Val Kilmer’s return to the big screen may be on hold amid the coronavirus crisis, but he remains in good spirits.
On Tuesday, the “Top Gun” star gave a rare on-camera interview to “Good Morning America” to promote his new memoir, “I’m Your Huckleberry.” Kilmer was remarkably candid about his battle with throat cancer, which has diminished the clarity of his speaking voice.
“I feel a lot better than I sound, but I feel wonderful,” the 60-year-old actor said. “I was diagnosed with throat cancer, which healed very quickly. This is a tracheotomy to help me breathe because the glands in my throat swelled up as well.”
Kilmer first went public about his cancer diagnosis in 2017, as rumors about his health circulated in the media. At the time, he told The Hollywood Reporter he’d been battling the disease since 2015.
After undergoing a tracheotomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Kilmer writes in “I’m Your Huckleberry” that he’s been cancer-free for four years.
And in his Tuesday interview, he showed fans that he hasn’t lost the charisma that made him one of the most bankable stars of the 1980s and ’90s. When asked what he missed most about his old speaking voice, he quipped, “That I had one! And that I didn’t laugh like a pirate.”
“I’m Your Huckleberry,” which was released Tuesday, finds Kilmer opening up about his acclaimed roles in films like “The Doors” and “The Saint,” as well as his romances with Cher, Cindy Crawford and Daryl Hannah. The actor ― who shares daughter Mercedes, 28, and son Jack, 24, with ex-wife Joanne Whalley ― has said his 2001 split from Hannah was “the most painful of all.”
Beyond his new memoir, Kilmer is also reprising his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the long-awaited sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun.”
Originally set for release in July, the movie is now slated to hit theaters this fall. Kilmer said Tuesday that his days on set with co-star Tom Cruise were “really moving.”
“Tom and I just laughed like we were in high school,” he said.