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‘I Was Crying’: Tom Cruise Recalls Emotional Reunion with Val Kilmer in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

"He’s such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again," Cruise said of his shoot with Kilmer.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Tom Cruise attends the 95th Annual Oscars Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton on February 13, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

Tom Cruise

Getty Images

Top Gun: Maverickwowed audiences with its death-defying flight sequences and Tom Cruise’s famous commitment to doing his own stunts. But the spectacle was underscored by a powerful human story that earned its writers a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

One of the most emotional moments of the film was Val Kilmer’s cameo as Iceman. The appearance was Kilmer’s highest-profile acting appearance in years, as complications from throat cancer made him lose his voice and have largely prevented him from acting. The moving scene represented a fusion of the past and the present, and Tom Cruise is still thinking about how special it was.

Appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Friday night, Cruise recalled the emotional experience of working with his old friend nearly four decades after the original “Top Gun” hit theaters.

“I just want to say that was pretty emotional,” Cruise said. “I’ve known Val for decades. For him to come back and play that character… he’s such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again. You’re looking at Iceman.”

Seeing Kilmer embodying the character after his years of health problems was an emotional moment for movie fans around the world, and even Cruise wasn’t immune from tearing up.

“I was crying, I got emotional,” he said. “He’s such a brilliant actor, and I love his work.”

The talk show appearance was just the latest stop on the well-deserved victory lap that Cruise has been taking to celebrate the success of “Top Gun: Maverick.” He recently appeared at the Oscar nominees luncheon, where Steven Spielberg thanked him for “saving Hollywood’s ass” by refusing to release “Maverick” on streaming during the pandemic. He also took to the skies to thank his fans for supporting the film in a recent video from the set of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning.

“Here we are over stunning South Africa, where we’re filming ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning’ parts one and two. And I didn’t want the year to end without thanking you all for coming out to the theaters and thank you for supporting ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’” Cruise said before jumping out of a plane. “Thank you for supporting ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and thank you for allowing us to entertain you. It truly is the honor of a lifetime.”

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part I” is set to open in theaters on Friday, July 14. Watch Cruise’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” below.

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