“Top Gun” fans knew ahead of time that Val Kilmer would be reprising his role of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in the sequel,
But the specifics of the actor’s return were a question mark considering Kilmer lost the ability to speak after undergoing throat cancer treatment in 2014.
The script for “Top Gun: Maverick” pulls from Kilmer’s real life, with Iceman also having cancer and communicating through typing.
Kilmer gets to say one brief line of dialogue, but his speaking voice was created by artificial intelligence.
Kilmer announced in August 2021 that he had partnered with Sonantic to create an A.I.-powered speaking voice for himself.
The actor supplied the company with hours of archival footage featuring his speaking voice that was then fed through the company’s algorithms and turned into a model.
According to Forbes, this process was used again for the actor’s “Top Gun: Maverick” appearance.
“In the end, we generated more than 40 different voice models and selected the best, highest-quality, most expressive one,” John Flynn, CTO and cofounder of Sonantic, said in a statement to Forbes.
Those new algorithms are now embedded into our voice engine, so future clients can automatically take advantage of them as well.