Val Kilmer takes on his new role: Mark Twain

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Val Kilmer is a familiar face in Hollywood. He’s played Ice Man in “Top Gun,” Doc Holliday in “Tombstone,” Jim Morrison in “The Doors,” even Moses on stage.

Val Kilmer as Mark Twain. Photo by Neil Jacobs.

Now Kilmer will embody the spirit of one of America’s great men of letters, Mark Twain. “Citizen Twain,” which Kilmer wrote, directed and stars in, begins a limited two weekend run tonight at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Kilmer explained that he came up with the idea for the one-man show while working on a film about the relationship between Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.

Although the two never met in person, Kilmer said the premise of his film is that he’s trying very actively to meet her. “He was very vain and very social,” Kilmer explained. “And so my conceit is that it bothered him that she didn’t ever make time to meet him.”

Kilmer was raised a Christian Scientist, so this material is familiar with him. His interest in dramatizing these characters is “a respect for the individual that enabled two characters like this to come from nothing, and they rose to national and international prominence through their own searing curiosity and dedication to understand themselves and their fellow man,” Kilmer said.

KCRW Talks to Val Kilmer About His New Role, Mark Twain by KCRW