During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this month, Cruise, 60, opened up about getting to work with Kilmer, 63, on the highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 film. “I just want to say that was pretty emotional,” the New York native told host Jimmy Kimmel after watching a clip from the 2022 movie.
Cruise continued: “I’ve known Val for decades, and for him to come back and play that character … he’s such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again. You’re just looking at Iceman.”
When Kimmel, 55, asked whether Cruise shed any real tears during the heartfelt scene, the Golden Globe winner confessed, “I was crying. … I got emotional. He’s such a brilliant actor, I love his work.”
Cruise and Kilmer play Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, respectively, in the Top Gun sequel, reprising their characters from the original movie. Mitchell turns to Kazansky for advice about how to handle a secret — and risky — mission.
Top Gun: Maverick became a smash hit when it debuted in theaters last spring — but it wasn’t only a success with fans. The action drama earned a nomination for Best Picture at the 2023 Academy Awards, along with nods for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects.
The sequel — which also stars Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis and Jennifer Connelly — was more than 30 years in the making. When it comes to a third film in the franchise, however, Cruise gets the final say.
“That would be great, but that’s all up to TC,” Teller, 36, told Entertainment Tonight in July 2022. “It’s all up to Tom. I’ve been having some conversations with him about it. We’ll see.”
The Footloose actor went on to praise Cruise for bringing back Top Gun to be enjoyed by a new generation. “For him to share Top Gun with me and a lot of these other young actors, it’s just been such a wild ride, and it’s still going,” he gushed. “That’s definitely what my team has been saying for these future negotiations.”
That same month, Kilmer helped his longtime pal ring in his milestone 60th birthday with a celebratory social media upload. “Happy Birthday Mav @TomCruise from Ice!” the True Romance actor, who went public with his throat cancer diagnosis in 2017, tweeted at the time.
Powell, 34, joined in on the festivities with a message of his own. “This is 60,” the Set It Up actor tweeted. “TC, there is just no one like you. Keep hangin’ in there. Happy Birthday! @TomCruise.”