You might know actor Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone, Nick in Top Secret!, and Batman in Batman Forever. Looking at that handful of roles, it's clear Kilmer doesn't feel confined to one genre of film. In fact, he's among the most eccentric, interesting, and ultimately just plain odd actors out there. There are plenty of weird stories about Val Kilmer that show just how unique of a presence he is, both on- and off-screen.
There are a lot of things you didn't know about Val Kilmer. A glance at his biography shows he's a Christian Scientist, a Juilliard-trained actor, a cancer survivor, and a famed perfectionist. Oh, and he's the former owner of an entire herd of bison. And then there was the time he turned down Dirty Dancing, and the other time he said no to The Matrix.
What's Val Kilmer up to these days? He's still making movies and inspiring stories about his weirdness. Celebrate his eccentricities with this list of fascinating facts and tales about a true Hollywood original.
The 1996 film The Island Of Dr. Moreau was notoriously difficult to film. Starring Marlon Brando and Kilmer, the film was pretty much doomed from the get-go. The original director, Richard Stanley, wanted to bring H. G. Wells's classic tale to the screen, But Brando's daughter committed suicide, two people in the film crew were diagnosed with near-fatal ailments, and actors dropped out or refused to work. Then, three days into production, a storm destroyed one of the film's sets, further delaying everything. Stanley was fired and replaced with veteran director John Frankenheimer.
That horrible environment wasn't helped by Kilmer's behavior. He refused to come out of his trailer at times and once stopped, sat on the ground, and wouldn't stand up. Kilmer also treated the crew terribly. Reportedly, he went up to one crew member early during shooting and told him, "If it comes down to you or me... it’s gonna be me." Another time, Kilmer was rumored to have burned a crew member with his cigarette.
Frankenheimer later said, "Even if I was directing a film called The Life Of Val Kilmer, I wouldn’t have that prick in it."
Kilmer is a devout Christian Scientist, and as such he doesn't place much trust in modern medicine. When the actor was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2015, he reportedly refused treatment for a while because of his faith. He eventually had surgery, but didn't disclose his illness until it was revealed by Michael Douglas.
Kilmer credits his faith with his recovery, saying, "Many, many people have been healed by prayer throughout recorded history. And many, many people have died by whatever was modern medicine."
In May 2017, Kilmer proclaimed his love for Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett. He even went to Australia to meet her. But then he began tweeting about her, and things got weird:
Once I did a cameo just to hang w/ #cateblanchett who pickd up a shovel in our sc. I was so dazzled by HOW she picked it up I forgot my line— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) March 25, 2017
She's just as amazing in person. Some super stars aren't-Some superstars don't do a thing to ya in person-Cate is so real it's almost unreal— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) March 25, 2017
He also tweeted about her tremendous talent, but his compliments made a lot of people feel uncomfortable. As one Twitter user begged him, "Please don’t murder Cate Blanchett."
Everyone has a co-worker that probably wouldn’t immediately sing their praises, but Kilmer has more than most. In fact, he's known as "Psycho Kilmer" around Hollywood. Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher described Kilmer as "childish and impossible." The Island of Dr. Moreau director John Frankenheimer said, "There are two things I will never ever do in my whole life: I will never climb Mt. Everest, and I will never work with Val Kilmer ever again."
It's not just the directors, either. Onetime costar Marlon Brando even remarked, "[Kilmer is] confusing [his] talents with the size of [his] paycheck."