'Top Gun: Maverick' Crew Recreated Val Kilmer's Voice Following His Battle With Throat Cancer

Elizabeth Spina
Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Top Gun: Maverick was released in theaters earlier this month, starring a few familiar faces including Val Kilmer, who unfortunately lost his voice in 2015 due to a grueling battle with throat cancer. The filmmakers have recently revealed how they managed to recreate his voice for his lines in the movie.

ICYMI, Val Kilmer recently made his return to the big screen after overcoming throat cancer following his diagnosis in 2015.

After previously keeping his health condition private, in 2021, the 62-year-old actor revealed that he was declared cancer-free in 2016 after radiation, chemotherapy treatments, and undergoing a tracheostomy that permanently damaged his speaking voice.

While he is now cancer-free, Kilmer, unfortunately, lost his voice in 2015.

"Top Gun: Maverick" star Val Kilmer
instagram | @valkilmerofficial

"Now that it's more difficult to speak, I want to tell my story more than ever," he told People. "I obviously am sounding much worse than I feel," he said, before revealing that in order to speak he has to plug an open hole in his throat.

"I can't speak without plugging this hole [in his throat]. You have to make the choice to breathe or to eat," he shared. "It's an obstacle that is very present with whoever sees me."

"Top Gun: Maverick" star Val Kilmer
instagram | @valkilmerofficial

Despite the challenges Kilmer now faces due to cancer, he still accepted the invitation to be in a Top Gun sequel, more than three decades after the original release in 1986. In fact, he was "thrilled" to be offered a role in the film.

"We called Val and told him we wanted to meet him to be in the picture. And he was thrilled," the film's producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, said at the film's premiere in San Diego in May.

"Top Gun: Maverick" Val Kilmer
instagram | @valkilmerofficial

"Tom [Cruise] said he wasn't going to make the movie without him," Bruckheimer added.

The team behind "Top Gun: Maverick" had to pull a few strings, however, to bring Iceman's speaking voice back to life for the film.

Using old recordings of Kilmer speaking, and with the help of tech company Sonantic, they were able to seamlessly recreate his voice.

"People around me struggle to understand me when I’m talking," Kilmer shared in a clip released by the tech company.

He added that while he may not have the same voice he once did, not much else has changed for him creatively.

"Despite all that, I still feel I’m the exact same person, still the same creative soul," he said.

"A soul that dreams ideas and stories constantly," he went on.

Thanks to Sonantic and "Top Gun: Maverick" Kilmer says he can finally express himself again as an actor.

"Top Gun: Maverick" star Val Kilmer
instagram | @valkilmerofficial

"But now I can express myself again, I can bring these dreams to you and show you this part of myself once more. A part that was never truly gone, just hiding away," he said.