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Val Kilmer no longer sounds like the Val Kilmer of the 1980s and 1990s, who has virtually gone from the screen. He hasn’t since his tracheostomy was removed. He can still get the air up through his windpipe and through the hole in his neck and the tracheostomy tube, making him understandable — not tremendously, but slightly.

The sound is somewhere between a squeak and a roar without a voice. He claims that the fact that I can understand him is due to the numerous vocal exercises he was instructed to perform at Juilliard after high school, where he was taught to work his voice “like a trumpet.” He despised the dictatorial authority at Juilliard and the dumb voice exercises. Look at him now, still playing his favorite instrument when it should be rendered obsolete by all rights.

Know More Facts About Val Kilmer’s Life

All of Val Kilmer‘s stories are like this, with the same dash of predetermined fate. He was traveling in Africa in 1994 when he decided to spend the morning exploring a bat cave; later that day, literally that day, he was inspired to call his agent, who had been trying to contact Kilmer for weeks to see if he was interested in playing Batman now that Michael Keaton had hung up the phone. Another story: Before meeting his (now ex-) wife, Joanne Whalley, he dreamed that he met the lady he was meant for and woke up instantly writing a poem called “We’ve Just Met but Marry Me Please.”

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Then he traveled to London, and while there, he witnessed a play in which Whalley was a character. He was so smitten by her that he followed her to the bar after-party just to gaze at her. This was insane even for him, so he remained still. But two years later, in 1987, she was cast randomly accidentally serendipitously alongside him in “Willow,” and they married.

So, sure, he can talk, and it’s a miracle that he has these talents because if you have enough faith, you’ll realize how everything in your life is simply a component of a broader picture. Nothing is an accident, and everything is wonderful.

The final shop is a door that leads to HelMel’s Willy Wonka core. There’s a podcasting studio, a cafe, and a screening room on the inside. HelMel also houses TwainMania, a charity founded by Val and Koepenick, to bring the Mark Twain curriculum into schools. As part of a program called Inner City Shakespeare, high school students from South Central Los Angeles practice “Hamlet” and other plays there twice a week. Hemel began hosting events in February, including a screening of “Tombstone” and an Echo in the Canyon performance. It is the creative incubator of Kilmer’s dreams, realizing a vision he had always anticipated for his 6,000-acre ranch in New Mexico before losing most of it in the 2008 housing meltdown.

Kilmer hoped to premiere the short film at South by Southwest in a few weeks. It was the beginning of March. Festivals, concerts, and even air travel were rumored to be canceled. Kilmer felt that even if he and his team couldn’t fly, they could still drive to Austin and film “Mark Twain Dreams of the Resurrection” and, I’m not sure, will the festival into existence.


He was unfazed by all the signs and portents that suggested the world was collapsing; he felt that if he could get the picture finished and over to Austin, the rest would take care of itself.


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