, but felt like three. It had a few funny scenes, but it just lacked coherence. Also, the fact that so much of this is spent “apologizing” to Mary Baker Eddy, only made sense to me because before the event, someone was talking about Kilmer being a Christian Scientist (she’s the founder of that religion). It would’ve been a bit more interesting if he delved into other aspects of Twain. For instance, he was friends with P.T. Barnum.
Anyway, the crowd was excited to see the Q&A and perhaps ask Kilmer a question. Well, he couldn’t talk. Yet it was never told to the crowd why he couldn’t talk. I remembered a few years ago seeing videos of his speech sounding belabored. So, Mantz did his best asking questions, and Kilmer would just smile and nod his head, and his assistant would answer for him. Sometimes that meant reading what Kilmer typed, but usually it was just his guess on what Kilmer would’ve said. It was easily the weirdest Q&A anybody has probably ever seen. One person sitting behind me said, “It’s like they’re dealing with a person that has special needs. This is so bizarre.”
But hey -- we were going to go to the meet-and-greet with Kilmer, and get autographs and take photos.
The desserts were being set out, but my wife and I went to where the line was forming. We were told that no flash photography was allowed, and there was a woman there that would take the photo with your cell phone.
After waiting 15 minutes, he came over and sat down. It’s always a weird photo when a person is sitting and you have to bend over. Those are the worst at book signings, when people try to lean over the table, too.
My wife told me, “I’ll go first. He’s more likely to sign an autograph for a woman.”
She approached him and said, “I’ve studied Mary Baker Eddy” and he immediately put his arms out to hug her. She then said a few other things to him, and asked if he’d sign the Saint DVD. He said no. They took their photo, and I was up next. I pointed to the Doors shirt I was wearing and said, “You did a good job playing Morrison, but the movie I loved was ‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’ [Robert Downey, Jr.]. He smiled. We took the photo and I said, “Can you sign my Top Gun DVD?”
He nodded his head no, so...I walked away so the next person in line could get a photo with him.
Seriously, how money-grubbing is Kilmer? He’s here promoting his movie, he can’t talk to anyone, but arranged to do a $100 “meet-and-greet.” Well, if he can’t have a conversation with anyone, the least he could do is sign some autographs. And if somebody showed up with a bunch of 8x10’s, he could limit them to just one signed photo. But ya know one of the reasons he probably did this? Well, he had a table set up with 8x10s from all his movies, that were autographed. For the whopping price of $80 each. Or, you could buy one of his crappy stencilled pieces of art for a lot more. There were also replica hats from Tombstone that were signed. Those would set you back $895.
So, you go to a meet-and-greet that people paid $100 each for, and another $30 for the movie ticket, VIP area -- and you get a picture with Val Kilmer, who can’t talk and looks horrible. It was a disaster.
If any of you have the chance to see his film Citizen Twain, save yourself some time, and avoid it. You’re better off reading one of Twain’s books.