When Top Gun 2 was announced Val Kilmer was begging Tom Cruise to be involved, lobbying hard to reprise his character. The original film’s Iceman star had undergone surgery for throat cancer in 2014, losing his ability to speak. Yet wonderfully a cameo scene was written into Top Gun Maverick that could still incorporate the character despite the actor’s disability.
In Top Gun Maverick, Cruise’s title character visits Iceman, who is now Adminal Tom Kazansky and living with terminal throat cancer. The pair share a touching reunion scene in which Kilmer’s character communicates via a computer.
After the film’s premiere, the former Batman said: “I’m overwhelmed to see the love and appreciation for Top Gun. I’m feeling very blessed.” And now Cruise has shared that the tears he had in that scene were in fact genuine.
Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel, Cruise said: “I just want to say that was pretty emotional. I’ve known Val for decades. And for him to come back and play that character… he’s such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again. You’re looking at Iceman.
“I was crying. I got emotional. He’s such a brilliant actor, and I love his work… There’s some hard tears.”
Before Tom Gun Maverick went into production, Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed Cruise’s commitment to having Kilmer involved.
READ MORE: Tom Cruise: Top Gun 2 surprise original film cameos and shock death
The producer said: “He said, ‘I’m not making this movie without Val’. When we filmed it, it was a very emotional day, having Val there and seeing him work with Tom after 35 years.”
At the London royal premiere, Cruise said: “He’s an actor that I greatly admire, so it was wonderful.”
Top Gun: Maverick is nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture after making over $1.4 billion worldwide.