“He was a very disciplined drinker”: Batman Actor Val Kilmer Had To Go To Therapy After His $32M Movie As Top Gun Star Became Nearly Unrecognizable

Batman Actor Val Kilmer Had To Go To Therapy After His $32M Movie As Top Gun Star Became Nearly Unrecognizable
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Diving deeper into the personalities of other artists when taking up biopics is a whole other level of dedication. But this level of commitment wide opens a nasty pandora’s box of darker elements that the actors sometimes are not prepared for. A lot of times, getting too close to the actual nuances of the characters has made actors mentally unstable, develop alcoholic habits, smoking, and even depression.


One such instance happened back in ‘91 when the now-veteran actor Val Kilmer signed on to do the biopic of the famous lead vocalist of the rock band The Doors – Jim Morrison. 

Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison

Kilmer, according to the director Oliver Stone had the necessary set of skills to be able to assume the character’s different personalities. The sheer amount of hard work Kilmer put in while filming for The Doors is unfathomable. 


Read more: After Initially Refusing Top Gun, Val Kilmer Was Replaced by Marvel Actor in Tom Cruise’s Underrated $220M Action Thriller With Fast X Star Jason Statham

Val Kilmer Almost Broke His Mind Filming The Doors

Kilmer had already played the arrogant Iceman back in ‘86 in Top Gun which helped his career skyrocket from there. Director Oliver Stone saw his performance in Willow in ‘88 and considered him to be the best fit for playing Morrison.

Although his performance in The Doors could not get much acclaim, as the reviewers thought his approach represented a lot of inaccuracies and the vision of the director was one-dimensional. Nonetheless, it went on to accumulate a massive $32 million at the box office.

Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison
Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison.

But, the lengths the 63-year-old actor went to were mind-boggling. Morrison was a known sociopath and Kilmer had to learn every nuance to his personality in order to do justice to the role.

He devoted an insane amount of time learning as many as 50 songs from Morrison’s career and spent valuable time with the band’s producer to understand how the singer used to be with the people around him.

Val Kilmer consumed the singer’s life to the point that he drove himself to depression after the film had been completed.


Read more: “He was being irrational and ballistic”: ‘Batman Forever’ Director Regretted Hiring Val Kilmer Despite Being Warned of ‘Horror Stories’ of His Unprofessionalism

Val Kilmer’s Toxic Obsession With The Character

During the filming of the biopic, Val Kilmer got extremely immersed in the mannerisms of the singer. From copying his looks and his walk, he also kept the people who knew Morrison in his early days around so they can fix the little things he did wrong.

Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer

We can all remember this level of commitment from the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. But, Kilmer’s performance in ‘91 set the stage for actors going all out with their resources to deliver a masterful performance in whatever role they are offered.


He shared in an interview back then –

“I didn’t get seduced into his style of living but had to and needed to – for the role – to be as disciplined as he was in these escapades.” 

By the end of the film, Val Kilmer was highly unrecognizable and he had to undergo therapy in order to get back to his own personality.

Suggested: Val Kilmer Couldn’t Figure Out Why Fans Love Batman after Replacing Michael Keaton in $336M Movie: “Some primal reason audiences would be interested in him for 50 years”


Kilmer is majorly out of work and was last seen in 2022 as he came in for a special cameo, but this time as “Admiral” Kazansky in Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick. 

Source: Far Out Magazine


Written by Ojaswi Chaudhary

Articles Published: 265

Extremely passionate about a great story since the little guy was 8. He has lived through nothing short of almost 300 of Hollywood's finest pieces of work, and is now creating some of his own here at FandomWire. He loves to make time for a good book and a good meal.