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Val Kilmer’s labor of love: ‘Citizen Twain’

 

See Hollywood vet Val Kilmer fly solo, channeling legendary author Mark Twain in his one-man play, Citizen Twain.

The big-screen actor ( The Doors, Alexander, Top Gun) has turned writer/stage performer, taking his show literally on the road all over the U.S. Kilmer plans to perform in Miami sometime but no dates are set yet.

Kilmer’s been already spotted around town at restaurants like Joe’s Stone Crab and Makoto as he preps.

After appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (watch it Friday night), he’ll fly back to the Sunshine State to gear up for the production. The 54-year-old scouted for venues that had the right tone, finally settling on The Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s so classy and historic and grand,” Kilmer says. “And downtown!

In the 90-minute play, Kilmer gets inside the inner workings of the man behind the classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and with the bushy mustache, wig and ever-present cigar, looks a great deal like him as well.

Kilmer, who currently costars in the IFC miniseries spoof The Spoils of Babylon, says he was looking for a challenge. Inspiration came when he was researching a work-in-progress film project about Twain and his relationship with Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church.

“I needed a role to match my curiosity,” says Kilmer, who will conduct a Q&A after the production.

What’s something the average person doesn't know about the American icon born Samuel Clemens?

“He got his start on stage and is our first standup comedian,” Kilmer explains. “He also took spiritual study very seriously, but he has some of the funniest quotes ever about religion and God.”

If Twain were living in the 21st century, how would he be different? “He would have had his own TV show and crushed Oprah in sweeps week,” he jokes.

Madeleine Marr

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