The long awaited sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster has been shattering expectations since it launched into the theaters. But Val Kilmer’s return as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky was an undeniable highlight for many. And it’s all thanks to artificial intelligence.
Kilmer’s appearance in the movie was a big question mark at first. The actor lost his ability to speak after going through throat cancer treatment in 2014. But instead of leaving "Iceman" and Kilmer out of the sequel, the writers used Kilmer’s story into the character. In “Top Gun: Maverick,” Kilemer's character also has cancer and, for the majority of his brief time in the film, communicates with Maverick by typing.
However, Kilmer does have one emotional line of dialogue, which needed a unique partnership between the actor and Sonantic, a voice synthesis company. With an A.I. and the hours of voice recordings of Val Kilmer, they were able to generate a voice model that is a vocal clone of the actor. And that is how "Iceman" found his voice again. This incredible technique might help the actor with future projects.