Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando co-starred in the ill-fated 1996 film The Island of Dr. Moreau. While the screen adaptation of H. G. Wells’ 1896 science fiction novel was met with a lot of negative criticism, it featured two of Hollywood’s biggest properties.
Kilmer shared his positive experience working with Brando in the film, which is quite surprising knowing the actor had a reputation for being difficult to work with, especially on set. There were also reports that they had several conflicts while shooting scenes together.
Val Kilmer Praised Marlon Brando Amid Accusations That He’s A Nightmare To Work With
During a Reddit Ask Me Anything segment, actor Val Kilmer only said good things about the late actor Marlon Brando while recalling his experience in The Island of Dr. Moreau:
“Brando was everything you want the major icon in your world to be, a genius and a gentleman. I was getting divorced at the time, and he was so gracious about offering me time and considered thought. He offered to call my ex on behalf of the children. He was one of the funniest men on earth. I still laugh out loud about some of the things he said and did.”
Interestingly, during the production of the movie, Brando was still reportedly problematic to deal with because his daughter just died before filming had begun. He would often get into trouble with the cast and crew, which would lead him and Kilmer into conflict, and would even refuse to shoot scenes together.
Brando’s behavior also gave the production team of Apocalypse Now a headache. He would arrive on the set weeks after the date he was supposed to begin. The actor almost had a fistfight with co-star Dennis Hopper, with the former demanding not to put them together on the set at the same time.
Superman star Christopher Reeve was also not a fan of Brando’s work etiquette. He has expressed disappointment working with the Jor-El actor after he refused to memorize his lines and just went in there for the money. Reeve said in a 1982 interview with David Letterman via The Hollywood Reporter:
“I don’t say this to be vicious, but I don’t worship at the altar of Marlon Brando, because I feel he’s copped out in a certain way. What happened is the press loved him whether he was good, bad, or indifferent; that people just thought he was an institution no matter what he did, so he doesn’t care anymore.”
Reeve used to admire Brando’s works, but after working with him, he was clearly turned off and refused to collaborate with The Godfather star in any future projects.
Val Kilmer Called Marlon Brando Great Yet Misunderstood
In the same Reddit AMA, Val Kilmer continued to praise Marlon Brando and defended the actor from accusations that he was stressful to work with on the set of The Island of Dr. Moreau. He wrote:
“I worked like a dog to make that film as entertaining as I could because it was such a privilege to work with the greatest. He was not really respected tho, and the film suffered greatly by not taking his suggestions. He always took major chances, and that true daring always makes people nervous. He would improv, which I love, but they wouldn’t film it or use what often did do. To be that great and that misunderstood. So sad… But I am so glad I did it.”
The Island of Dr. Moreau only grossed over $49 million against a budget of $40 million, making it a massive box office flop and one of Kilmer’s worst movies ever.