Val Kilmer Played A Great Top Gun Prank On Tom Cruise Back In The Day

Val Kilmer as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky in Top Gun (1984)

Top Gun has stood the test of time for a multitude of reasons, but the biggest is arguably the chemistry between leads Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Audiences seemed to connect with the rivalry and friendship between Cruise’s Maverick and Kilmer’s Iceman. Off camera, the two actors had a good rapport, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any pranking on set.

Val Kilmer recently recalled pulling a prank on Tom Cruise during time making Top Gun. The prank would ultimately end with Kilmer giving his co-star a nice gift, but he made Cruise jump through quite a few hoops to get it:

Tom is a comrade I respect and admire, though as creatures we hail from galaxies far, far away from one another. My favorite moment between us was a small prank in which I gave him an extremely expensive bottle of champagne but placed it in the middle of a giant field and made him follow scavenger-hunt-style clues to find it. I hid behind a bleacher and watched him lug the giant crate to his motorcycle. He never did thank me for the Iceman-style bit. I thought it would break the ice, but I guess the ice was just right.

Val Kilmer shared this story in his new memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, with this passage being shared with The Daily Beast. This may not seem like the biggest “gotcha” in prank history, especially given Tom Cruise’s love of physical challenges. Still, you have to admire Kilmer’s creativity.

Despite having some fun with Cruise, Kilmer has nothing but good memories when it comes to their time working on Top Gun. As a matter of fact, he actually felt a bit sorry for Cruise, as Kilmer and his other co-stars would be off having fun while Cruise was filming scenes.

What’s even more surprising is that the two probably wouldn’t have worked together if Val Kilmer had been given his way. The actor originally didn’t want to star in Top Gun, even though the director wanted him and both he and Cruise had the same agent.

Now, Kilmer doesn’t regret his decision to sign on at all and had expressed interest in doing a follow-up for years. After the sequel – Top Gun: Maverick – was announced, he eagerly campaigned to join the cast.

The relationship between Maverick and Iceman was a focal point throughout Top Gun, but it became even more pivotal after the death of Maverick’s best friend, Goose. The status of their relationship in Top Gun: Maverick is currently unknown, but director Joseph Kosinski can’t wait for fans to see how their bond has evolved.

While it’s comforting to know that Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise got along swimmingly on the set of Top Gun, the fact that Kilmer's “Iceman-style” behavior was present off camera is cool to hear. We’ll see how much growing up their characters have done when Top Gun: Maverick soars into theaters on December 23.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.