Photo by Austin Hargrave
After battling the disease for nearly two years, Val Kilmer finally acknowledged his throat cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Now, the actor has given his first on-camera interview since undergoing surgery on his trachea, discussing how his illness has changed him.
Some of the ways the diagnosis and subsequent operation have impacted Kilmer are readily apparent. The 57 year old appears to be keeping his head tilted down and his voice is a wet rasp, like he’s speaking through clenched teeth over a swollen tongue. Sitting next to his kids, Jack and Mercedes, for a video Q&A about his family’s acting legacy for The Hollywood Reporter, Kilmer has to be subtitled to clarify some of his responses. That could also go some way to explaining why Kilmer had his limited dialogue dubbed over in Tomas Alfredson’s dismal The Snowman.
The speech impairment is the result of Kilmer’s trachea surgery, something that occurred around the same time Mercedes was in a frightening car accident that put them in the same hospital simultaneously. “I was just, you know, miserable, distraught, sitting next to these two,” said Jack. Still, Kilmer said a combination of his Christian Science faith and chemotherapy have helped him overcome his disease.
Other changes are less tangible. “I was too serious,” he told THR. “I’d get upset when things like Oscars and recognition failed to come my way.” Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s stopped wishing for a few golden trophies. “I would like to have more Oscars than anybody,” he added. “Meryl Streep must feel pretty good, you know? It must feel nice to know that everyone loves her. It’s about being loved.”
See what else he had to say in the above video, in which Kilmer gives shoutouts to Brian Eno and Ingrid Bergman.