AI Helps Val Kilmer Reclaim His Voice for Iceman Role in Top Gun: Maverick

Image: Paramount Pictures

Val Kilmer reprises his role as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick with the help of AI and a computer-generated voice. The actor had a tracheotomy in 2014 due to throat cancer. He’s said that recovering from the procedure has been like learning a new language. In order to sound like Iceman, a computer-generated voice model was trained to assist the actor. Kilmer worked with London-based Sonantic, whose A.I.-powered technology mimicked recordings to create the model. John Flynn (CTO and co-founder) said the goal was to make a model that Kilmer would be proud of. Kilmer shared his gratefulness to Sonatic, saying it had “masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined.”

“In the end, we generated more than 40 different voice models and selected the best, highest-quality, most expressive one,” Flynn said. “Those new algorithms are now embedded into our voice engine, so future clients can automatically take advantage of them as well.”

“As human beings, the ability to communicate is the core of our existence, and the effects from throat cancer have made it difficult for others to understand me,” he added. “The chance to tell my story, in a voice that feels authentic and familiar, is an incredibly special gift.”

Source: Sonantic (via Fortune)

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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