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Val Kilmer Opens Up About Working with Daughter Mercedes After His Tracheotomy on GMA

For Top Gun fans, Val Kilmer is immortalized as Iceman — but for his family, Kilmer’s just their dad, and one with whom they’d like to spend as much time as possible. After a battle with throat cancer and subsequent tracheotomy detailed in his 2020 memoir I’m Your Huckleberry, Kilmer is back in the movie-making game, and he’s got his family by his side. His daughter Mercedes is making her screen debut at age 28 with new film Paydirt, in which she stars alongside dad Val. On Good Morning America, the duo opened up about what working looks like for him with his new communication needs — and yes, whether he can tell us anything about the upcoming Top Gun reboot.

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To kick things off, Val clarified that we shouldn’t take the new sound of his voice as an indication of how he’s feeling. “I’m doing great, I feel a lot better than I sound,” he quipped.

And Mercedes was more than ready to vouch for her dad being back on his feet. “Playing his daughter was so trippy and perfect,” she said. “I’m so proud to have been in this film and to have worked on this film, not just because my dad is my actual dad, but because — I know you don’t really lead with this, but you do have now a disability with your voice, and it really meant a lot to me to be able to be involved in this film that centers a disabled actor, or an actor with a disability.”

For Kilmer, the challenge of figuring out how to communicate and work within these new constraints felt similar to other challenges he’d faced as an actor. “It’s just like any other language or dialect,” he said. “You have to figure out a way to communicate that’s no different than any other acting challenge but it’s just a very unique set of circumstances.”

These circumstances are definitely unique — but if anyone can get through them, it’s Iceman. And speaking of him, Kilmer had a riddle-like comment about that reboot: “My hair is not the same length,” he shared, and: “Iceman has not become Ice Monk.”

Do with that what you will.

Click here to see celebrity kids who are all grown up, then and now.

Kaia Gerber and Presley Gerber

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