Val Kilmer
General Information
Birth Name: Val Edward Kilmer
Birth Date: 31st December 1959
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California
Death Date: N/A
Character(s): Batman

Val Kilmer portrayed Batman in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever.


In December 1993, Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher had seen Tombstone and was most impressed with Kilmer's performance. Schumacher felt him to be perfect for Batman, though at the time, the role was still Michael Keaton's.[1]

In July 1994, Keaton decided not to return for a third Batman film after 1992's Batman Returns,[2] due to "creative differences."[1] William Baldwin (who previously worked with Schumacher on Flatliners) was reported to be a top contender, though just days after Keaton dropped out, Kilmer was cast.[2] Kilmer took the role without even knowing who the new director was and without reading the script.[1]

Released in June 1995, Batman Forever was a success at the box office, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. There was debate about the performance of Kilmer; some critics charged that Kilmer, while physically fit to play Batman, more so than Keaton had been, gave a wooden performance as Bruce Wayne. Other critics, such as Roger Ebert, had kinder words for Kilmer. Batman creator Bob Kane said in a Cinescape interview that of all the actors to have played Batman up to that point, he felt Kilmer had given the best interpretation. Film critic Leonard Maltin (who heavily criticized the dark tone contained in Batman Returns) complimented Kilmer's portrayal when he reviewed the film as well as being very favorable of Batman Forever as a whole. Defenders of Batman Forever praised the film for portraying Batman as a more heroic, less ruthless, and more human character than in the Tim Burton films. The film also brought the film interpretation of Bruce Wayne more into line with his comic book counterpart, showing him as a seasoned celebrity of the media and a very public figure rather than the neurotic recluse of the two previous films.

In February 1996, Kilmer decided not to return for another Batman feature film, feeling that Batman was being marginalized in favor of the villains.[3] Kilmer went on to do The Saint with a salary of $6 million.[3] George Clooney replaced Kilmer as Batman in 1997's Batman & Robin.


Starred in Top Secret! with Batman Forever co-star Michael Gough.

Significant RolesEdit

  • William in Body Heat (1981)
  • Nick Rivers in Top Secret! (1984)
  • Lt. Tom "Iceman" Kazanski in Top Gun (1986)
  • William Bonney in Billy the Kid (1989)
  • Jim Morrison in The Doors (1991)
  • Ray Levoi in Thunderheart (1992)
  • Doc Holiday in Tombstone (1993)
  • Batman in Batman Forever (1995)
  • Chris Shiherlis in Heat (1995)
  • Montgomery in The Island of Dr Moreau (1996)
  • Simon Templar in The Saint (1997)
  • Robby Gallager in Red Planet (2000)
  • Phillip II in Alexander (2004)
  • KITT (voice) in Knight Rider (2008)
  • Wyatt Earp in Wyat Earp's Revenge (2012)

Characters portrayed by Val Kilmer in the Batman UniverseEdit

External linksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nathan, Ian (August 1995). "Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, Kilmer", Empire, pp. 108–117. Retrieved on November 20, 2007November 20, 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gordinier, Jeff (July 15, 1994). "Next At Batman", Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on October 14, 2007October 14, 2007. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "A Tights Squeeze", Entertainment Weekly (March 8, 1996). Retrieved on September 17, 2007September 17, 2007. 

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