The Iceman cometh, thanks to some persistence from Cruise, says producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Val Kilmer returns to the danger zone in this year's "Top Gun: Maverick," a sequel Tom Cruise apparently pushed for him to be a part of.
The movie will be released 25 years after the 1986 original and was in production amid Kilmer's throat cancer battle and recovery. According to an interview with PEOPLE, producer Jerry Bruckheimer said Cruise was "adamant" Kilmer return as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's rival, LT Tom "Iceman" Kazansky.
"He said, 'We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'" said the producer. "And he was the driving force. We all wanted him, but Tom was really adamant that if he's going to make another 'Top Gun,' Val had to be in it."
"He's such a fine actor, and he's such a good individual," Bruckheimer added of Kilmer. "We had such a good time on the first one and wanted to bring some of the gang back together again."
"It was a really emotional experience for all of us," he said, adding that the costars reunion on set was "very emotional" as well. "It was a long time getting there, but we did."
In his memoir "I Am Your Huckleberry," Kilmer admitted he wasn't interested in the movie when it was first brought to him in the '80s. "The story didn't interest me," he wrote, adding that he actually felt "deflated" after he landed the role.
He also claimed that he reached out to producers to get him into "Maverick" with a pitch to include Iceman. "The producers went for it. Cruise went for it. Cruise couldn't have been cooler," he wrote.
The movie was originally supposed to drop on July 12, 2019, before getting pushed to June 2020. It was a few more times due to Covid and will, at least at the time this article was published, be released on November 19, 2021.