Jack Kilmer's name sounds familiar because it is. He's the 18-year-old son former Batman himself, Val Kilmer. But his dad's legacy aside, Jack is poised to make his own name in Hollywood with his debut film Palo Alto.
In theaters today, Gia Coppola's directorial debut follows four interconnected high school teenagers navigating peer pressure, experiencing sexual discovery, and really, just trying to figure their selves out. Kilmer stands out as Teddy, a shy, reckless teen stoner dealing with an unrequited crush. In addition to Kilmer, the film co-stars Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff, and James Franco, whose book of short stories of the same name inspired the script. Dad Val makes a hilarious cameo in the movie. "I thought he was really funny in the movie," says Jack of his father. "I wasn't there when he was filming it, but I thought he was really good."
Despite the buzz surrounding him, pegging him as the next big thing, Kilmer remains unfazed. He's as calm and collected as any California teen who grew up by the beach. He's still just a boy whose ideal day consists of "getting up around 10:30 a.m., going surfing, and eating a burrito." So, no, the lights, the camera, the red carpet, they aren't his thing—at least, not yet.
Complex got the chance to speak to Jack Kilmer about landing his debut film, watching his dad work over the years, and how closely he relates to Teddy.
On landing the role:
"I've known Gia for awhile. Gia was writing the script and invited me to come read it through with her and share my opinions about it being someone who was in high school at the time. Then I read for it on tape, and that was my audition, and I got it."
On memories of watching his dad work:
"I remember just watching him—I think he had to play a killer once—just watching him barge through a door with a gun. That was a lot of fun. I remember traveling a lot and going to some incredible places with him because of work."
On his dad's influence:
"He has shown me a lot of my favorite movies. We have similar tastes in music and films. His favorite actors are my favorite actors. We'd watch, like, Peter Sellers stuff and Humphrey Bogart movies. I remember watching The Shining with him for the first time and him explaining the importance of that movie to me."
On his own high school experience:
"It definitely reflected my experience, but it was different in a lot of ways, too. I was much more outgoing than my character, for one. I had more of a means of expressing myself in high school than Teddy. I think Teddy's a little lost on how to do that. He's just figuring out. I haven't really experienced the same pressures. The peer pressure never really got to me too much.
"My parents always encouraged me to do creative stuff, to do weird stuff. My parents were always really cool with what I was into. They were willing to support me in doing whatever. I was very fortunate. I was never one to sit down and write a plan for my future."