Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Val Kilmer

Part 1. How the hell do you get out of the hole you're in?


The TV Option

Val Kilmer needs a TV show.
He's got to that stage in his career, hasn't he? Slightly desperate. On the verge of Direct-to-DVD forever. Only TV can save him. its where old Movie Stars go when their movies get too TV, anyway...
I know he played the voice of KITT in the Knight Rider remake last year, but thats not quite what I have in mind. A different kind of vehicle entirely is required. He needs to play an unusual or eccentric lead character in a show named after him. Either a dazzlingly brilliant Attorney, a dazzlingly brilliant Surgeon or a just bemusedly brilliant Cop.
I think a Cop is the best fit, given that he's a big guy and he went through all that Weapons training with Andy McNab for Michael Mann's "Heat" (US army training uses a clip of Kilmer changing a magazine from the legendary gunfight sequence as an example of how it should be done) and has carried the gun convincingly in any number of other movies. Shame to waste all that know-how and experience. He can do Cop.
He's also not quite as svelte as he once was - he seems to veer from chubby to stocky-with-padding - but he carries it off with a middle-aged male swagger that is reminiscent of a long line of vintage Trenchcoat-wearing Movie Cops. You know the type; never quite finishing that cup of coffee, shirt absolutely never ironed, tie always just that little bit out-of-line, never quite free of that five o'clock shadow...Kilmer can do that in his sleep.

This show should have a one word title. And he - Kilmer's eccentric, brilliant Cop - must have some sort of quirk. I'm thinking he can break suspects somehow. Can tell when they're lying. Intuition, maybe, brilliant observation and peerless logic, perhaps...But this is better: He can smell it. He has an acute sense of smell. He can smell deception. He can smell nervousness. He can detect unusual hormonal surges.
At a crime scene, he picks up scents traditional CSI-type methods would usually miss. He always knows when he's got his man, because he's caught his scent. The show should be called "SNIFFER". Or maybe "Nose". I'm not sure which is classier. If it was a movie, they could call it "Scent of Danger". But its not a movie, its high concept enough to run and run on TV. And Val can do it. Val should do it.

He could have a Lady Cop partner, preferably either a little Southern Spitfire with a strong accent and a take-no-shit attitude or a little Latino ballbuster with a strong accent and a take-no-shit attitude. Of course her love and devotion to his unusual, sometimes jarringly rude ways would be evident despite their constant sparring, the will-they-won't-they tension dragged out endlessly until nobody cares anymore. Perhaps she would have a young son and an absent husband who knocked her up as a cheerleader. Perhaps he would have a tragic past involving lost love and his own pride and arrogance being somehow at fault. Perhaps all of this would only be revealed near the end of the First Season, or if its a really big hit, in Season 2.
He should have an arch-enemy. An odourless man. Perhaps a serial killer. An odourless serial killer. Who becomes fixated with our Sniffer (hes not really called "sniffer", he's probably called either something like Jack or Jim or something to underline his apartness, like Cornelius or Francois) and sends him letters on utterly odourless paper. This game of cat and odourless mouse could flit in and out of Seasons while standalone storylines come and go. It would be exceptionally gripping.

On the back of it's undoubted success, Kilmer could return to movies - of the sort that actually get released into cinemas, I mean - and it would be as if all the movies he's made in the last few years, the ones you've never heard of and never want to hear of but oh alright if you insist :"Summer Dreams" (2006), "Have Dreams, Will Travel" (2007), "Conspiracy" (2008), "Felon" (2008), "2:22" (2008) and "Columbus Day" (2008) , it would almost be as if they had never happened.

But they did happen. And in my next Kilmer post I'll look at one or two of those films and ponder exactly what they say about Val and wonder just how in the hell he got here from his position in the 1990s when he was the Leading Man in several massive Studio summer tentpole blockbusters. Instead of needing to make a TV show called "Sniffer".
Which he does.

But won't.

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Blogger jamesinseoul said...

Nice. But first I'd like to see him as one of Jack Bauer's old army colleagues in a handful of episodes of 24, just to remind everyone that he can still do it. Then he can do 'Sniffer'.

8:31 am  
Blogger David N said...

Hes too good for 24.
Play second fiddle to Keifer? I think not.

11:29 pm  
Blogger Ross said...

Sniffer sounds a little too generic. Not fresh enough, but then I guess something fresher wouldn't get made.

Scent of Danger just has made for TV movie written all over it.

But yes, he'd make a great cop, or maybe a PI?

If you're going to be as generic as you have been he should be a washed-up but brilliant PI who left the force after he got his partner killed and has an icy relationship with his ball-busting ex-wife and a daughter he loves but can't help letting down.
His partner was the second victim of the odourless serial killer, the first case he couldn't solve...

10:19 pm  
Blogger David N said...

I do prefer Nose to Sniffer. But its too abstract for the lowest common denominator world of US TV.

And he has to be a Cop, because at the moment Cop shows are all there is, really. PIs are an 80s cliche - all the cliches you list are 80s cliches, actually. Bruce WIllis movies.

I can't think of one single PI show running in the States at the moment. Cop shows? I could list a dozen, probably. And they all use different variations on the same old cliches.

12:48 am  

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