The Sunday Read: The Iceman and Winter
Hi It's Taffy Byrd S. or abner and I'm a staff writer at the New York Times magazine. I have been trying to write a story about VAL kilmer for about five years. He was the quintessential blockbuster matinee movie idol of my youth he was in. Guys really are cowboys. But you problem Jansky top gun. I don't like you because you're dangerous. That's right man. Let's just say I was testing the bounds of reality. He started as Jim Morrison in the doors. He was Batman. That Soglo is not beeper. I wish I could say that my interest in you was purely professional and then one day. He stopped showing up in movies. All of a sudden. I realized it had been a really long time since. I've seen VAL kilmer on a big screen so I thought I was telling a story about where Val kilmer wise but by the time he finally agreed to speak with me earlier this year I found a completely different story. They're in turns out that VAL Kilmer is a man of extraordinary faith and the reason that that matters is because in the years since I had started asking to speak with him a lot of things had changed and so had I I had been raised in a house of tremendous religious observance beyond just kind of traditional Judaism. There was a lot of cabalistic and along with that. A belief that was instilled in me that no matter why everything was going to be okay and in the last five years. I really lost track of that. I no longer believe it and so the story about Val kilmer went from being a story about where he went and turned into a story about someone who still believes that. I don't know if it could change anybody from being terrified about the state of the world but I know that it will not hurt anybody to spend a few minutes remembering that there are other ways to look at things. So here's my story. The iceman in winter red for you by Julia Whelan It's hard to believe now as I write this. But just two months ago when we were allowed to roam free when we can board planes and delight from them and wander into rental cars and check into hotels when we can chase down and replenish. The beauty and wonder are very cells. Need to survive. I went to Los Angeles where I was asked this question by Val kilmer. Do you think south by southwest will be cancelled but val kilmer no longer sounds like Val kilmer the movie star of the Eighties and nineties. Who is mostly from screens? He hasn't since his tracheostomy he can still squeeze air up through his windpipe however and past the whole that was cut into his throat and the tracheostomy tube in a way that makes him somewhat understood not very but somewhat. The sound is something between a squeak and a voiceless roar. He says the fact that I can understand him is a result of the endless. Vogel exercises that. He was trained to do when he went to juilliard after high school that he was taught to work his voice like it was a trumpet. He hated the authoritarian rule at juilliard. While he was there he hated those stupid vocal exercises. Now look at him still using his most beloved instrument when really by all rights. It should be useless. See how it all turned out for the best. All Val kilmer stories are like that told with that. Same Dash of preordained Kismet. He was travelling in Africa in nineteen ninety four when he decided to spend a morning exploring a bat cave later that day literally. Seriously that day he was inspired to his agent. Who had been trying to contact kilmer for weeks to see if he was interested in playing the role of Batman. Now that Michael. Keaton was hanging it up another story in the days before he said is for the first time on his now ex wife Joanne. Whalley he dreamed that he met the woman he was destined for and woke up and immediately wrote a poem called. We've just met but Mary me please. Then right after that. He went to London and while he was there he saw play and wally was in it. He was so taken with her that he followed her to the pub after party just so he could look at her. This was crazy even for him so he made no move two years later in nineteen eighty seven. She would be randomly coincidentally serendipitous Lee cast opposite him in willow and they would end up married so yes he can talk and it's such a miracle that he has these abilities because if you have enough faith you'll see how every part of your life is just a piece of a bigger part of your life and nothing is an accident and is good. We were in his office at Helmut. L. An office space slash art galleries slash artist Studio Slash Retail Museum for Val kilmer movie career. That takes up several storefronts and more than half the blog of melrose avenue between edge monster. Read and heliotrope drive in Hollywood. Officially according to Brad Koepenick his childhood friend and adult business associate. Who was in the room to help me better understand Helms. Mission is to serve as a fun sacred space where ECLECTIC artists gather with novices to collaborate and through new technology inspire change and spark giving in our local underserved community of its storefronts. One is a traditional art gallery. Another is a dark window display with three black cubes. That say God stenciled in white paint behind which is an inventory of merge from kilmer's long and storied movie career. Saux that featured his tombstone character. Doc Holliday and Jim Morrison coasters from his role in the doors and some paintings that kilmer himself created some of which are about his film career a rendering his top gun character. Iceman with the word. Love stenciled across it. And some that aren't a hummingbird in a forest. The final storefront is a door that leads to the willy. Wonka core of Helmut L. INSIDE. There's a podcasting studio a cafe area and a screening room how mill also houses a foundation val and Koepenick created called Twain Menia which aims to send its Mark Twain Curriculum into schools. Twice a week high school students from South Central Los Angeles Practice. Hamlet and other plays there as part of a program called. Inner City Shakespeare. Helms started holding events last February a screening of tombstone an echo in the Canyon concert. It is the creative incubator of dreams the fruition of a vision. He had always hoped his six thousand Acre Newman would be before he lost most of it and the two thousand eight housing crash. The idea is to create kind of a life. That's active comber told me it's active. It's alive I want the feel of it being alive. You feel the electricity. He sat at his desk behind. Him was a replica of a painting. He sold to Robert. Downey junior and on the other side. A maybe two foot tall Batman figure with a Mark Twain head elsewhere were apple computers from the nineteen eighties and nineteen ninety s dipped in glossy red paint a tumbleweed bathed in gold paint. There was a box of newly shipped. Hard covers of his new memoir. I'm your huckleberry which debuted on the best seller list in April a brooding photo of the VAL Kilmer of your nineteen nineties. Matinee memories on its cover on the walls were more of his paintings swishes of paint and Resin and oil and sometimes spray paint on sheets of repurpose aluminum. He makes them by swirling around the chemicals and paint until they look like an emotion or an element to him at which point he adds a photograph defying his theory. Into fact I stood ended admired a rectangle of blue gray haze that he had determined looked like ocean waves and so he had added photos of swimmers diving into the waves. One after another of all the projects going on inside the studio at that minute. It was a short animated film about Mark Twain. That concerned him most in it. Mark Twain Falls Asleep and dreams of the resurrection of Jesus Christ resulting in his waking up and realizing that Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science. Val kilmer is a lifelong Christian. Scientist was correct about God's eminent perfection and the theories of Mrs Eddy as kilmer calls her about God's capacity to heal the kilmer loves a lot of things but to the tops are Mark Twain and Mrs Eddy. Kilmer wanted to debut the short at south by South West in a few weeks. It was early March. There were rumors that festivals and concerts and even air travel might be cancelled. Kilmer believed that even if he and his team couldn't take an airplane. They could just drive to Austin and still screen Mark Twain Dreams of the Resurrection and I duNNo will the festival into existence. He was undaunted by all the signs. And portents that made it feel as if the world were dropping to its knees. He believed if he could get the film done. And over to Austin the rest would take care of itself so when he asked me if south by South West would be cancelled. I told him I didn't know. The surgeon general had started asking the public not to hoard surgical masks and just that morning Los Angeles had declared a state of emergency. You don't think we will be going to Ken. Kilmer asked how about the Olympics? The Olympics has never been cancelled except in time of World War. You can't cancel the world right bad things happen but you still need art and I thought Right Right. You still need art. You still need forward momentum. You still need to believe that all your effort wasn't for nothing that we could. We will survive a dark moment in history and that when that happens we won't be left without the things that made those moments decipher -able and meaningful and therefore tolerable. The world outside had seemed to be getting so so bad for so so long and this was the first whiff of overarching hope and positivity that I witnessed in. I couldn't remember how many months or years now so much so that I almost couldn't identify it when I saw it. The last glowing embers of hope coming Val Kilmer the movie hunk of my youth. Who disappeared on ceremoniously and now presented with an entirely different appearance and a bizarre accounting of where he'd been but there was something familiar about it like a faint dogging that came from inside me. It was the special kind of optimism that may be only the faithful. Have the enduring belief that some force will come along and save us from the centrifuge of despair. We found ourselves in. When is the last time you saw that up-close before you can understand the story of what happened? Val kilmer you have to determine for yourself who he was in the first place trying to compare him to any movie star working either now or then. We'll fry your mental circuit board. He was an upwardly mobile conventional movie star. He was equally a fringe Weirdo. Who would soon disappear his first movie. Top Secret Nineteen eighty-four about a Rockstar. In East Berlin was the follow up to airplane by its creative team and it was so funny and such a strange thing to see this extraordinarily handsome young kid. A draw like the sharp Kat. Bottom half of a stop sign that truce we'd Golden Hair accused's Bo that lays and shadow of the pump convex group of his upper lip who also seemed to be in on the joke. The eighty s were a time when a handsome young man with hair was mostly the if it he'd been on the road to something slightly more say classical when he was at juilliard he starred in arrestees and in the Wood Demon. He wrote a play with his classmates. Called how it all began which went on to run for a month at the public theater. After Joe PAPP himself saw it at the school he started in Slab. Boys with Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon. He did as you like it in. Minneapolis with Patti lupone. But once Hollywood gotTA look at Him. He was onto fast a conveyor belt to safely. Step off the success of top-secret beget a somewhat starring role in real genius. Meaning that his Chris night the apathetic irresistible prodigy. Who helps something laser chemical transmitter radio? Something is the guy on the poster. But he's not the character with the clearest narrative arc. He's more of a wise fool in the Shakespeare tradition. Another hit then in nineteen eighty six came top gun and after that everyone knew who val kilmer was. Because how could you not iceman the fighter? Pilot Tom Cruise's maverick. Is Trying to best for the best of the best of the best position. Has maybe seventeen words in the whole movie but it is there that you can see. Val kilmer's greatest gift which is to make something out of nothing to breathe real life into a character who was only though to set the volleyball. So that maverick could spike it if you asked me then what beguiled me about Val kilmer? I wouldn't have had the words for it instead. I would pictured a man without a shirt. I am still hard pressed to picture a young VAL kilmer in a regular shirt. But it wasn't his body that stuck with me when the lights came on. No it was his awesome physicality him spinning the volleyball on his finger him offering the most fraught eighties masculinity soaked condolences ever when Mavericks Radar Intercept Officer. Goose BUYS IT. During a flight exercise there was something in his immense focus and his full bodied commitment to just plain being in the scene. That took my breath away. I read somewhere. That kilmer was so dedicated to inhabiting the rule that he created team. Iceman and T- Maverick factions in the top gun. Movie cast what I also remember is iceman's snapping his gum with his mighty jaw in non to mavericks admitting that. Yes he's dangerous in that DRAWS SNAP. Which is my absolute favorite gift to send a people. There's so much more than a weird way to end the conversation. It's Gance and pay those frustration and whatever the emotion is where you know that laughing at someone will hurt them more than insulting them. The next few jobs came relatively quickly the crazed greedy Delightful Madman Cardigan in though shouting epithets at the hero of the story with a vitality and electric. That makes you somehow root for him. Kill me again. In which he plays a dumb investigator who becomes the mark of a con woman played by his wife. At the time. Joanne whalley the doors and Oliver. Stone movie made extremely watchable by kilmer's method performance as Jim Morrison so methodology and deepen the role. It's not so long into any kind of rewatching of that movie that I realized I can no longer remember what Real Jim. Morrison sounded or looked like then the beloved tombstone in which he once again went deep method on the tuberculosis dentist. Doc Holliday sweaty and yellow gasping for breath through puffs on his cigarette. It was around this time that both kilmer and his viewing public ran into a problem. If you're good at acting and you're super honky and you look good with your shirt off and also are willing to take it off. You are an excellent candidate for promotion and so- VAL kilmer leveled up pretty soon. He was cast as pure leads of what were or. Were designed to be blockbusters Batman forever. The Island of Dr Moreau the Saint. He didn't do badly in any of those roles. Exactly it's more as if all the elements were there. But they couldn't unite to make a real person. The whole was less than the sum of its parts. His Jack Andrews in kill me again is supposed to be some kind of every man but he's really the absence of a person. A body without a soul in Thunderheart kilmer plays a regular guy. Fbi agent with some native American lineage. And I couldn't really get through the rest in Batman forever. He barely moves his face. And well here were the reviews. Janet Maslin in this newspaper said Kilmer was hamstrung. By the straight man aspect of the role while Roger Ebert raved that he was completely acceptable. There came reports of problems on sets that he was complaining constantly and making impossible demands that he was rude to his Co stars and stayed in character all the time never bothering with even small courtesies to the other people on set that he fought with Oliver Stone about glorifying Substance Abuse in a movie that was literally about Jim Morrison that kilmer committed to the method. Even through casting became too aggressive with a woman during an audition in front of stone and the casting director as he became swept up in an emotionally charged moment the incident resulted in a settlement though he maintains it was the actress who attacked him and the casting director has said that both actors were physical with each other in the heat of this moment Joel Schumacher called him psychotic in an interview. After directing him in Batman forever who's sequels Kilmer was supposed to star in? There are several different versions of why George Clooney replaced him kilmer says it was because of scheduling difficulties with the other movie. He had a contract for the saint but one factor was surely this assessment by its director. Multiple sources have claimed that on the set of the island of Dr Moreau. Kilmer TOUCHED HIS LIT. Cigarette to a crew members sideburn. He claims this was an accident that resulted from the cinematographers. Asking him to blow smoke from off camera very close to where a member of the camera crew was standing. What kind of person would singe worker? He spends fifteen hours a day with often less than a foot apart. Madness premiering Sunday may tenth. Hbo's New Limited Drama Series. I know this much is true. Features Mark Ruffalo is twins. Dominic and Thomas Birdseye one man coming to terms with his past and the other brother he struggling to care for through it all a story of family sacrifice and forgiveness from the director of Blue Valentine and the place beyond the Pines and based on the best selling novel. I know this much is true. Premiers Sunday may tenth at nine pm only on. Hbo This all begins to explain why it's hard to make sense of who exactly Val kilmer was. His whole thing is telling stories but at this point he didn't yet know which story he was telling. He can put it all together now far better than he ever could back. Then he'd had his pig of roles. He was being offered lucrative franchises. His talent was in doubt by absolutely no one. His gift was both so overt end so subtle that he was the most memorable part of the movies he merely supported and yet suddenly he was radioactive. He didn't know how to handle what was happening to him. He'd gotten into acting because he wanted to perform serious roles but the bigger they came the more and cavernous to it was all silly to me. He said to me in his office. I've been preparing to do hamlet for ten years. He always thought of himself as a character actor he could do a hundred different voices and a million different impressions. I would've loved to have been on Saturday night. Live as a regular kilmer. Said fame wasn't my priority. And I had it if you read his press. Around the time of Batman all those interviews are mostly just him complaining about the suit he liked to say. It was a battering experience. Because he loves word. Play in interviews. He brought up. Tom Cruise often particularly his inclination for movies. Where instead of running from their oiled volleyball playing forms of yesterday crews ran back toward them. I have very definitely had a different kind of career than Tom. You never know if a job has commercial success written all over it. I just think life's too short to worry about that. The Los Angeles Times December thirty first nineteen ninety three. I have nothing against Tom Cruise but he must have a large capacity to deal with the business side of movies details. June nineteen ninety-five interviewer. How about Tom Cruise? You Make Fun of him sometimes kilmer. You can't make fun of Tom. Cruise Poor thing interview March twenty fourth. Two thousand eleven. Maybe he was jealous. The cruise was getting all those leads. Maybe he really couldn't take the leading man pressure. He was burned out already from all that method ing. But that doesn't seem right. The burnout thing ignores that he was still doing smaller roles on the side in the same magnetic way he had before his Elvis inspired cameo in true romance a movie in which he shines in a tiny role where they don't even show his face his bank robber in heat. Forget that amazing shootout sequence that everyone talks about the movies. Most mesmerizing moment is the forty second micro scene in which he watches a clerk verify that his fake license is real. No the problem was that he had been trained to inhabit any role. He could find himself in. He just couldn't find himself in enormity. And by the time Kilmer came online as a movie star nor me roles were all. There were the nineties. Standard-issue regular guy. In extraordinary circumstances kilmer's greatest rolls were always supporting characters. The roles of troubled men with broken souls went to the other guys because who would believe that a guy who looked like him had real troubles or a broken soul but he couldn't reverse course and bow out either by then he had been seduced by a lifestyle look at his face in a tabloid photo of him share Circa Nineteen Eighty-four. Look at the pride look how much he enjoyed being on shares arm. It reminds him something he heard once. God wants us to walk. But the devil sends a limo. He was invited to go to Togo by Dr Suzuki whom he calls the Japanese Stanislavsky but he turned it down he didn't want to say yes to Hollywood but look at that picture again. How could you say no? By the time. He realized how miserable he was. It was too late. He tried to supplement these movies with other artistic endeavors. That nourished his soul. He began working on a documentary about nuclear disarmament in nineteen eighty-three when he was doing real genius when he was filming. Wonderland in two thousand three. As the porn star John Holmes he holed up with Ali Alborz e who had been protege of kilmer's friends the wildlife photographer. Peter Beard to photograph the set and then make collages of the photographs and pages from the film's script all over the walls of the Chateau Mar and also spill blood all over them a complex art project. I don't fully understand. He took the roles always imagining that when he had enough money he could get out with enough to support both that giant Santa Fe ranch but it's animals and staff and the artists. He wanted to invite to it. I was gambling with being able to maintain the status. And I would've won my gamble except for two thousand eight. Not only did he lose his status in Hollywood but the ones spoil he escaped with his ranch lost half its value and he was forced to sell most of it away. I just lost my home. Like a million other people. It was pretty awful. His casting problem was solved for him when no one wanted to work with him anymore. The roles went to people who presumably were not known for unkindness. Toward Move Cruise. The phone stopped ringing in his book. He sums up this period. Like this in an unflinching attempt to empower directors actors and other collaborators to honor the truth and essence of each project. An attempt to breathe Suzuki in life into a myriad of Hollywood moments. I had been deemed difficult and alienated the head of every major studio. He says this in an attempt not to apologize clearly but to make clear why he behaved the way he did. Everyone has to work out their own salvation. He told me how to live. And by what morality and I found that the part that I feel bad about is hurting somebody in the process. He remembered a story from his time. As Batman one day he was filming and about to take off the bat suit when Warren Buffett and his grandkids came by. They wanted to see Batman so kilmer stock around in the suit but they didn't want to talk to him. They wanted to try on the mask and ride in the batmobile. He understood then. The Batman isn't meant to be a real guy. Batman is meant to be so anonymous that the person who is looking at him can himself in him. That's why it's so easy to have five or six. Batmans he says. Now it's not about Batman there is no Batman and so what kind of thing is that to play a person whose job is to be is known specific as possible. He looked good and the bad suit but wearing it was torture when he took it off. He was finally free. See what he did there. See how it all worked out at the pretty happy ending to a sad story? The lesson here is Val Kilmer's perpetual lesson that if you have enough faith if you can take the long view and remember that things will work out. Destiny takes over. I say that to prepare you for the story of what happened to his body. Because if you think that turning the story of a blown-up career into a best case scenario is impressive. Wait till you see what the VAL kilmer story optimize or does with cancer so by two thousand fourteen. He was living a life. He was no longer under contract for franchises. He couldn't put his heart into he had some money. He had a place in Malibu his kids nearby and he could finally do what he wanted. He began to pick the project that mattered to him. It so happens that the animated short Mark Twain Dreams of the resurrection. Not The first movie. Kilmer has made about Mark Twain. It's not even the second and I've heard there's an additional screenplay for a feature length script out there too but the main Mark Twain event is a film called Citizen Twain and it was conceived as a live performance in which Val kilmer dresses up as Mark Twain and does Mark Twain and Christian Science Related. Stand up comedy. Take a minute with that sentence. I went to see citizen Twain. One rainy Friday night at the College of Staten Island. A half filled theater which I remember a little like a fever dream. There's not a lot of marketing. Copy the can prepare you for its strangeness and also it's elaborate nece and also its sincerity and also the delightful warmth of Val kilmer whom you will never see happier than when he is presenting this film of his though it started out as a half filmed half performance. It is now. In light of his vocal condition a totally filmed performance that kilmer merely introduces the subjects of citizen Twain Range from SAS Parrilla to congressional representatives being for Mark Twain quotes to Mrs Eddy quotes to quotes. Val kilmer only wishes. Either of them had said here. He was using his celebrity and his talent along with some heavy. Rubber prosthetics Mark Twain was many things but he was not a person who looked like val kilmer to finally do something. He wanted which was to work out for himself. The relationship of two people he absolutely worshipped but who were at odds in almost every way. Samuel Clemens was a Christian and a rational man who seemed fairly uphold. Mrs Eddie's interpretation of the Bible and its assumptions that healing from illness was something resulting from prayer rather than medical treatment. He wrote a book about it called Christian Science in which he clearly mocks all of it but kilmer believes he did this only because he was so drawn to it with each project kilmer gets a little closer to making the universe conform. A little bit more to what he wishes. It were a place where the two historical figures he loves. Most Mark Twain and Mrs Eddy are finally no longer polar opposites but magnetically aligned. Val kilmer can't remember when it was that Mark Twain. I re his life and he certainly doesn't know when he first realized his life's work would be about trying to Meld the visions of Mark Twain and Mrs Eddy into one. And he certainly can't remember the year he started having symptoms of what other people the ones with medical degrees evaluated him called throat cancer. Partly this is because he gets tired when he talks now but mostly it's because it's hard to track time and mark space when you don't believe in them as near as I can tell in two thousand fourteen as he was touring with citizen Twain. Kilmer family in Nashville with a big lump in his throat. He was having a hard time swallowing. He canceled the show. He'd been having symptoms for a while and had woken up in a pool of his own blood. A timer to back in Malibu a DR eventually told him it was throat cancer or as Kilmer told me Christian science calls it the suggestion of throat cancer. Meaning that in Christian science the idea is rather than say I have it or possess it. There is a claim. There is a suggestion that this was a fact. He knew the cure for him would be to work with his practitioner. Christian Sciences version of a spiritual adviser to pray his fear away so that his body would no longer manifest outwardly. What can be diagnosed as a malady? Meaning it's not really cancer. It's just his fear expressing itself. Think of what. He had just been through losing all his land reckoning with his career he had to go away and pray to relocate his faith within himself but it wasn't so easy he has kids a grown son and daughter he had while he was still married to Joanne. Whalley and they're not Christian scientists. His family couldn't let him go. He'll by himself cancer as they know it is a thing that spreads he relented. I just didn't want to experience their fear which was profound kilmer said I would have had to go away and I just didn't want to be without them. He had surgery that year which was followed by chemotherapy and radiation. That zapped my whole throat and it's still dry as a bone and left him with the tracheostomy tube and a feeding tube shortly after kilmer was spotted wearing scarves his head slightly askew as if his neck couldn't properly hold it up in two thousand sixteen. Michael Douglas was doing a press junket after his own bout of cancer and a reporter asked him about the ghost and the darkness. Douglas mentioned that kilmer. His Co Star in. That movie was suffering from the same illness he had suffered from. Kilmer denied this posting on facebook that he had no cancer whatsoever. I asked Kilmer have cancer when it seemed to me. Judging by the fact that the thing he described is absolutely the treatment for throat cancer that he perhaps definitely did he said because I didn't have cancer. I blinked too few times. They said I was denying that I had cancer. And when they asked me. I didn't have cancer. It was a bit like. Do you have a broken bone and if you broke it in high school you would say no. He continued suddenly suspect. I have had a bone broken. But why are you being so aggressive? I had a bone broken. It was broken in my leg. Oh so you have a broken leg no no I. Don't I say I did have a broken leg? It's not exactly mind over matter it is. He tells me the lost art of Christian healing. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so he said quoting Mrs Eddy. Quoting Hamlet. I prayed and that was my form of treatment. The doctors did those other things but it was prayer that worked. He sure he is no longer suffering from cancer he said or rather he never was no. He's suffering from something quite different. He pointed his trade tube. That's from radiation and chemotherapy. It's not from cancer. His prayer he said was the true treatment. The medical response to cancer was the thing that hurt him. That treatment caused my suffering. The next Dave kilmer sat at a conference table in Hell Mel and opened up a Red Igloo Cooler and began to mix liquids together from various canisters before putting them into a syringe. He opened his shirt uncapped his feeding port and injected the food into a tube. It was lunchtime. He has no vices anymore. He watches all the food. Shows top CHEF CHEFS TABLE? Ugly Delicious Yearning. For the time. He'll be able to eat again though. It has been years and he's not sure how much longer it will be when it is though. He said making his arms into a food shoveling gesture. I'm going to look like Orson Welles. He sixty one now. He is still so handsome. His hair is still blonde. His eyes are still the unimaginable green of Oregon grass. Right after the rain. His draw is still the main event the nasal labial area of his cheek book ending the Inferior Jowl so that his superior jowl appears sunken and his face takes on romantic geological proportions. He was wearing a very heavy turquoise and coral necklace that his mother who died last year war for twenty years straight along with her turquoise bracelet. He was never scared during his medical treatment. He told me he never panicked right as he was graduating from high school. His younger brother Wesley who had received a diagnosis of epilepsy drowned in the family's Jacuzzi. Wesley had been a super genius. He said a gifted filmmaker who made stop motion animation ahead of his time but kilmer still talks to Wesley. Wesley shows up in his office and they hash things out or trade ideas. His mother has appeared to him lately too as if she's out party saying how happy she is to be with her husband again and Wesley. My little brother so happy. Death isn't deaf in Christian science it simply that humans have limitations and one of them is that we perceive people only through our five senses. When a person dies. They aren't gone. They are just not showing up in our senses anymore. So if a Christian scientist praised and still dies according to standard definitions of death. It doesn't mean the prayer didn't work as Kilmer said when he dressed up as Mark Twain. All prayers work. It's just that sometimes we don't like the answer. So how can you be scared of cancer when there's no such thing as cancer how can you fear death when there's no such thing as death the answer is you can't someone comes up to you and says you have only four months to live and the concept of time is a human one so if you describe the divine concept of time there is no time? He's been off the trick tube a couple of times though each time. He has a setback. A cough cold fever. But why all this talk about the time that fear manifested in his body here addressed it. He made it through that and now he's on the other side and his life is finally what he wanted it to be by the time. I met him. He had taken citizen Twain to more than thirty cities. I feel like I not possibly be in a better place for attracting better and better roles. He said if an actor is fortunate enough to do so to steer their own course and own their own material. They control their own destiny creating their own products he talked about how Irwin Winkler and Francis Ford. Coppola had each leveraged. Their wealth to get projects made his slate. These days is no different. I haven't picked subjects such as boxing jealousy or uncontrollable madness Mark Twain and Mary. Baker Eddy are the subjects of the film. I've dedicated twenty years of my life to on and off. He told me he's filmed five roles so far this year. The opportunities are coming in the way they do. Only when you're peaceful and not desperate about them there's a top gun sequel coming out this year. Kilmer is in it. He's not allowed to say anything about the new top gun except that he's in it and that instead of being enemies with maverick their relationship has changed. We're friends he said this time. We're friends as I walked out of. Hell Day kilmer presented me with a gift. It was the abstract painting I admired the day before with the swimmers diving into the waves. I told him I couldn't take it. That Times policy was that I couldn't accept anything even close to this. I put it down key picked it up. I put it on a desk. He told Brad Koepenick. Who stayed with US until the end of the interviews to carry it out to my car and not let me leave without it so I took it and put it in the passenger seat with a seat belt around it. Just me in Val Kilmer's abstract swimmer art driving down Melrose and honestly it felt so good and so- weightless spending the day with someone who doesn't believe in death is as fine an antidote to hearing all the stories of fear that were coming through the radio now is any that instead of passing Cojuangco Boulevard back to my hotel. I hung a right and went to the movies the way I used to when I was young when I sat in the movie theater watching portrait of a lady on fire and thinking of Stories. Kilmer told me about an accident. His daughter was in how she was walking and got hit by a car on little Santa Monica and then thrown through a storefront window but the storefront had been evacuated and so was empty and even though she'd gone through the glass she emerged unscathed about time. He was driving to the airport from his ranch and a car wandered through the median and he was going too fast to stop and so his car went through this other car without colliding with it. You can still see the mole on the driver's neck as he went through him without causing material disturbance to either of their bodies or vehicles. These things happened because he'd been praying his whole life but the other thing he'd been doing his whole life was telling these stories. Turning the way we are constantly walking along the edge of our imminent demise sure imminent believe in time demise if you believe in death and trying to make sense of what could happen to a person at any given moment a religious person a person who is trying to be good in the world that his daughter could be hit by a car that he could die on the way to the airport that his reputation could be shattered that he could have a hole in his throat. Who could blame a person who needed to make sense of? The chaotic turns of his life with the story. But even more what else was he supposed to do when he told me these stories. I told him it was hard for me to imagine. A person could heal themselves or prevent certain disaster with prayer. He said it's not that difficult when he said that I realized that as the days had gone on it had become easier to understand him. The Times was calling for staff members to return to base and begin working from home so I headed to the airport the next morning with my suitcase and my painting which I promised myself I would mail back to Kilmer when I arrived at home. People were wearing masks on my flight and sanitizing the cups of Soda They received during Inflight Service and I drifted off to sleep feeling bad for them south by southwest was cancelled before I even landed can was postponed. Eventually the Olympics were to in the coming weeks. Everything was canceled school outside. Hugs Peter Beard. Went Missing and kilmer took a walk with Lia Boise. Who was distraught. It was the longest walk kilmer had taken in a long time and he realized that to hummingbirds had been following him had been following them for three days. Birds have always been a part of my family. Kilmer texted me being the harbingers of life and the story of death. He believed the hummingbirds had a message for them about beard. By then I thought how beautiful perhaps we had created the corona virus out of our fear wickedness children in cages. The rich hoarding wealth. Perhaps we had only the suggestion of a virus. I grew up with too many Messianic S- in my household I found this kind of thing too easy to believe if only because it was more believable than the fact that in two thousand twenty my young healthy colleagues were in the hospital. The streets were bear. I was stuck inside my house and nobody knew how long that might go on for for a few days. I stared at my beautiful painting which I will absolutely return when it's safe to take a essential trip to the post office. It was so hard to parse all the fear that permeated society. Now what was real? And what had come as a result of our own hysteria during the day. I think that it was the fear that was hurting us. Most but at night my husband would shake me to wake me up because I'd been crying in my sleep more quickly than I could have imagined. The world took on the hallucinogenic quality of right before you fall asleep when everything is out size and nothing makes sense. The margins on my suspension of disbelief started to close in on themselves and the borders of things began to diminish and now the world seemed like a word you stare at so long that it becomes nonsense. I watched all the vel kilmer movies again. But this time. They struck me as representations of a world that never existed. That couldn't possibly exist. What is sweaty shirtless fighter pilot? What is dentist with tuberculosis? What is downtown La Shootout? What is batmobile? What is Lizard King amid? All this I received a phone call. One of my closest and oldest friend's Lydia called me to tell me she had throat cancer. I had seen her a few weeks before and she told me she had been having bouts of Laryngitis but now she had a diagnosis. It was staged zero. It had not yet spread. I cried into the phone with her but also here. I was finding this out while writing an article about a man who had throat cancer. I called up kilmer and told him about Lydia. I asked if he had any advice to give her he did. Kilmer told me that she could have a healing at any minute. It could happen right now or when? She's on her way to the hospital or even while a doctor is operating on her. I called her and told her this. And it made us both Giddy for some reason but then a few days later. Her surgery was postponed because of the corona virus. And we aren't sure even as of this writing when it will happen and now her cancer might spread. I felt stupid for trying to find meaning and hope in what was happening to Lydia. I felt stupid for trying to make this into a story for her and for us in just two weeks. The Palm Tree is against the bright blue sky that hung over helm L. Seemed like something. I made up as weird to think about as a Batman figure with the Mark Twain head. Was that even real? I searched my phone and found a picture of it few by now. I understood that the story I was telling about. Val kilmer which I thought had been about a man's relentless faith and optimism was really about reconciliation the squaring of two opposing things into something. We swear is true. Despite all evidence to the contrary your beauty can sentence you to misery. Val kilmer uses a TRACHEOSTOMY TUBE. But he can talk. His brother is dead but only to our senses. Mark Twain Despised Mary Baker Eddy until you can will him into a dream where he doesn't God is good and there are no ventilators. My beautiful friend has cancer and the treatment exists but it's unavailable to her right now. Here's the thing. Mark Twain Kilmer's favourite storyteller thought that storytelling couldn't and shouldn't try to capture an entire life to draw its arc to determine its meaning. He was suspicious of the kind of autobiography that Ben Franklin had done he thought it should just be a mishmash of remembrances told not even in the right order less person be tempted to force a story into a certain direction and make themselves more sympathetic character than they deserve. Here's another thing. I spoke to his daughter Mercedes. Who told me that? She did have a miraculous recovery but that bone in her face had been broken and that she was in a wheelchair for a month and required major surgery. I spoke to Val kilmer one more time while we were on the phone. I stared at my painting. The divers diving in over and over. What is what is ocean. And I tried to remember how I felt when it was beside me in Los Angeles in the passenger seat if the rental car kilmer told me that he and Boise. We're going to get in a car and drive to New Mexico where he still has one hundred sixty acres of land. Meanwhile Tom Cruise tweeted that. The top gun sequel was moving to December. Two of my colleagues were in the hospital and another husband lay in his bed gasping for breath. I attended a Zoom Shiva for a friend's mother who was buried alone. Peter Beard lay in the woods weeks away from being found the VAL kilmer gifts snapped. It's draw over and over forever in a text message. Lydia waited by the phone though she had not been told to expect a call and Val kilmer planned his road trip into the desert This was recorded by autumn. Autumn is an APP. You can download to listen to lots of audio stories from publishers such as The New York Times a payroll and HR company needs to be prepared for whatever's going to happen. You could say that. Over seventy years of experience helping businesses all over the world run. Smoothly is good preparation but for ADP. That's not enough to make sure. Millions of people are getting paid on time and incompliance were staying on top of each new piece of legislation. So it comes down to it. Adp isn't just a payroll and HR company. We're the company that helps you navigate the complexities. Adp HR talent time benefits and payroll informed by data in designed for people.