Prince Val

Lately, it’s been reported that Val Kilmer is considering running for governor of New Mexico. Far be it from me to meddle in the internal affairs of another state, and I suppose Kilmer would be a step up from the guy on the corner shouting at the passing traffic, but hey, Land of Enchantment: I think you can do better.

I interviewed Kilmer back in 2003 for Rolling Stone. I thought he was smart, funny, kind of nuts, and not really honest about his widespread reputation for bad behavior. Unfortunately, the interview got cut in half at the last minute, which left the more lurid stuff in place but meant that readers didn’t really get the full scope of Kilmer’s personality; I always regretted that. I’m glad to finally add the uncut version to the archives–you should check it out.

Kilmer wasn’t happy with the interview, particularly the part where he explained that he carried a gun because “I live in the homicide capital of the Southwest. Eighty percent of the people in my county are drunk.” After he discovered that his New Mexico neighbors weren’t pleased by this description, he had his publicist (a new one, he had fired the previous one) call me up and ask me to release a statement that Kilmer had just been joking. I explained that while I didn’t necessarily think Kilmer had been telling the truth, that wasn’t the same thing. His representatives made some noise about being quoted inaccurately, which ended when Rolling Stone offered to release the interview tapes. (Kilmer later claimed that he had been buffooning a country hick when he answered that question; if so, it was a piece of satire so subtle as to be invisible.)

Soon after, the magazine got five letters from directors who had movies coming out later that year starring Kilmer, all attesting as to what a wonderful guy he was; clearly, he had leaned on them all. David Mamet wrote the cleverest one, finishing his testimonial “I would like to forestall possible cynics by categorically denying that my support for Kilmer contains an element of advertising for our film, Spartan, which also stars Derek Luke and William H. Macy, and which is due for an early 2004 release from Warner Bros.”

A few months later, Kilmer was a guest on The Daily Show. When that appearance was over, Stewart summed it up well: “That’s the craziest good-looking man I’ve ever met.”

To read the story, click here.

posted 23 June 2009 in Archives, Articles and tagged . 6 comments

6 Comments on Prince Val

  1. Scraps Says:

    Did you watch “Tombstone”? It’s not very good; in fact, it’s terrible the minutes Dana Delany is on. But Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday is electric; every drawl Kilmer utters, it’s as though the movie slows down, stops; he’s commanding. Especially the moments Kilmer and Michael Biehn play off each other. Ever since then I’ve been a fan.

  2. Gavin Says:

    I did watch Tombstone, and I agree: it’s one of Kilmer’s two best performances (alongside his Jim Morrison impersonation). Was Holliday actually a tubercular dandy, or was that somebody’s imagination?

  3. Gavin Says:

    Oh, the Wonderland performance ranks up there too.

    He’s also very good in Top Secret and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but those parts aren’t as memorable (although both those movies are very good).

  4. Scraps Says:

    He was definitely tubercular; I don’t know if he was also a dandy.

    I didn’t see his Jim Morrison impression. I dislike Oliver Stone; but the main thing is I knew Patricia Kennealy, and Stone swallowed whole lies about Kennealy (she said disdainfully “I never swallowed human blood. I mean, what do you say when a man believes that stuff?”).

  5. Scraps Says:

    Loved “Top Secret!” Baffled that it died.

  6. Gavin Says:

    Nico comes off worse than Kennealy.

    It’s not a good movie, but Kilmer is great in it. Also entertaining is Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek (although coming so soon after Twin Peaks, I kept expecting him to pull out a tape recorder and say “Diane, I’m undercover on Venice Beach with a bunch of beatniks and hippies….”)

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