Iceman and Maverick may be seen as adversarial in the original “Top Gun,” but the same cannot be said for the actors that play them. Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise have been close friends since the filming of the movie and corresponded about their characters in “Top Gun: Maverick.” Because of his throat cancer, Kilmer’s role was retooled accordingly and his interview with the Los Angeles Times was done via email.
“We talked quite a bit about what was best for the [Top Gun: Maverick] story and I think they got it right at the end,” Kilmer reflected about the film. He went on to explain that he and Cruise have remained friendly throughout the years which led to easy communication about the new film. Out of respect to Kilmer, they wrote into the film that Iceman also had throat cancer and shot a scene where he and Maverick are communicating through typed text. This became a scene that was appreciated by everyone, including director Joseph Kosinski who stated that Kilmer has not lost his edge.
“[Kilmer] is completely present in the scene and able to convey so much emotion without saying a word. I remember noticing that with his introduction in ‘Heat’ — so much said with just one look.” Both Kilmer and Cruise were reportedly emotional during the scene that was about two friends coming together, as in life.