Actor Val Kilmer, in town this week for a Dallas Film Society appearance, is intrigued by Mark Twain as the quintessential American, as a “maverick” writer who reminded us that “we’re all silly, and who found a way to call us … on our folly.” So Kilmer’s put together a one-man play, “Citizen Twain,” which he debuted in L.A. earlier this year and wants to bring to North Texas in March or April.
According to local publicist Jo Ann Holt, the actor spent time Friday scouting Dallas venues for the production. He looked at Theatre Too, at the Majestic Theater, at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, whose Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building he admired, Holt said. But he was more excited about the Wyly Theatre, which he liked for its contemporary building and downtown location, and the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science, which has a flexible-space auditorium.
“I love the Wyly. I can’t stop thinking about the architecture; it’s just too interesting,” Kilmer said, pausing on the Red Carpet before appearing at the DFS’s “Art of Film” fundraiser Friday night at Fair Park. “But today I was even looking at the Perot Museum, because they’ve got a 290-seat theater, and they can simulcast. So I love the idea of [simulcasting the play] to the … hospitals and prisons and schools.”
“Citizen Twain,” the actor said, is a precursor to a film he’s planning about the relationship between Twain and Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science (Kilmer’s a Christian Scientist himself). So if he plays Twain, who would he want for his leading lady? “There’s a lot of very talented actresses,” Kilmer said. “I just talked to Cate Blanchett about it again. I’ve talked to her several times. It’s hard to talk seriously, because I don’t have a budget yet; I’m not financed. But I think Mrs. Eddy was a genius, so you have to think of genius actresses. Which is an interesting list, but a short list. There aren’t that many geniuses, right? I think Cate’s got genius in her.”
Saturday, the film society will screen two of Kilmer’s best-known films at the Angelika Dallas. The Doors shows at 11:30 a.m.; Batman Forever starts at 2:30 p.m.