There are some actors that are prepared to sacrifice their bodies, their social life, and their relationships with friends and relatives just to make their performances more convincing. One of them is Val Kilmer. He took method acting to the extreme while preparing for the role of Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors.
He wanted to make his performance as authentic as possible when he was cast to play the role of Jim Morrison in the film The Doors. For a start, he decided to learn 50 of Morrison’s songs. Kilmer allegedly spent many hours in the studio listening to Doors songs and learning in depth Morrison’s approach to each song.
The Doors is a biographical film about the band with the same name and in its focus is the life of their lead singer, Jim Morrison. It depicts 1960s rock and roll and the hippie lifestyle. And, of course, the controversial life of Jim Morrison up to his death at the age of 27. Although the film itself received mixed reviews, Kilmer’s performance was praised as one of the best performances of the year. Val Kilmer was chosen to play the part of the larger-than-life rock star of the 1960s, while Meg Ryan was cast as his life partner, Pamela Courson.
Val Kilmer admits he’d never been a real Doors fan but he still wanted to get the role. He had a meeting with Oliver Stone and he managed to impress him. Oliver Stone thought that the actor had the right look for the role.
Prior to the audition, Val Kilmer spent thousands of dollars to produce his own video, shot in his rented Laurel Canyon home with professional assistance in order to get the role. Oliver Stone wasn’t impressed with the video, but the producer Paul Rothchild found the home video more intriguing and he convinced Oliver Stone that Val was the right person for the role.
Prior to production, Val Kilmer lived just like Jim Morrison for a year, dressing in his clothes and listening to his music. He even copied the way he walked and behaved. The actor also spent hundreds of hours interrogating Paul Rothchild, a producer for the iconic rock band and a consultant on the film. Eventually, he knew more about Jim than anybody in the film crew.
Val Kilmer was getting so obsessed with the role that, by the end of filming, he had everyone on set referring to him as “Jim,” all of the time.
When members of The Doors heard Kilmer singing their songs, they could not tell the difference between his voice and Morrison’s.
When he finished filming he had to go to therapy because it was hard for him to get out of the character. That is how far he went just to “get it right.”
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