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


Twain Eddy Update

Wednesday, 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.
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Thank you. Val Kilmer

A New Year’s card

Monday, 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

Monday, December 13th, 2010

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

Val reads from Twain’s autobiography at Berkeley

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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. (more…)

Val Kilmer starring in new film by Francis Ford Coppola

Tuesday, 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. (more…)