Val Kilmer — whose maverick career has included a varied range of roles, from Batman to rock icon Jim Morrison — is the focus of a new, intimate documentary produced by A24 and acquired by Amazon Studios in the U.S. and Latin America.
Directed by Leo Scott and Ting Poo, Val relies on numerous interviews with Kilmer, as well as footage supplied by the actor and artist himself.
“At least once a day for years I looked around and got this bittersweet feeling that there are a thousand reasons that this project could’ve been shipwrecked,” Kilmer said told THR in a statement. “I mean, what could a film look like of a man filming himself, sometimes daily, years at a time? It is unimaginable that this movie actually could’ve ever come to light without the partnership of my dear friends, Leo and Ting, and my producing partners.”
There are whispers that Val could make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this summer. The festival’s lineup will be announced next week.
Kilmer is one of Hollywood’s most mercurial actors. After beginning his career on stage, he transformed into a screen god in the ‘80s and ‘90s with such films as Top Gun, The Doors and Batman Forever. Other memorable roles include Tombstone.
In more recent years, a battle with throat cancer took its toll, and a procedure on his trachea has reduced his voice to a rasp. (Kilmer, who is a Christian Scientist, addressed his health ordeal in his 2020 book, I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir.)
Amazon Studios will release Val this year in the U.S. and Latin America. A24 controls all remaining worldwide rights.
Kilmer will also be making headlines this fall for the reprisal of his role as Iceman opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, which Paramount debuts in the U.S. on Nov. 19.
Over the past four decades, Kilmer has been documenting his own life and craft through film and video, amassing thousands of hours of footage, from 16mm home movies made with his brothers, to time spent on movies such as Top Gun, The Doors, Tombstone and Batman Forever.
The preliminary logline for Val: “This raw, wildly original and unflinching documentary reveals a life lived to extremes and a heart-filled, sometimes hilarious look at what it means to be an artist and a complex man.” Val is the first title in a slate of documentaries and doc series being fully produced by A24 under the guidance of nonfiction guru Ben Cotner, formerly with Netflix.
“Filmmakers Leo Scott and Ting Poo have a unique, cutting-edge style and artistry, weaving together never-before-seen footage into a beautiful, raw story about this renowned and celebrated actor, artist and man,” Amazon Studios chief said Jennifer Salke said. “We’re excited to work with Val and the A24 team on their first produced documentary feature and to share this unprecedented film with audiences.”
Kilmer said it was an adventure whittling down the thousands of hours of footage: “Tireless hours of editing and endless emotions with each new cut! I couldn’t be more proud to share this with the world!”
Boardwalk Pictures’ Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Jordan Wynn, Ali Alborzi and Brad Koepenick are producing Val alongside Scott of Cartel Films and Poo.