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Val Kilmer Opens Up About Battle With Throat Cancer in Emotional New Documentary

We all know Val Kilmer from his larger-than-life roles in blockbusters like Top Gun and Batman Forever. Now, the actor is putting his own life on display in an intimate documentary spanning his childhood, Hollywood heyday, and recent recovery from throat cancer. 

Simply titled Val, the film debuted today at the Cannes Film Festival and will premiere in the US later this month. ”As a lifelong filmmaker it thrills me to say the film will be in theaters July 23,” Kilmer wrote on Twitter. “And as a person who also enjoys getting cozy, I’m possibly more happy that it will be on Amazon Prime Video August 6. Here’s to giving every day the opportunity to be the most beautiful of your life.”

The film features thousands of hours of home videos recorded by the 61-year-old actor throughout his life. His son, Jack, frequently fills in to narrate for Kilmer who, because of his cancer treatment, now has to press a button on his throat in order to speak. “It is difficult to talk and to be understood, but I want to tell my story more than ever,” Jack reads.

Along with opening up about his diagnosis and recovery, Kilmer shares behind the scenes footage from his career, including clips of co-stars like Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn, and his biggest acting idol, Marlon Brando. We also hear him reflect on his life, admitting he’s “behaved poorly,” but also “bravely,” and “bizarrely.” He sums it up saying, “I see myself as a sensitive, intelligent human being, but with the soul of the clown.”

Take a look at the trailer below:

Kilmer teamed up with directors Leo Scott and Ting Poo to comb through the decades’ worth of home videos for the documentary. The actor didn’t shy away from including vulnerable moments in his life, like the loss of his younger brother, Wesley, and mourning his mother, who passed away while he was working on the film. 

It’s not all shrouded in sadness, though. As the trailer shows, Kilmer has spent the last few years working on his passion project about Mark Twain — even going so far as to dress up as the late author and goof around. 

The process of making the film was clearly an emotional one for Kilmer. We look forward to checking it out and seeing how it all comes together.

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