Top Gun: Maverick’s Val Kilmer Discusses His Long-Standing Friendship With Tom Cruise

Val Kilmer recently commented that on-set camaraderie was a big part of working on Top Gun back in 1986, and while it is clear that Top Gun: Maverick has captured some of the same vibes, Kilmer revealed that his close friendship with Tom Cruise is not confined to the movie. Speaking to the LA Times via email, Kilmer was asked about his appearance in the movie, which it seems was built on the friendship between Kilmer and Cruise in the script and real life.

The on-screen reunion of Cruise’s Maverick and Kilmer’s Iceman is one of the quietest but instantly iconic moments of Top Gun: Maverick. Away from the aerial acrobatics and action sequences, the short scene between the two is the highlight of the movie for many, including director Joseph Kosinski, who noted that after just a few takes, both actors were tearing up and felt like he was witnessing “a genuine moment between two old friends.” This, it seems, is pretty much the truth of what it was.


In Top Gun: Maverick, Iceman is suffering the same throat cancer as Kilmer received treatment for in real life, which led to the loss of his voice. While he has recently been able to find a voice using AI software, similar use of technology made his single line in the movie possible. When it comes to the way the scene seems so personal, Kilmer puts that down to his long-time friendship with Cruise off-screen. He wrote of the reunion:

“We talked quite a bit about what was best for the story and I think they got it right at the end. We are in touch and exchange Xmas gifts every year! Tom and I get along really well. We giggled like little kids in school between takes. I consider him a real friend. We shared intimate stories and challenges about our different lifestyles!!”

Top Gun: Maverick Director Heaped Praise on Cruise and Kilmer

Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has no doubt created a masterpiece of a movie, one of those rare times in cinema when the reviews of critics and audiences are unanimously positive and the box office results align, but he admits that one of the biggest successes of the movie is how Cruise and Kilmer brought out the best in each other. He commented:

“You’ve got two masters at the top of their game playing the most iconic characters of their careers. I think there is a lot of Maverick in Tom, and Iceman in Val, so what you are seeing onscreen is an authentic friendship that has lasted over 36 years. When we weren’t shooting, they were sharing funny stories with [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer] about making the original film. I think at the time they were a bit competitive with each other, but now it’s something they can just laugh about.”

Top Gun: Maverick is currently the second highest-grossing movie of the year worldwide but is only around $50 million behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Having taken over $40 million this weekend, there are not many who would bet against Maverick performing magic of his own to overtake the Marvel sorcerer very soon.