Just like their Top Gun characters, Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise had a little bit of a rivalry behind the scenes. Val, 60, opened up about what it was like to work with Tom, 57, on the 1986 action flick in his upcoming memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry.
In an excerpt obtained by Closer Weekly, the Tombstone star said he and Tom fell into different circles on set. “We were the party boys,” he explained. “Every night we’d hit the San Diego nightlife.”
However, “Tom refrained from our revelry for good reason,” Val added. “From day one, [Tom] was laser-focused on a singular goal: to become the greatest action hero in the history of film. He was up nights learning lines, he spent every waking hour perfecting his stunts. His dedication was admirable.”
Despite their rivalry, the Batman Forever actor admitted he’s always had the most respect for Tom. After all, Top Gun was one of the movies that put both of the actors on the map. Once it was released, the film made over $350 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-paid movies of the ’80s.
“Tom is a comrade I respect and admire,” Val said. “Though as creatures we hail from galaxies far, far away from one another.”
With so much success the movie had, it’s hard to believe the former stage actor wasn’t so excited about playing Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky on-screen. In fact, he said his agent had to force him to take the audition because the director was a big deal.
“I didn’t want the part,” Val explained about booking the job. “I didn’t care about the film. The story didn’t interest me. My agent, who also represented Tom Cruise, basically tortured me into at least meeting Tony Scott saying he was one of the hottest directors in town.”
“I showed up looking like a fool, or the goon,” he added. “I read the lines indifferently and yet, amazingly, I was told I had the part. I felt more deflated than inflated. I had to get out of there.”
Now, 34 years later, Tom and Val will reunite to make Top Gun: Maverick. The film is set to release in the U.S. in December 2020.