February 10, 2009

Val Kilmer said what?

Val Kilmer, who starred in Top Gun, Top Secret!, Real Genius, Heat and Tombstone, is reportedly thinking about jumping into politics in a big way.

According to The Hill:

Kilmer is strongly considering a run for New Mexico governor in 2011 when Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson will be term-limited out of office.

He told The Hill at Monday’s Huffington Post party at the Newseum that he has been approached to run for the highest office of the state where he owns a ranch and has family roots.

“Actually, they’ve asked me to run for governor,” he said, not specifying who “they” are. “People seem to want me to.”

Speculation has swirled for months that Kilmer will run to succeed Richardson, and Kilmer said nothing that would have tamped down those expectations.

“I love my state and I love the people,” Kilmer said.

When asked by a reporter if he was giving a “strong maybe” for a run for governor, Kilmer agreed.

“That’s what it is,” he said.

The actor who succeeded Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader could have a problem, however. He’s been a prominent support of Ralph Nader’s independent bid for the White House, and gave money to Nader, and not President Obama, in 2008.

Richardson publicly declared his support for a potential Kilmer candidacy last year, and on Monday the actor returned the praise to the current governor, who now plans to stay put after an ongoing ethics investigation forced him to decline President Obama’s invitation to become Commerce secretary.

If successful, Kilmer would join California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), first known for his leading roles in the “Terminator” film series, as another current big Hollywood name switching over to politics.

I have to admit being biased against most actors seeking to tell the rest of us how to live their lives, backed by the power of the State, but I've never really heard much about Kilmer's political proclivities, never really heard him say anything stupendously stupid.

But then again, I never read Chuck Klosterman's interview with the actor; it appeared in Esquire in July 2005.

I suspect that this portion will effectively kill off his political ambitions -- as well as film career, at least amongst veterans, their friends and family.

[Val Kilmer is] weird in ways that are expected, and he's weird in ways that are not. I anticipated that he might seem a little odd when we talked about acting, mostly because a) Kilmer is a Method actor, and b) all Method actors are insane. However, I did not realize how much insanity this process truly required. That started to become clear when I asked him about The Doors and Wonderland, two movies in which Kilmer portrays acutely self-destructive drug addicts.

Late in Wonderland, he wordlessly (and desperately) waits for someone to offer him cocaine in a manner that seems excruciatingly authentic. I ask if he ever went through a drug phase for real. He says no. He says he's never freebased cocaine in his life but that he understands the mind-set of addiction. The conversation evolves into a meditation on the emotional toll that acting takes on the artist. I ask him about the "toll" that he felt while making the 1993 western Tombstone. He starts talking about things that happened to Doc Holliday. I say, "No, no, you must have misunderstood me. I want to know about the toll it took on you." He says, "I know, I'm talking about those feelings." And this is the conversation that follows:

Me: You mean you think you literally had the same experience as Doc Holliday?

Kilmer: Oh, sure. It's not like I believed that I shot somebody, but I absolutely know what it feels like to pull the trigger and take someone's life.

You understand how it feels to shoot someone as much as a person who has actually committed a murder?

I understand it more. It's an actor's job. A guy who's lived through the horror of Vietnam has not spent his life preparing his mind for it. He's some punk. Most guys were borderline criminal or poor, and that's why they got sent to Vietnam. It was all the poor, wretched kids who got beat up by their dads, guys who didn't get on the football team, couldn't finagle a scholarship. They didn't have the emotional equipment to handle that experience. But this is what an actor trains to do. I can more effectively represent that kid in Vietnam than a guy who was there.

I don't question that you can more effectively represent it, but that's not the same thing. If you were talking to someone who's in prison for murder and the guy said, "Man, it really fucks you up to kill another person," do you think you could reasonably say, "I completely know what you're talking about"?

Oh yeah. I'd know what he's talking about.


Okay, so let's assume you had been given the lead role in The Passion of the Christ. Would you understand the feeling of being crucified as much as Jesus?

Well, I just played Moses [in a theatrical version of The Ten Commandments]. Of course.

So you understand the experience of being Moses? Maybe I'm just taking your words too literally.

No, I don't think so. That's what acting is.

I keep asking Kilmer if he is joking, and he swears he is not.

Kilmer may not have been joking, but he is both insane and deeply contemptuous of the American GI. What a reprehensible creature.

Posted by Mike Lief at February 10, 2009 08:52 PM | TrackBack


I'm a liberal and even I think this guy is a total maniac. Those statements about the Vietnam vet are elitist and totally delusional. Very fun post.

Posted by: I Live Green at February 10, 2009 10:42 PM

I'm hopeful that Johnny Depp and Susan Sarandon will also move to New Mexico to run for governor. Politics worth watching.

Posted by: The Little Coach at February 11, 2009 09:11 AM

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