Val Kilmer & what happened? With some Richard Stanley thrown in

Sunday, November 12, 2006 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

OK!! So my pal Mart & I were chatting about Val Kilmer (I had just watched Tombstone) and Doc "I'm here Huckleberry" Haliday deserved a mention. Kilmer seemed to have the world at his feet sky rocketing career, buckets of talent and the golden touch. What went wrong you may ask yourself?

He brought some great characters to life:

Nick “my father thought of it while shaving” Rivers - Top Secret (I was 14)
The Iceman - Top Gun (I was 16)
Madmartigan - Willow (OK I wasn’t a big fan of this one, but worth a mention)
Jim Morrison - The Doors (as a period piece, pretty good)
Doc Holliday - Tombstone (awesome)
Chris Shiherlis - Heat (acting for a change)
Entourage - The Sherpa (Episode 05, Season 01)

Yea I think that's it. Pretty much everything else he did was crap &
got exponentially worse. 3 unsubstantiated stories I can repeat - to add to the "Kilmer is difficult and brings it on himself" are:

I should mention that these stories are hearsay & never been proven in a court of law.

1. Circa 1980 - Apparently Kilmer & Kevin Spacey were amigos before either made it big. Val is set to go to Juilliard and become an ACKTor. He convinces the penniless Spacey to do the same. So spacey borrows the tuition fees from Kilmer's father. Spacey never repays the loan. This causes a rift between the 2 friends that continues to this day.

Side note: Up until 2002 Kilmer was the youngest student ever accepted into Juilliard's Drama department.

2. Circa 1986 - Val is up for a career making role as Kyle Reese the hero in an edgy sci-fi film called the Terminator. For some reason Arnult nixes the idea and squashes Val's chances. Ironically Arnult was the first choice for Kyle Reese, but when Cameron meets him, he decides he is more Terminator material.

The role eventually goes to Michael Biehn who does a great job anyway. Ironically Kilmer's Doc Holliday faced off against Biehn’s Johnny Ringo in Tombstone

This comes back to haunt Arnult years later when he is put forward
for the role of Mr. Freeze in "Batman 93 - Mo bat crap". Naturally being an ego less artist Val kicks up a fuss. The ensuing conversation
must have gone something like this:

Val: "I don't think so. Listen Mr Producer only one of us is going to
be in this film. So it's either Arnult or me. Need I remind I am the
greatest actor of my generation and you'll remember me from such films
as Afterschool Special: One Too Many, Spartan, Red Planet, Batman Forever and Alexander."

Producer:"PA get me Clooney on the phone & Val Don't slam the door too hard on your way out.

3. Circa 1995 - Kilmer career is bottoming out but gets the chance to act in a contemporary version of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" with Marlon Brando. By now Kilmer is a few roles away from Van Damme/Lundgren/Rourke status. However the producers clearly happy to have Kilmer on board and buckle to his ongoing demands including swapping from the lead hero to the Doctors sidekick.

Richard Stanley the skilled but relatively unknown director is continually at odds with Kilmer. After making a couple of low budget sci-fi/horror films including; "Hardware aka M.A.R.K. 13 & "Dust Devil". The underrated South African gets:
- a break that could make him
- gets a decent budget to play with
- gets to direct a classic story
- gets to work with Marlon Brando
- gets to work with Val Kilmer

However ongoing clashes between Kilmer & Stanley continue. Eventually Kilmer gets Stanley replaced by Frankenheimer. Putting Stanley’s career on hold again. Ironically by the end of filming Frankenheimer vows never to work with Kilmer again.

In a bizarre move Stanley hides out on the island set, gets disguised as one of the "mutated" extras and continues to be part of the film. Seriously who can blame the guy for not letting go of his dream?

Yea!! I'm rooting for the guy he's talented and will eventually break Hollywood. Just watch "Hardware aka M.A.R.K. 13" his first big effort. The screenplay was written by Kevin O'Neill (comic legend).

Although a low budget, the film exudes imagination, skill & talent. C'mon Iggy Pop as the DJ voice of Angry Bob. The destined for eventual greatness Dylan McDermott is the protagonist in this tale of a dystopian future.

Richard Stanley is coming back to Montreal. Last year he presented Dust Devil, this year he brings us his director's cut of the 1990 film Hardware, one of the few good cyberpunk films. A hallucinatory, drug-fuelled blend of Terminator, Mad Max and Blade Runner (with a cameo by Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmeister!), Hardware suffered at the hands of those shadowy studio types who always manage to fuck things up for creative and ground-breaking filmmakers. - montrealmirror

OK so on balance Kilmer's ego seems to be writing cheques his talent can't cash.