Wellness Health & Well-being Val Kilmer Credits Mark Twain Role for Dramatic Weight Loss By Michael d'Estries Writer State University of New York at Geneseo Michael d’Estries has been writing about science, culture, space and sustainability since 2005. His writing has appeared on Business Insider, CNN, and Forbes. our editorial process Michael d'Estries Updated September 17, 2019 Val Kilmer has struggled with on-again, off-again weight loss and gain. (Photo: Tinseltown/Shutterstock) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty Val Kilmer is ringing in 2015 lighter, healthier and eager to begin work on what he's deemed his "dream role." The 54-year-old former sex symbol took to social media just before Christmas to address concerns over his dramatic weight loss. "I have been urged by friends to post something about my perfect health and weight loss," he wrote. "Can't win in this crazy town. Too heavy for too many years and now gossip says, too thin!" For the better part of a decade, Kilmer has battled with weight gain — a physical departure from the heartthrob status he enjoyed from films like "The Saint" and "Top Gun." When the actor started posting pictures of his dramatic weight loss this year, fans became concerned that something might be wrong with the star. Kilmer, however, says his good health is all thanks to one Mark Twain. "I'm preparing as most of you know, for my dream role, Mark Twain in a film I've written and will direct about his obsession with Mary Baker Eddy," he wrote. "Mark Twain was a thin man, and finally after the usual amount of effort, I'm thin again too. Perfect health." Kilmer credits his weight loss to a clean diet and "long walks on the beach" near his home in Malibu. While Kilmer's new film about Twain (something he's been working on since 2002) does not have a release date, he'll make an appearance as the legendary author in the upcoming "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn." You can see a preview of his uncanny impersonation in this clip from his 2013 solo show "Citizen Twain."