According to an interview with The Washington Post, Kilmer was introduced to Morrison and The Doors as a child. So, when famed director Oliver Stone decided to further immortalize the musician on-screen, Val Kilmer wanted the role, and he threw himself into it.
During the height of Morrison’s career, he was extremely thin from substance abuse, so Kilmer dropped down to 158 pounds. He also spent six months rehearsing The Doors catalog and learning to mimic Morrison’s voice. He learned to imitate Morrison so well that Stone used Kilmer’s voice throughout the film.
The Doors’ producer Paul Rothchild assisted Kilmer on the film and was impressed by his dedication to, not only the film role, but understanding Morrison as a person. He told The Washington Post:
“I spent hundreds of hours with him interrogating me about what Jim would think in this or that situation. We might have been out to dinner, for instance, and a waiter would do something and he would say, what would Jim have done there? I kept on filling his cup with anecdotes, stories, tragic moments, humorous moments, how Jim thought, what were my interpretations of Jim’s lyrics.”
Known as a character actor, it makes sense that Kilmer would want to get into Morrison’s head and understand his thought processes, but did he take it too far? According to Caitlin O’Heaney, the answer is a resounding yes.