Val Kilmer Gives Health Update After Tracheotomy, Throat Cancer Treatment

Batman Forever star Val Kilmer is giving an update on his health after undergoing a tracheotomy as part of his overall treatment for throat cancer. The actor, who reprises his role as LT Tom "Iceman" Kazanski in the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick currently set for release in 2021 and is currently promoting the film Paydirt which also stars his daughter Mercedes Kilmer, told USA Today that his health is "excellent".

"I feel great, and my health is excellent," Kilmer said.

In 2015, Kilmer was hospitalized for tests for a "possible" tumor and while Kilmer denied rumors that he had been diagnosed with cancer, in April 2017 the actor revealed that he was "healing" from cancer and later revealed that he had undergone a tracheotomy in his memoir, I'm Your Huckleberry. Kilmer also told Good Morning America (via Yahoo!) that he feels better than he sounds, opening up that acting after the changes in his voice was like learning a new language.

"It's just like any other language or dialect," Kilmer said. "You have to figure out a way to communicate that's no different than any other acting challenge but it's just a very unique set of circumstances."

One of those challenges included Kilmer's dialogue being dubbed in voiceover in Paydirt. In the film, Kilmer plays grizzled Sheriff Tucker who is obsessed with locking up a character described as "his drug-dealing nemesis" and while the actor wears scarves and jackets to cover his scars, the film also uses visual effects to remove them as well. His daughter, who plays Sheriff Tucker's district attorney daughter in Paydirt, said that working with her father on the film opened her eyes regarding working with actors with speech disabilities.

"It made me acutely aware of how much I've lost in not having had a training that integrated actors with disabilities and how much there is for everyone to gain," she said. "It's so exciting to see, like maybe for the first time, a lead actor with a speech disability and to see how skillfully and creatively everyone was able to accommodate that."

But, even with the adjustments and accommodations, Kilmer says that he's looking forward to working for a long time to come.

"I sound like I've been run over by a cement mixer," Kilmer told Entertainment Tonight. "But I feel fabulous. Some days are better than others, but I am very much improving, so, yeah, I'm going to work till I'm 150 years. I wanna play the oldest man on Earth."

Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled for release on July 2, 2021.

What do you think of Kilmer's health update? Let us know in the comments.


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