However, he has said that he ‘begged’ producers to return using AI technology to help him.
Who is Val Kilmer?
American actor Val Kilmer found fame through appearances in comedy films Top Secret! and Real Genius, before starring in blockbusters Top Gun and Batman Forever.
He had high-profile previous relationships with Cindy Crawford, Angelina Jolie and Cher to name a few, before marrying English actress Joanna Whalley in 1988 who he co-starred in the movie Willow with.
The pair had two children Mercedes and Jack, before divorcing in 1996.
The 62-year-old has a net worth of $25 million from a career spanning four decades, and was blacklisted from Hollywood after being branded ‘difficult to work with’.
Kilmer released an autobiography ‘I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir’ in 2020, titled after his famous line from the 1993 movie Tombstone, speaking about his career and his cancer diagnosis.
What illness did Val Kilmer have?
In 2014, Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer, and had to undergo emergency surgery after waking up coughing blood and having difficulty breathing.
The Top Gun star had a tracheotomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation to combat the illness.
As Kilmer was having financial troubles, his ex-girlfriend Cher paid for him to have the treatment and looked after him throughout.
After being treated, the surgery has left him without a voice, and scars on his neck which he often hides with scarves.
But the actor was keen to return to the Top Gun sequel despite the barriers.
Will ‘Iceman’ return in Top Gun: Maverick, and what has Kilmer said?
Speaking to Daily Mail, Val Kilmer revealed he ‘begged’ Top Gun: Maverick producers to reprise his character by using artificial intelligence technology to voice him.
British AI company Sonantic used voice recordings from throughout Kilmer’s career to give ‘Iceman’ speech.
He said, “Tom was Maverick, but Maverick’s nemesis was Iceman. The two went together like salt and pepper.
“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.’
“After being treated, my voice as I knew it was taken away from me. People around me struggle to understand me when I am talking, but despite all that I still feel like I’m the exact same person.”
Val uses AI software to speak in his daily life similar to that used in the upcoming movie, and his son Jack was moved after hearing his Dad’s voice for the first time in years .
“I’m grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible,” Val said.
“The chance to tell my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiar, is an incredibly special gift.”