LOS ANGELES - JUNE 22:  Actor Val Kilmer attends the premiere of the Sony film "Spider-Man 2" on June 22, 2004 at the Mann Village Theater, in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Val Kilmer Had A Secret Weapon Working On Tombstone
A trick actors often use when preparing biographical films is to spend time with the person they’re portraying, but what do they do when that person has been dead for years? While there are plenty of resources to draw on, Val Kilmer had a secret weapon he used for his iconic role as the enigmatic gunfighter Doc Holiday in the 1993 Western, “Tombstone.”
Kilmer used Holiday’s upbringing in the Southern aristocracy as a launching point for developing the character and revealed he worked with speech coach Tim Monich. He shared, “I told him I needed a dialect that didn’t exist anymore and within days, there was a tape at my doorstep of a true Southern aristocrat who spoke so slowly and precisely about the theater he had restored.”
As Kilmer explained, mastering the dialect was essential, “It informs even the walk, the thought process, his condescension.” Doc Holiday’s impending death from tuberculosis also impacted Kilmer getting into his character’s mindset, saying in his memoir, “I saw Doc’s situation as dire. I also saw his action as defiance in the face of death. I loved him.”