In 1997, Val made a film called The Saint
. The movie was an adaptation of a series of novels
by British author Leslie Charteris
. Though I hadn’t heard of The Saint
or its protagonist, Simon Templar, until I saw this movie, it’s very popular abroad; in addition to the novels, there have been many radio, film, television, and graphic interpretations of the books. Simon was even played by Roger Moore
, who you probably know as Bond, James Bond
Long story short: The Saint is kind of a big deal.
Val plays the Saint himself, Simon Templar. Simon’s life of crime began early; he used his quick mind and his good hands to pick locks and filch extra food in the orphanage in which he was raised. Stealing is his only real talent—okay, stealing and romancing women are his only real talents, but the film is rated PG-13, so guess which one he does for a living.
Simon and his hilarious mini-camera, doing a little pre-stealing legwork.
Simon’s got a fun job, a plush bank account, and women love him; life should be peachy. But he’s also got a problem. The saints.
Simon as Martin de Porres, in one of his many manwigs.
* Val hired a wigmaker for this movie. The wigmaker lived with him on the set of the film he was shooting previously, The Ghost and the Darkness. Please imagine: Val Kilmer, a wigmaker, and a dialect coach, living in a hut on a game preserve in Africa. If this doesn’t delight you, I’m not sure we can be friends.
Simon’s job is highly illegal and usually not terribly subtle, so instead of going around as himself, he uses a myriad of disguises, all named and modeled after Catholic saints. The trouble is, he never seems to have the occasion to be himself. He is always somebody else.
Simon and his Thomas More wig. He sees the problem here, too.
What Simon really needs is a shrink, but in the film he settles for Elisabeth Shue
as a nuclear physicist—no, really—a person with whom he can finally be himself.
See? Look how happy regular, unwigged Simon is.