Jack Kilmer is an American actor who rose to prominence with his portrayal of ‘Teddy’ in the 2013 film 'Palo Alto,' which marked the beginning of his career as an actor. Although he was born to actor parents, Jack never intended to become an actor. He initially had an interest in music and might have built a career in the music industry if filmmaker Gia Coppola would not have approached him for 'Palo Alto.' The two were in the same school, and years later, Gia considered Jack as the perfect choice for the role of ‘Teddy.’ He even worked with his father, Val Kilmer. 'Palo Alto' gave Jack a direction in life, and eventually, he worked in several more films. One of his most notable roles was that of the late black metal musician Pelle "Dead" Ohlin in 'Lords of Chaos.'
Childhood & Early Life
Jack was born John Wallace Kilmer, on June 6, 1995, in Los Angeles, California, US, to actor couple Joanne Whalley and Val Kilmer. His middle name honors his mother. Jack's older sister, Mercedes Kilmer, is also an actor, best known for movies such as 'Ingrid,' 'Prettyface,' and 'Pool Party.'
Jack attended primary school at 'The Center for Early Education,' where film director, screenwriter, and actor Gia Coppola also studied. Jack and Gia met for the first time when he was in first grade and she was in sixth grade.
Even though Jack's parents are actors, he was never interested in pursuing the craft. His interest in acting developed only after he made his acting debut.
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Jack was approached by filmmaker Gia Coppola, whom he had met back in school. They were in touch in the subsequent years. Twelve years later, Gia gave Jack the script of a film she was working on and asked him to review it.
Jack and Gia discussed the script, and she sought his advice about whether the dialogues justified the plot in the contemporary context. The film was later released as 'Palo Alto,' an adaptation of James Franco's book of the same name. Gia asked Jack to audition for the role of ‘Teddy,’ one of the lead characters in the film.
Gia even directed Jack during his audition. She asked him to deliver a few dialogues while she filmed him. The footage later became Jack's audition tape. He was able to impress Gia and earn the role.
The film released on May 9, 2014, in the US and was screened at many film festivals. The film saw Jack sharing screen space with his father, who was cast as the stepfather of the character ‘April,’ played by Emma Roberts. The film garnered mostly positive reviews, and Jack's performance was highly applauded by critics, who termed it "formidable." Some also called it "naturalistic and sincere."
The following year, Jack made appearances in a few more projects. He was seen as a prisoner named ‘Jim Randall’ in the docudrama thriller film 'The Stanford Prison Experiment,' which premiered at the 2015 'Edinburgh Film Festival.' Following this, he played ‘Max’ in the independent comedy–drama 'Len and Company.'
Jack was cast as ‘Chet,’ a young film projectionist, in the 2016 neo-noir crime dark comedy 'The Nice Guys.' The same year, he starred as ‘James,’ with Eleanore Pienta, in the short 'Asphyxia.' Jack played the character ‘Johnny’ in the 2017 psychological thriller–drama 'Woodshock.'
Jack played a role inspired by a real-life personality for the first time when he was cast as Per Yngve Ohlin, the lead vocalist and lyricist of the Norwegian black metal band 'Mayhem' ( better known by his stage name, ''Dead'') in the 2018 horror–thriller film 'Lords of Chaos.' The film was an adaptation of the 1998 book of the same name and presented a semi-fictionalized version of the Norwegian black metal scene of the early 1990s.
He appeared as ‘Marcus’ in the 2018 film ‘Josie,’ which premiered at the 'Mammoth Film Festival.' Following this, he played ‘Luke’ in the comedy 'Summer '03' and ‘Terry’ in the drama 'The Pretenders.' The latter premiered at the 'Torino Film Festival.’
Lately, he was seen as ‘Jesse’ in the 2019 film 'Hala,' which was screened at the 'Sundance Film Festival.'
Family & Personal Life
Jack graduated high school in 2013. When Gia offered him the role of ‘Teddy’ in 'Palo Alto,' he initially thought it was a brief project that he would finish before joining college. However, he cherished working on the film so much, he ultimately dropped the plan to study further and decided to pursue a career as an actor.
While growing up, Jack was more interested in art forms other than acting, especially music. He loved playing the drums. He also learned to play several other instruments. Jack would even perform in a band in high school. Had he not been an actor, he would have definitely become a musician.
Jack and his sister have both British and American citizenships.
Jack loves surfing and skateboarding. An ardent pet lover, He owns two dogs.