Val Kilmer Recalls When He Pranked Tom Cruise on Top Gun with Expensive Champagne to 'Break the Ice'
Val Kilmer wanted to get closer with Tom Cruise with a "small prank" on set
Kilmer, 60, writes about his time making the hit 1986 film in his new memoir I’m Your Huckleberry, exclusively excerpted in The Daily Beast, including the time he pranked a young Cruise. The joke came as Cruise, now 57, reportedly wouldn’t spend much time with Kilmer and the “party boys” of the set.
“Tom refrained from our revelry, with good reason,” Kilmer writes, according to the outlet. “From day one, he 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. Of course even more admirable is the fact that he achieved his goal…Tom is a comrade I respect and admire, though as creatures we hail from galaxies far, far away from one another.”
Still, Kilmer said his “favorite moment” with Cruise involved a “small prank.”
“I gave him an extremely expensive bottle of champagne but placed it in the middle of a giant field and made him follow scavenger-hunt-style clues to find it,” he shares. “I hid behind a bleacher and watched him lug the giant crate to his motorcycle. He never did thank me for the Iceman-style bit. I thought it would break the ice, but I guess the ice was just right.”
WATCH: Tom Cruise Surprises Fans at Comic-Con and Debuts the First Trailer for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
Kilmer also revealed that he originally did not want to star in the hit movie.
“I didn’t want the part. I didn’t care about the film. The story didn’t interest me,” Kilmer admitted. “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.”
Kilmer said he “showed up looking the fool, or the goon” at his audition for the role of LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.
“I wore oversize gonky Australian shorts in nausea green,” he recalled. “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.”
“The moment I got into the elevator, the director ran after me and slid his arm in to block the door,” Kilmer said. “He blurted his truth in his chipper British accent: ‘I know that the script is insufficient, but it will get better, Val. Wait until you see these jets. They take your breath away.’ ”
The sequel film also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Glen Powell.