Val Kilmer's Voice in Top Gun: How AI recreated his voice

In the brand new movie “Top Gun: Maverick,” Artificial Intelligence was used to recreate the voice of Val Kilmer’s character, Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.

Written by
Torbjørn Flensted
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April 24, 2024

I have not seen the new Top Gun movie yet (will do it on Friday), but from what I have read, the AI did a fantastic job and you would never know that it was not Val Kilmer himself speaking.

The AI was fed with hours of audio recordings of Val Kilmer and then it created a digital version of his voice.

Val Kilmer lost the ability to speak after undergoing throat cancer treatment in 2014.

Kilmer had partnered with Sonantic to create an AI-powered speaking voice that sounds just like him. The company used algorithms to create a model of the actor's speaking voice, using hours of archival footage of the actor speaking.

Here you can hear a clip of the AI voice of Val Kilmer:

In June 2022 the streaming giant Spotify acquired Sonantic that created the AI-voice of Val Kilmer. Spotify says that they see “several potential opportunities for text-to-speech capabilities across our platform”.

This technology could have a major impact on how voices and sound are made in the future, as it opens up the possibility of recreating the voices of musicians or actors who have died or who are no longer able to speak.

With every groundbreaking technology that moves fast, ethical questions have to be asked. And this new sound technology is no different. There are questions about how this technology will be used and whether people’s identities can be stolen using AI-generated voice.

The same ethical questions go for AI-generated text, which can be used to create fake reviews, spread misinformation, or generate spam. We all have to use technology responsibly and make sure that we don’t abuse it.

FAQs on Val Kilmer's Voice

Can Val Kilmer talk?

No, due to intensive throat cancer treatments, Val Kilmer's ability to speak or talk has been significantly compromised.

Who made the Val Kilmer voice in "Top Gun: Maverick"?

Sonantic, a pioneering voice technology firm, collaborated with Kilmer to produce the AI-rendered voice for his character in the film.

Did Val Kilmer speak in the original "Top Gun"?

Yes, Val Kilmer had speaking roles and delivered lines in his character in the original "Top Gun" film.

How did Val Kilmer lose his voice?

Val Kilmer underwent rigorous treatments for throat cancer, including chemotherapy and tracheotomies, which adversely impacted his vocal clarity and ability.

How was the AI voice technology used for Val Kilmer in "Top Gun: Maverick"?

Sonantic processed extensive audio recordings of Val Kilmer using advanced Artificial Intelligence methodologies to generate a high-fidelity digital voice model for his character, Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.

What potential does this voice-recreation technology hold for the future?

The innovative voice-recreation technology can revolutionize various sectors, from resurrecting voices of iconic personalities to myriad applications in digital media and communication. Its ethical use is paramount.

How has Val Kilmer reacted to the AI voice recreation?

Kilmer expressed profound gratitude to Sonantic, emphasizing the unparalleled capability of their technology in restoring his voice, which he felt resonated as both "authentic" and "familiar."

Which major company recognized the potential of voice technology and acquired Sonantic?

Spotify, foreseeing the transformative potential of voice technology, strategically acquired Sonantic.

Are there ethical concerns associated with AI-generated voices?

Yes, the rise of AI-generated voices poses intricate ethical challenges. These range from potential voice identity theft to the generation of misleading content and misinformation, underscoring the importance of ethically deploying this technology.

Val Kilmer's Voice in Top Gun: How AI recreated his voice

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Passionate SEO expert, Torbjørn Flensted, boasts two decades of industry experience. As the founder of and having run an SEO agency for 13 years, he's spent the last decade pioneering cutting-edge tools, transforming how agencies and professionals approach Search Engine Optimization.