Next week, actor Val Kilmer co-stars in Ric Roman Waugh’s prison drama Felon, playing a life-long jailed convict named John Smith, who is almost unrecognizable as Kilmer unless you squint and look past the tattoos and the extra weight the actor put on. It could possibly be one of his finest screen performances he’s given and a shocking departure for the busy actor.
When ComingSoon.net spoke to Kilmer about the movie, we threw in a couple questions about other things he’ll be working on this summer, including his part in Werner Herzog’s crime drama Bad Lieutenant, which will be shooting soon down in New Orleans. Kilmer told us (in an almost-perfect impression of Herzog’s unmistakably German accent) “I’m on my way to suffer. No one makes me so excited to suffer. ‘The depravity of Katrina, that is only the beginning of the pain you will feel,’ and then (Werner) smiles. Once again I play a narcotics detective in Katrina-torn New Orleans. It’s becoming a habit with me. I’m really happy to go down there. I tried to do what I could after Katrina and made several trips, not affiliated with any film, just trying to help out.”
He also told us how he got roped into providing the voice for KITT, the sentient car in the recent television movie and soon to be returning series “Knight Rider.” “It was a really weird happy accident,” he said. “It was very strange just because they called me, not Wednesday afternoon, it was Wednesday about 8:30 at night. I live in the wilderness and my private phone just never rings because if you know me, you call the cell because I travel a lot. It was ringing and I looked at the phone like, ‘That’s really weird. Someone’s calling me.’ Went over, picked it up and it was the agency saying, ‘Do you want to be the voice of KITT?’ and I said, ‘I remember that show. It was a fun when I was a kid, sure. Should I do a tape?’ ‘No, it’s not an audition. They’re offering it to you.’ I said, ‘When?’ ‘Tomorrow at 7:00.’ What had happened and I can’t take any credit for it at all, is that the actor Will Arnett, someone had seen him on the commercial for a car company and called him up and said, ‘I think we have a problem.’ He’d signed, done the job and been paid for it, but then they found out his voice is owned for another car company, which they found out by accident.”
We asked if this was something he would continue doing with the upcoming “Knight Rider” series that was picked up after the success of the TV movie. “It is, they did and I am,” he responded. “I’m doing it right now. I haven’t done it yet, but I do the whole show in 3 or 4 hours.”
You can see more of Kilmer (and not just in voice) in Felon, which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, July 18. The new “Knight Rider” series will be airing on NBC starting September 24.