Val Kilmer’s Voice Will Be Reconstructed With AI In New ‘Top Gun’ After His Brave Throat Cancer Battle – SurvivorNet

Understanding Throat Cancer

  • Actor and throat cancer survivor Val Kilmer will return to the big screen on May 27, 2022, with the premier of Top Gun: Maverick.
  • Thanks to the company Sonatic, his voice will be recreated using artificial intelligence since his voice was damaged after throat cancer treatment.
  • Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer where cancerous cells begin in the throat, voice box or tonsils. It is an HPV-related cancer. To reduce the risk of your children developing HPV or an HPV-related cancer, make sure they get the HPV vaccine, particularly between ages 9 and 12.

With the Top Gun: Maverick release date inching closer and closer, fans are itching for actor Val Kilmer’s return to the big screen. Only this time, the throat cancer survivor’s voice will be recreated using artificial intelligence.

The highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun will be released on May 27, 2022, and Kilmer will be a part of the action. But given that he’s used a voice box to speak since his throat cancer battle, the 62-year-old actor’s voice will be returning to film in a different way.

RELATED: Actor Val Kilmer Is Getting His Voice Back Through Artificial Intelligence: ‘It’s An Incredibly Special Gift’

Sonantic has gathered decades of old voice clips and audio recordings of Kilmer in order to bring his voice back to life. According to the company, Sonatic was contacted by Kilmer’s team to see if they could use their artificial intelligence software to recreate Kilmer’s voice for upcoming creative work. In a statement, Kilmer said Sonantic “restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible.”

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“We all have the capacity to be creative,” Kilmer said in a video by Sonatic. “We’re all driven to share our deepest dreams and ideas with the world. When we think of the most talented, creative people, they speak to us in a unique way. A phrase we often hear is ‘having a creative voice.’ But I was struck by throat cancer. After getting treated, my voice as I knew it was taken away from me.”

He then went on to say that people around him struggled to understand him when he talks, but that hasn’t changed who he is as a person.

“I still feel I’m the exact same person, still the same creative soul,” he said. “A soul that dreams ideas and stories constantly. But now I can express myself again, I can bring these dreams to you, and show you this part of myself once more. A part that was never truly gone, just hiding away.”

Val Kilmer’s Cancer Journey

Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015 but didn’t speak publicly about the disease until 2017. He wasn’t considering conventional treatment at first, thinking his Christian Science faith would heal the tumors, but he eventually agreed to undergo chemotherapy for the sake of his children – Mercedes, 30, and Jack, 26, whom he had with his ex-wife, English actress Joanne Whalley, 60. He also underwent a tracheotomy – a surgical procedure that connects the windpipe to a hole in the front of the neck – which greatly impacted his speaking voice.

And though he originally kept his cancer battle out of the public eye, Kilmer eventually shared more about his journey through interviews, his memoir I’m Your Huckleberry and his documentary, Val, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

“I have been healed of cancer for over four years now, and there has never been any recurrence,” he wrote in I’m Your Huckleberry. “I am so grateful.”

Understanding Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer where cancerous cells begin in the throat, voice box or tonsils. Some of the main risk factors for this disease include smoking, drinking alcohol, a diet lacking in fruits or vegetables, acid reflux disease and the human papillomavirus (HPV). So, one way to decrease the chances of developing the disease is to get the HPV vaccine.

RELATED: A Woman Who Started Smoking at Age 11 Went on to Fight Three Throat Cancer Battles; Understanding Smoking and its Affect on Cancer Risk

The American Cancer Society recommends that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine between ages 9 and 12. The organization also stresses that teens and young adults through age 26 who are not already vaccinated should get the HPV vaccine as soon as possible. Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, explains the link between throat cancer and HPV in a previous interview with SurvivorNet.

Get the Facts: What Do We Know About HPV-Linked Throat Cancer?

“There are no screening guidelines to screen for throat cancer, unlike cervical cancer with pap smears. And there are no standard tests to determine if you harbor the (HPV) virus,” she said. “However, there is no concern that you’re going to spread this cancer to your partner or to anyone else, because at this point your partner has already been exposed to the virus and likely cleared it.”

There’s no annual screening for throat cancer, so doctors usually discover the disease when a patient sees them with symptoms that may point to it. Some symptoms include:

  • A cough
  • Changes in your voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • A sore throat
  • Weight loss

It’s important to note, however, that these symptoms are not exclusive to throat cancer. Still, you should always see a doctor if you have any changes to your health.

Contributing: Shelby Black

Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.

Understanding Throat Cancer

  • Actor and throat cancer survivor Val Kilmer will return to the big screen on May 27, 2022, with the premier of Top Gun: Maverick.
  • Thanks to the company Sonatic, his voice will be recreated using artificial intelligence since his voice was damaged after throat cancer treatment.
  • Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer where cancerous cells begin in the throat, voice box or tonsils. It is an HPV-related cancer. To reduce the risk of your children developing HPV or an HPV-related cancer, make sure they get the HPV vaccine, particularly between ages 9 and 12.

With the Top Gun: Maverick release date inching closer and closer, fans are itching for actor Val Kilmer’s return to the big screen. Only this time, the throat cancer survivor’s voice will be recreated using artificial intelligence.

The highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun will be released on May 27, 2022, and Kilmer will be a part of the action. But given that he’s used a voice box to speak since his throat cancer battle, the 62-year-old actor’s voice will be returning to film in a different way.

Read More

RELATED: Actor Val Kilmer Is Getting His Voice Back Through Artificial Intelligence: ‘It’s An Incredibly Special Gift’

Sonantic has gathered decades of old voice clips and audio recordings of Kilmer in order to bring his voice back to life. According to the company, Sonatic was contacted by Kilmer’s team to see if they could use their artificial intelligence software to recreate Kilmer’s voice for upcoming creative work. In a statement, Kilmer said Sonantic “restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible.”

[embedded content]

“We all have the capacity to be creative,” Kilmer said in a video by Sonatic. “We’re all driven to share our deepest dreams and ideas with the world. When we think of the most talented, creative people, they speak to us in a unique way. A phrase we often hear is ‘having a creative voice.’ But I was struck by throat cancer. After getting treated, my voice as I knew it was taken away from me.”

He then went on to say that people around him struggled to understand him when he talks, but that hasn’t changed who he is as a person.

“I still feel I’m the exact same person, still the same creative soul,” he said. “A soul that dreams ideas and stories constantly. But now I can express myself again, I can bring these dreams to you, and show you this part of myself once more. A part that was never truly gone, just hiding away.”

Val Kilmer’s Cancer Journey

Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015 but didn’t speak publicly about the disease until 2017. He wasn’t considering conventional treatment at first, thinking his Christian Science faith would heal the tumors, but he eventually agreed to undergo chemotherapy for the sake of his children – Mercedes, 30, and Jack, 26, whom he had with his ex-wife, English actress Joanne Whalley, 60. He also underwent a tracheotomy – a surgical procedure that connects the windpipe to a hole in the front of the neck – which greatly impacted his speaking voice.

And though he originally kept his cancer battle out of the public eye, Kilmer eventually shared more about his journey through interviews, his memoir I’m Your Huckleberry and his documentary, Val, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

“I have been healed of cancer for over four years now, and there has never been any recurrence,” he wrote in I’m Your Huckleberry. “I am so grateful.”

Understanding Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer where cancerous cells begin in the throat, voice box or tonsils. Some of the main risk factors for this disease include smoking, drinking alcohol, a diet lacking in fruits or vegetables, acid reflux disease and the human papillomavirus (HPV). So, one way to decrease the chances of developing the disease is to get the HPV vaccine.

RELATED: A Woman Who Started Smoking at Age 11 Went on to Fight Three Throat Cancer Battles; Understanding Smoking and its Affect on Cancer Risk

The American Cancer Society recommends that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine between ages 9 and 12. The organization also stresses that teens and young adults through age 26 who are not already vaccinated should get the HPV vaccine as soon as possible. Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, explains the link between throat cancer and HPV in a previous interview with SurvivorNet.

Get the Facts: What Do We Know About HPV-Linked Throat Cancer?

“There are no screening guidelines to screen for throat cancer, unlike cervical cancer with pap smears. And there are no standard tests to determine if you harbor the (HPV) virus,” she said. “However, there is no concern that you’re going to spread this cancer to your partner or to anyone else, because at this point your partner has already been exposed to the virus and likely cleared it.”

There’s no annual screening for throat cancer, so doctors usually discover the disease when a patient sees them with symptoms that may point to it. Some symptoms include:

  • A cough
  • Changes in your voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • A sore throat
  • Weight loss

It’s important to note, however, that these symptoms are not exclusive to throat cancer. Still, you should always see a doctor if you have any changes to your health.

Contributing: Shelby Black

Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.

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