The Top Gun actor, 59, gave a speech Sunday in Los Angeles at a fundraiser he hosted for his TwainMania Foundation, which he created to educate children on author Mark Twain’s legacy.
“You can be the most liberal or conservative, but [Twain’s] style of loving America is like a secret weapon to use in schools because everybody loves him,” Kilmer told The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor added that his fascination with the writer kicked off after he started writing a movie script that soon morphed into his one-man show Cinema Twain, which he’s been touring across the country.
“That took off and I had offers to go to Broadway,” he said. “It was received so well and that was perhaps involving some new ideas that I hadn’t seen in film. So that was about 20 years ago, that’s how long I’ve been working on it, in case you’re wondering where I’ve been.”
Kilmer also shared photos from the event on Instagram, captioning, “In all of my life, all I have ever wanted to do is to use art to educate. As an actor this materializes in the effort to always be entertaining and with flair.”
Kilmer will appear in his first major role since his health woes began in 2019’s Top Gun sequel.
He’s continued to work despite his setbacks; Kilmer appeared as the title character in the 2017 horror film The Super, and briefly showed up in the Michael Fassbender film The Snowman that same year.
He also had a role in the 2018 Iranian-American comedy 1st Born.
Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to the 1986 classic, will hit theaters June 26, 2020.
“It will be a great film, I promise,” Kilmer recently told THR. “This time around had me laughing with Tom like a high schooler. He’s so funny. I hope he’s saved the world enough to take a decade and re-establish himself as a great comedian as he has it in him.”
The interview said the disease had “taken its toll” on the actor, who had a procedure on his trachea that made his voice raspy and left him short of breath.
Kilmer told the outlet he credited his Christian Scientist faith and chemotherapy with helping him fight his cancer.