When it comes to eccentric Hollywood actors, there are loose cannons and then there’s the artfully weird. Val Kilmer seems to fall into the second category. Once the center of blockbuster films like “Top Gun” and “Batman Forever” Kilmer has more recently stuck to smaller indie projects, including the film “The Fourth Dimension,” which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The film is divided into three short films, with “Gummo” director Harmony Korine at the helm of the portion Kilmer stars in. He plays “Val Kilmer,” a BMX-riding motivational speaker who comes to a roller rink to preach to locals. The 52-year-old star had some reservations about playing a character who goes by his own name.
“Hector was the name that was written for him. Harmony kept suggesting and suggesting and then just [going with the idea that] it would be more interesting to play with the idea that it’s some version of me,” Kilmer says. “Part of me has that impish vibe, the jester. There were plenty of times when I was genuinely concerned, because it could backfire. That’s the nature of doing an experiment.”
Over the course of our conversation, Kilmer discusses one of his favorite lines from the play he recently wrote, directed and starred in, “Citizen Twain,” when Mark Twain revels in applause — ‘It’s like angels lickin’ me.’ He also drops in a little tid-bit about how he, Harmony Korine and illusionist David Blaine all hang out.
“It was a magical moment,” Kilmer says of Blaine introducing him to Korine. “Harmony’s really a storyteller. … David Blaine is the same. David is hard to stop. I would say he’s a better storyteller than a magician. David shuts up when Harmony starts. I’m wildly entertained by [Korine]. Sometimes he’ll tell stories about addiction or robbing — it’s just madness. His wife is just trying to will it out of reality like it didn’t really happen.”
Kilmer on Twain
Kilmer recently wrote and directed that aforementioned play “Citizen Twain” in which he stars as author Mark Twain. Kilmer says a film adaptation is in the works, he’s “just gotta find dough.” But part of getting funding is tied to landing a leading lady.
“I probably can’t get financing without Emily Blunt,” he says. “She’s got a great, youthful energy — a kind of frankness, impishness. She’s sexy and she doesn’t lead with her sex, which is often what the girls do. I think that’s more of an American problem. When you think of Charlize Theron, she’s so good but she doesn’t ever really lead with her sex, which is a nifty trick. Angelina [Jolie], I think does — often.”