He was the only actor to turn down a return visit to Gotham City. (He hated the costume.) It doesn’t get much cooler than that. For the purpose of Ting Poo and Leo Scott’s biodoc, being the youngest drama student accepted to Juilliard takes a back seat to being the first guy on the block with a camcorder. No matter how tough times got, Val Kilmer managed to hold onto his storage locker-cum-personal archive. When a role arose that caught Kilmer’s attention (Pvt. Joker. in Full Metal Jacket, Henry Hill in Goodfellas) he would send directors homemade audition tapes, several of which are on display. Footage of buddy Brando in a hammock and John Frankenheimer on the defensive make for a much better time than The Island of Dr. Moreau. In 2017, Kilmer lost the ability to talk while on the road with Citizen Twain; throat cancer radiation treatment left his voice impaired. He speaks by pressing a voice box positioned near his Adam’s apple. Moments of heartbreak are stopped short by Kilmer’s unwillingness to seek pity, but nothing cuts to the quick like watching Kilmer make an appearance in San Diego. Of his time spent signing photographs at Comic-Con Kilmer says, “To some, it’s as low as an actor can get, living off their past characters.” (2021) — Scott Marks
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