Val Kilmer has opened up about his return to the Top Gun franchise, and reprising his role as Iceman.
The 62-year-old starred as the nemesis to Tom Cruise’s Maverick in the original blockbuster, which was released in 1986, and saw the pair battling it out over their fighter pilot skills.
He made a poignant comeback in the sequel, which has received rave reviews ahead of the release this month, and revealed that he begged for the return.
In his 2020 memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, the actor penned: ‘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.”‘
Thankfully, bosses listened to Val and cast him in the sequel, alongside Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connolly and Miles Teller.
Val Kilmer played Iceman in the original Top Gun, in 1986 (Picture: Paramount)
Iceman went up against Maverick for much of the blockbuster (Picture: Paramount)
The Batman actor also shared his devastating health battles in the pages of his book – after revealing that he had been diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2015.
He recalled the moment that he woke up one morning in a pool of his own blood that he had coughed up – after a lump in his throat made it tough to swallow.
‘I presumed this was the day of my death,’ he wrote, detailing that Cher was the one to step up and help him after he underwent an emergency tracheotomy.
Val explained that she organized a transfer to another hospital with a renowned cancer research team and opened the doors of her own home while he recovered.
‘Once Cher works her way inside your head and heart, she never leaves,’ he said.
Val also spoke of his health battles (Picture: Getty)
Tom revealed that he fought for Val to be cast in the original film (Picture: PA)
‘I was struck by throat cancer. After being treated, my voice as I knew it was taken away from me. People around me struggle to understand me when I’m talking.
‘But despite all that I still feel I’m the exact same person.’
Tom Cruise previously revealed that he was the driving force behind getting Val in the original film – as the actor famously wasn’t keen on taking part.
‘In the first one, I really rallied hard for him to be in the movie, because he’s such a tremendous actor, and [I wanted] to have him play that character,’ he explained to Entertainment Tonight.
‘I told [director] Tony [Scott], “You gotta go and tackle this guy!” I said, “Val, you gotta make this movie. You’re gonna be amazing.” That’s the kind of talent that he has.’
Thankfully, everyone was on board with Tom’s vision and Maverick’s rivalry with Iceman was born.
Speaking of his co-star’s return in Maverick, Tom added: ‘You see that scene and it’s very special. It’s just very special.’
Top Gun: Maverick is in cinemas from May 25.