Val Kilmer struggled to speak as he returned to the spotlight at a film screening in Los Angeles, just days after denying he has cancer.
The Batman Forever star hosted a viewing of his Citizen Twain project on Thursday night, when he took to the stage for the first time since old pal Michael Douglas suggested he was struggling with health issues, and Val left the audience stunned as he drooled through his introductory speech, revealing he is still recovering after his tongue recently became severely swollen.
The actor did not share his diagnosis but blamed his mystery condition for forcing him to axe plans to tour with his one-man play Mark Twain: Citizen Twain, which was documented for his new film.
“I went into rehearsals down in Florida and started having trouble with my speech,” he explained in video footage of the event, as he wiped away saliva from his mouth with a tissue. “Obviously I’m still recovering. My tongue swelled up and I cancelled the tour. As I’m recovering I’m showing this (film version).”
He went on to apologize for his messy appearance, adding, “I’m sorry… I’m drooling on myself…”
The screening took place more than a week after Douglas hinted his The Ghost and the Darkness co-star was battling a serious health issue during a career retrospective event in London on October 30.
Discussing their 1996 film, Michael said, “The picture didn’t turn out as well as I hoped but I had a wonderful time. Val was a wonderful guy who is dealing with exactly what I had, and things don’t look too good for him. My prayers are with him. That’s why you haven’t heard too much from Val lately.”
Michael didn’t go into specific details about Val’s condition, but he himself suffered from tongue cancer, after originally claiming he had been diagnosed with throat cancer.
The remarks prompted Val, 56, to address the reports in a lengthy post on Facebook.com, in which he insisted Michael was “misinformed”.
He did, however, reveal he had contacted Michael for a referral for a specialist two years ago, after finding a lump in his throat, but declared he has “no cancer whatsoever”.
“I still have a swollen tongue and am rehabbing steadily,” he added.0