Val Kilmer voice recreated with AI ahead of Top Gun: Maverick after Tom Cruise insisted on Iceman’s return

Kilmer’s role is currently under wraps, but he may appear as a high-ranking military official

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 31 August 2021 08:49
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A few weeks after Top Gun star Val Kilmer teased an AI recreation of his voice by British firm Sonantic, fans of his character from the Top Gun franchise can now potentially look forward to hearing more of him in the upcoming sequel, thanks to Tom Cruise.

In a recent interview, Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer said Cruise insisted that Kilmer be a part of the long-awaited sequel to the iconic 1986 aviation film.

“We all wanted him (Kilmer), but Tom was really adamant that if he’s going to make another Top Gun, Val had to be in it,” Bruckheimer told People magazine.

While the extent of Kilmer’s role is being kept under wraps, some theorise his character Lt Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky could appear as a high ranking military official in the film.

Kilmer’s 26-year-old son Jack said his father is “stoked” about his upcoming role in the sequel, that “honours Iceman’s legacy.”

Kilmer reprised the role of Iceman – the foe-turned-wingman of Cruise’s character Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchel – years after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and lost his voice after undergoing treatment.

In a new documentary about his life, Val, Kilmer said it was difficult to talk and be understood. But that only made the 61-year-old actor want to share his story “more than ever.”

The documentary, titled Val, stitches together decades of footage captured by Kilmer, who said he was “the first guy I knew to own a video camera,” to tell the story of the actor’s professional triumphs and personal tribulations.

Much of the film is narrated by his son, who, YouTube users claim, sounds a lot like his father. “I’ve tried to see the world as one piece of life,” says Kilmer in the film, in a near-unrecognisable, raspy voice.

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The Top Gun sequel, meanwhile, is currently receiving huge pre-release buzz, in part to the news of Kilmer’s voice being recreated by AI and his emotional reunion with Cruise on the sets of the movie.

“It was a long time getting there, but we did,” said Bruckheimer, commenting on the film.

Top Gun: Maverick is set to release in the US on 19 November.

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