Val Kilmer has been in the battle of his life since being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. His life story, presented by years of video footage he took during his successful career, is chronicled in the new Amazon Prime documentary, Val, but the actor was not able to promote the film. Instead, his two adult children from his marriage to Joanne Whalley, daughter Mercedes Kilmer, 29, and son Jack Kilmer, 26, took on the honors of representing their dad at the red carpet premiere on Tuesday night.
Because cancer has affected his vocal cords, it is difficult for him to speak — which is probably why he chose to have his kids take on the challenges of the press line. (See photos at the Daily Mail.) While Mercedes told ET that her dad is doing “really well”, Jack shared that Val was there “in spirit and he’s just so proud of this and that people get to see a side of him that has never been seen before.”
Val’s son also plays a significant role in the documentary, narrating some of his dad’s work, which brought the two of them closer together. “There is a scene in the movie where he comes into the studio and I am there and we embrace and it was sort of a surprise for him and it was something that it really means a lot to him,” Jack revealed.
This isn’t the first time Mercedes and Jack represented their dad, who stepped away from the limelight even before his health crisis. The siblings went to the Cannes Film Festival in early July to make sure the family was there to support Val and the story he wants to share with the world. “We used to get so annoyed with him filming us all the time,” Mercedes told Deadline at the festival. “And then I remember getting to be about 12 and realizing what he does and being like, ‘Oh, he’s a filmmaker.’”
The documentary is obviously very personal to Val and his family — and they are promoting the film to honor their father’s legacy as he continues to battle the cancer that robbed him of his voice, but not his creativity.
Val premieres on Amazon Prime beginning Aug. 6.