Val Kilmer

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Val Kilmer (born December 31, 1959) is an American actor.

Attributed

On playing Batman

  • I've done an absurdly commercial cartoon and now I'm more likely to hired for a job I couldn't get hired for before, because I hadn't done enough movies. It's so rare when an actor gets hired because he's right for the role - it just doesn't figure into it.

On acting

  • The only time it's ever like work is when you don't like what you've done.
  • I was going to movies and watching TV, going to the theater a little bit. It was, like, 'Wow, you could make a living doing this? Great! What could be better?' There isn't anything I could choose better.
  • The trick to being a good actor is getting so involved in your character that the camera disappears, the 50 bored guys eating doughnuts disappear, friends disappear. To get to that point when you don't have to think about it, you're just acting and reacting in those circumstances.
  • Being successful doesn't change things. There's a painful, lonely part of acting because you're always waiting. The thing about being a performer is doing, and when you have to wait, it's the same pain as when you're starting out and have no job. You think that thing will go away, but it doesn't. It just shifts. I remember Robert Duvall saying that being a successful actor is all about finding interesting hobbies, because if you don't have the right hobby, you die. It's very hard to maintain interest. Most actors don't. They become a little cliched. You learn how to do tricks and stuff.
  • It's always been the same for me. I've always enjoyed acting, and I really love good actors; they're such unique characters. I wish I could tell stories well, or tell a joke. Any time someone can do that it's so satisfying. Sean Penn, for instance, is a really good actor, and he can tell a good joke or story. But it's hard to do. Most actors have special talents that make them attractive, but they're often odd characters.
  • I'm very lucky in that I haven't cultivated fame. Which, from what I've seen of my contemporaries, takes an enormous amount of time. I have a lot of respect for people that do it and they're successful at it ... Especially people that aren't such talented actors.
  • My only challenge is to entertain. And I accomplish my task better when I myself am entertained by what I am doing. I am very critical of myself, I constantly set the bar higher and higher. I try to surpass myself. That's all. But I also know how to preserve myself, to not let myself get bedazzled by the smoke and mirrors.
  • Interesting characters are troubled characters. The only problem I've had in my business is very few people - unfortunately, very vocal - confusing the difficult role that I play with me. I play these guys, but I'm not like them. I've been accused of being difficult to work with. But that's like saying the football player's out of breath 'cause when he comes off the field having caught a hundred-yard pass he shouldn't be out of breath. He's not out of shape; he just went and did his job.
  • Acting is not a science. Anybody who believes that their success exists in relation to their goals is deluding themselves; unless you think of a career in terms of financial goals. I have nothing against Tom Cruise, but he must have a large capacity to deal with the business side of movies.
  • There are only three reasons to do a movie: the cast, the director, the role. Like I say, you live in a minute of screen time, but to prepare for the minute takes much more than a day. You'd better be excited about what those moments are, even if they're the hardest moments. Or the smallest.
  • I've done a lot of jobs that were just for money or were just the best things around at the time.
  • It's the most fulfilling thing I can do and get paid for.

On other actors

When they decide they want to expand their repertoire of facial expressions, say, play a character part, or do a period piece, it's often their fate, tragically, that they fail. Few actors have learned about acting by doing successful movies. Tom Cruise has, and Tom Hanks.

On turning down Blue Velvet

  • I was given a copy of that script because at one point I was involved with Dune. It would have been my first job for damn near a year. So, Dave (Lynch) gave me the script and it was straight-out, hard-core pornography before page 30. I never finished it. I said, 'Good luck, but I can't do this.' It isn't what he ended up making. THAT movie, I WOULD have done.

On violence

  • I feel safer in Johannesburg than in L.A. Violence comes out of the blue here. I've had friends who have been carjacked, all kinds of things. Successful felons, criminals love L.A. It's so big, there's so many freeways to get on after you do your score. Because of its possibilities, L.A.'s the most sorrowful city in the world.

On show business

  • Nothing's ever guaranteed. It's all math, like, 'This guy has better numbers, so give the job to him.' If the business people think they can make money with you, it's not, like, a deep conversation that they have about you. Actors can get into a rhythm of working where the confidence [about them] is like the stock market. Someone 'feels' good, so they pay whatever, which gives other studios confidence, like 'Those guys have good taste, they hired him,' so whether he or she is any good, you can do four or five jobs like that until you're discovered. This town is filled with mystery careers -- people who aren't discovered found out, and they keep giving money to them.

On his early career

  • Doing my first movie, I realized I could get into real bad habits. If you're the star, all you have to do is show up, and 20 people say, 'Do you want anything" What is it? Let me get it for you.' Believe me, you get spoiled very quickly. I saw some of my contemporaries allow themselves to have that fame, thinking they could handle it. It messed them up.
  • When I figured out that to have money you had to work, I knew I couldn't hack a regular job. So I thought acting would be good, because basically you made your own hours, were ridiculously overpaid and got the girls. Don't laugh! That was the truth!
  • I probably complained more when I was younger. The movie industry can be frustrating but I think sometimes I could have been more helpful, approaching a film as a partnership rather than being critical of a director's ignorance. I wasn't sensitive to the fact that it's very hard to direct.
  • Big movies are fun and it's great to fly on private jets and make a lot of money and all the things that are connected with Hollywood, but they take a lot of your own life.
  • There are some directors I should have worked with. I'd like to have worked with (Robert) Altman - I turned him down a couple of times when I was younger. My thing now is if it's a good director I'll never say no - I'm just gonna say yes from now on.
  • It's probably fair to say I have taken myself too seriously on some jobs. I'm sure I'm more guilty of being difficult than I'd like to remember. I don't regret my desires; I've regretted the way I would communicate my desires. Maybe I've lost a job because of some rumor, I doubt it. But nobody good that I've worked with has ever said anything negative about me, because we've never had a negative experience. By good, I mean directors who do their homework, people that are passionate, crazy, never sleep, and do like I do and just go after it.
  • I guess I'm one of the new generation of actors who have as little to do with the machinery of Hollywood as possible. We're colonizing whole chunks of cowboy territory; I never liked LA when I was growing up there as a kid, and I don't like it now. I've got my visits to that city down to a science: I make some people get up early, other stay up late -- and I can be in and out in a day.

On his role in The Doors

  • Being called Jim made it easier for Oliver (Stone) and probably for me. In the end that approach was healthy because I don't believe you've got to go out and shoot dope to play Jim Morrison.
  • I listened to a lot of records. I smoked quite a few cigarettes and that - the smoking - stayed with me unfortunately! And I copied his voice in much the same way as I would learn an accent. With a lot of work, I got it. I found Jim's voice. Whenever people see me singing, it's really me singing. It's live. Oliver (Stone) was counting a lot on the spontaneity and the authenticity, especially in the concert scenes. Everything was prerecorded just in case but I ended up performing it all live. It is all a thing of imagination and one can have the tendency to underestimate it. Physically, I enjoyed myself a lot when I had to gain weight to incarnate Jim Morrison at the end of his life. When he is in a stupor, intoxicated by alcohol and drugs, he resembles Karl Marx. The make-up artists took Polaroids and showed them to the Doors guitarist and to Alan Ronay to get their approval. They were amazed by the resemblance and that helped me a lot.

On his character in Wonderland

  • He was basically a nerd, and he really had wonderful qualities. I've never really played a hustler before, but he was absolutely a world-class hustler. A liar lies and a thief steals from you, but a hustler gives you something that you don't mind parting with your money for. You're entertained by the meal or the sex or the impression that something is going to happen. You're given a sense of well-being, and he was good at it.
  • I think John Holmes is one of the first 20 or 50 people that fulfilled Andy Warhol's prophecy that one day everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. People who had nothing to do with pornography, or had any interest in it, knew who John Holmes was. And somehow it was famous, at least in LA, that Canoga Park was the pornography center of the planet. I still don't know why, but I knew that as a kid.

On filming Tombstone

  • Every day was such a trial. It was a unique kind of hell. All the audience knows is the end result — and that's as it should be — but the experience of making it is quite different.
  • I liked being Doc Holliday. It's fun to be insightful and aristocratic, to stand up for your friend and make sacrifices for him. It was fun to be arrogant like he was and have the goods to back it up. He was a very noble character. Although, let's not forget, he did kill a lot of people.
  • I'd be in a bad Western on a good horse any day of the week. It's such a fantastic genre of film.

On filming Willow

  • Little people are very funny. They already know that life is weird. So that part was fun. My co-star, I ended up marrying - that was fun. We went to New Zealand and we went to Wales. All the travelling was fun but wearing the pink dress wasn't fun.

On playing Batman

  • It looked like it might not work out with Michael Keaton, so they asked Joel Schumacher, 'Who do you want for Batman?' When he said me, I asked my agent, 'Why? Who did they not get?' I'd met with Joel a couple of times before about other [movies]. I didn't know anything in terms of the cast, story or anything, but I said, "Sure, sounds like fun."

On nature

  • I think spiritual perception comes from natural and healthy relationship to the land and I've had that. I get an easy, automatic sense of myself in nature, a wholeness and I feel nowhere else. I think people should live where praying is most immediate. That's why I live in New Mexico. The physical terrain, the feeling, the environment and culture improve my life just by waking up there.
  • New Mexico is my home. It has never been anything but home. The ranch has rivers and canyon, everything imaginable. I can ride, hunt and fish. At the same time, ranching is grueling, difficult work. It's like acting, to be successful at it, you have to work hard. I take it very seriously.

On poetry

  • Poetry is a very subjective and intimate expression. It's literally your heartbeat. Your rhythm. The song of your soul. It's superconcentrated. It's a dense piece of yourself.

His Juilliard audition

  • For my audition, I did a monologue from one of my plays. I couldn't find anything contemporary that they wouldn't have seen hundreds of times before. I didn't know what I was doing, but it worked.

On his family

  • It hurts. I miss my kids. I miss my kids in so many ways that I can't explain.
  • [Prior to his divorce from Joanne Whalley]: It's great. Instead of going out to parties, I go home to my family.

On his relationship with Daryl Hannah

  • I thought I was going to marry my last girlfriend, she was just so wonderful. Daryl Hannah, fantastic woman. We shared so many interests, and we really made each other laugh...she just fascinated me. But there's something fundamentally where we didn't...maybe almost like brother and sister, just so alike, that it couldn't...

External links

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