Mark Twain & Mary Baker Eddy - A film by Val Kilmer

Director’s Notes

Weekly thoughts..

November 13th, 2016

I’m celebrating my health in public and sharing my best work with my community during these emotional times, and yet the press wrote last week was that I was “denying the rumors of my illness…”

What would they have me do? Dance in the streets? And why would I lie about something so glorious as a healing? What’s the motive? Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?

My daughter literally “brought a cup of cold water…” to the protesters who had walked so many miles yesterday. Regardless of which side you’re on, we should never judge the nurses of the world, reaching out to help. Even a bottle of water to a thirsty kid out on the street trying to make sense of his or her America.

I wrote CITIZEN TWAIN partly because I love our country so much and Twain takes on so many ideas with more grace and humor than I can muster. Man is he funny. Did you all see SNL last night? David Chappelle ended his opening so eloquently and said he’s going to give Trump a chance- and he on behalf of the disenfranchised demanded he do the same for them. When a comedian can earn the right to be so solemn and so correct, he deserves all our praise and attention. Comedy is clarity and no one in our history cut thru ignorance and racism cleaner than Mark Twain.

I’m still recovering my voice but I was raging in Pasadena when we filmed my play in 2013. I’m so glad I can contribute some laughs amidst all these tears…

Thanks for all your support and hope I see you on the 17th in Westwood. Check my website for other dates up and down the west coast ending in San Jose on Dec. 29th and 30th.’

Twain Eddy Update

October 5th, 2016

Dear Friends:

Sometime ago I announced that I would be writing and directing a film called MARK TWAIN and MARY BAKER EDDY. I regret it has taken this long to finally begin, over fifteen years, but better late than never. Here are some reasons: The first script evolved. Writing about a genius as complicated and serious as Mrs. Eddy is task enough for a decade, but writing about two geniuses, which became clear to me was the only way I could reveal the drama and entertainingly explore some serious subjects, well, it just took time for me to figure out…

When the screenplay was finished I realized I had to devote enough time to creating the role of Mark Twain so that I could be fully available to the cast and crew for the enormous task of directing and bringing the life of the genius of Mrs. Eddy to the screen. The film has evolved through the years from a biography to a love story/coming of age construct, as I realized at least for me, the way to best dramatize a few of the events that make Mrs. Eddy an entertaining subject for a wide release audience, might be by focusing on a narrator for some of the controversy that surrounded her. And who better than to address claims such as plagiarism, but the most celebrated writer of her time, the hilarious and notorious Mark Twain? And so, I then wrote a one-man play: Citizen Twain, which ended up playing to sold-out audiences around southern California and grossed over a million dollars, without even the benefit of an opening by a theater or press.

To fund the film and fundraise, I designed a tour beginning in the south at the historic original building of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which sold-out quickly. I even added a show that also sold-out. But I had to cancel as I realized I could no longer speak clearly enough to satisfy my audience. So I cancelled the tour and gave that money back, and came home to heal. That was two years ago and I am now ready to begin the journey of making this dream come true.

Financing is important and, instead of seeking the help of Hollywood studios, I am going to seek private financing. I cannot risk allowing conventional investors who would literally own the film, to ever have creative control. I have firsthand knowledge of how often a fine screenplay can be corrupted by unqualified authority who incorrectly analyze and alter the delicate balance that makes a screenplay a quality film. To this end I am planning to travel and visit churches and individuals to present excerpts from my play, and a sketch of the project. The only cost would be for travel expenses.

Although this is an artistic expression where we take artistic license to condense years of Mrs. Eddy’s life during a very limited period, it represents truthful and accurate aspects of Mrs. Eddy’s life that are the result of hundreds of contributions from the people and submissions of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, and through years of research by the author, and deep and humble stewarding by many experts in the field, for over a decade.

Although I haven’t yet chosen a system for micro financing, accepting that we may be fortunate in landing most of our 14 million dollar target from a few inspired individuals, I wanted to announce officially my plans for touring the country to personally present the film outline and storyboard. A new friend of the project is Lorenzo Rodriguez, CSB, who has kindly offered to travel as well to assist in outreach, support and fundraising.

I look forward to hearing from you.
To donate, send to

Thank you. Val Kilmer

Correction: Twain and Eddy were not friends

June 24th, 2013

In a recent interview with Val Kilmer in Broadway World the interviewer reports Val as stating that Mark Twain was friends with Mary Baker Eddy. This is a misunderstanding on the interviewer’s part as Twain and Eddy never met.


June 13th, 2013

Citizen Twain — Val Kilmer, famous for his portrayals of iconic characters such as Jim Morrison (The Doors), Doc Holliday (Tombstone) and Batman (Batman Forever), inhabits the spirit of another legendary American figure: Mark Twain. Exploring the famed author’s wry humor — from politics to death, love, money, watermelons, God, racism and cats — Kilmer channels the wit and wisdom of the man considered to be the world’s greatest storyteller and the first stand-up comedian.

Every performance of Citizen Twain concludes with an audience talkback while the actor has his extensive make-up removed in full view of the audience, and select tickets include a post-show meet and greet with the actor.

June 28 – July 14, 2013 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday Evenings at 8 PM Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; Sundays at 1 and 6:30 PM Also Thursday, July 4 at 8 pm.Please note no matinee on Sunday, June 30; no performances on July 5 and 6.

Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232

Free parking available at Culver City Hall across Culver Blvd from the rear of the theatre. Entrance on Duquesne.

Tuesday and Wednesday Evenings, Saturday Matinees, and Sundays — $50, $30,
Friday and Saturday evenings — $60, $30. Meet and Greet Val Kilmer following the performance.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings – $25

In person – Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre, at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office 2 hours prior to performances
Phone –213-972-4488
Online – Tickets and information

Facebook — Join us on Facebook at
Twitter — Follow us on Twitter @valekilmer

A New Year’s card

January 10th, 2011

Dear Supporters,

I am very grateful for your generosity and kindness. We have a long way to go before our film is financed, but there has been a weekly increase of donors and this is energizing and exciting news for us all. I have made a crucial decision to sell my home so that I might continue the momentum that is required to create a film as unique as its subject.

Many sacrifices have been made by sincere and righteous people who have accepted even an urgent need to act more publicly or openly through many avenues of communication since Mrs. Eddy first made public her insights and discoveries over a hundred years ago. The idea of supporting those deeply dedicated to a life of selfless assistance to the needy through an artistic and poetic expression such as film, is a genuinely humbling and enriching experience.

I also intend to perform a one man show of Mark Twain, which will be a very different experience and tone than our film, but will afford me the opportunity to reach out to our nation and perhaps briefly, the world, as I prepare the role of this inspiring and tragic American icon for the screen. I have not afforded myself the opportunity to create the role, as I am wearing the hats of writer and director and for the moment, sole producer as well, and have for over 6 years now.

There have been a keen number of people whose sensitive dedication to this project have made it possible, and I especially want to reach out to you in thanks, as we start a genuinely new year, and one I hope, full of power and grace.


Val Kilmer

Val sings Swing Low Sweet Chariot as Twain

December 13th, 2010

Val Kilmer sings a melodramatic Swing Low Sweet Chariot as Mark Twain. »Listen

Val reads from Twain’s autobiography at Berkeley

November 19th, 2010

Val Kilmer was featured as Twain in voice recordings and a film at the official book launch for Mark Twain’s recently-published autobiography. The event took place at the Doe Library on the campus of UC Berkeley. Read more at A Berkeley celebration of Mark Twain.

Here are two audio excerpts from Twain’s autobiography read by Val:

Thanks for donations to the film

November 9th, 2010

Dear friends,

I have been emailing each of you donators as time permits to thank you personally, but as support has grown so rapidly, I just want to make sure to say a loud and clear “thank you“ to any whom I haven’t contacted as yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Val Kilmer starring in new film by Francis Ford Coppola

October 19th, 2010

In this audio clip, Val shares some news about his new film with Francis Ford Coppola and some developments on his work on the Twain Eddy film. Read the rest of this entry »

Conversations after church, Wednesday 10/6/10

October 8th, 2010

At a Wednesday evening service in Connecticut this week, after elegant readings and testimonies on infinite supply, I had the occasion to speak to several members of the church. There was a very lively conversation about our film and Mrs. Eddy. They were supportive and curious about how the film was progressing, particularly wondering who will play Mrs. Eddy. I mentioned that it is obviously the role of a lifetime, meaning that it will probably be the most challenging and rewarding role imaginable. It is one thing to be inspired by genius, insight and prowess — to be inspired by God; it is quite another to embody it, reflect it, in the eyes.

It is an interesting challenge.

A cinema is not a church. People may have expectations that are not realistic in relation to the movie. Or in relation to Mrs. Eddy herself. The beauty of the medium of film is that it provides an intimate view into the daily lives of characters, even those who have become icons for us. It offers a unique window into their struggles and triumphs, giving us the opportunity to relate to them in a fresh way.

One church member mentioned that she was concerned that the actress playing the role may overshadow Mrs. Eddy — that one may leave the cinema talking more about the actress than Mrs. Eddy. For this reason she felt the actress should be an unknown rather than a star. This is an unlikely problem for two reasons: one, it is hard to imagine the character of Mrs. Eddy being outshined by anyone; two, I in my work as a director will devote myself to ensuring that there is a proper balance and that her character is embodied with dignity, subtlety and grace.

Another topic that came up was the idea that the actress who plays Mrs. Eddy must be very spiritual, humble and a good example. Indeed Mark Twain may have been thinking of Mrs. Eddy herself when he said, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” While it is not up to me to determine how an actress spends her time off the set, I appreciate this sentiment and also expect that the woman who plays her will bring a deep sense of spirituality, commitment, warmth and compassion to the work.

As these concerns come up among those who most love Mrs. Eddy and seek to see her accurately potrayed (as I do most of all!), I am committed to pressing forward in the sometimes daunting but always inspiring quest to make this film a reality, holding to the words of a hymn we sang at the service: “We expect a bright tomorrow, All will be well…” — Christian Science Hymnal, #350.