Top Gun: Maverick: Tom Cruise got emotional reuniting with Val Kilmer

Tom Cruise recalls getting emotional reuniting with Val Kilmer on the set of Top Gun: Maverick; “He instantly became Iceman again.”

Top Gun: Maverick was one of the biggest successes of the last year, with Steven Spielberg even saying that the film “might have saved the entire theatrical industry,” but it wasn’t all big-screen action and death-defying stunts. There was plenty of emotion to be had in Top Gun: Maverick, particularly when Pete “Maverick” Mitchel (Tom Cruise) shared the screen with Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer).

Tom Cruise recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and revealed that the scene between Val Kilmer and himself in Top Gun: Maverick was just as emotional behind-the-scenes as it appeared on screen, if not more so. “I just want to say that was pretty emotional,” Cruise said. “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.

In a film filled with thrilling flight sequences, there’s something to be said for one of the most powerful scenes in the film consisting of two men standing in a room together. Val Kilmer spoke last year about reuniting with Tom Cruise on the set of Top Gun: Maverick, saying that “it was like no time had passed at all… We blew a lot of takes laughing so much. It was really fun… special.

Given Val Kilmer’s health struggles, you would understand why he didn’t appear in the movie, but Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has said that there was never any question whether Val Kilmer would return as Iceman. “That was a requirement from Tom, from Jerry [Bruckheimer], from myself,” Kosinski said. “You had to figure out a way to bring Iceman in. We met with Val. He had the idea of how to integrate Iceman in a really authentic way.” Once it came time to shoot the scene, it was obviously emotional for all involved. “[We] spent a lot of time on that scene, writing it, getting ready,” Kosinski explained. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. Chris McQuarrie put the final touches on the scene and really convinced me that that scene was going to work. And he was right. It’s a really beautiful scene. We shot it in Los Angeles in a really beautiful house up on a park. Very special to see not only Val and Tom, but Maverick and Iceman back on the screen together.

In addition to the box-office success of Top Gun: Maverick, the film was also a massive hit when it debuted on Paramount+.

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