Every time I see those ads for the new Knight Rider series I hear Val Kilmer’s roboticized voice and cringe. I know it was easy work, the sort of thing you do in a bathrobe with a tumbler of Campari in hand, but I can’t help it. I know the guy can be better, or at least a lot more fun, and I want to see it happen. Despite the absurd number of projects that litter the recent half of his IMDB page, I feel like we haven’t seen Kilmer do much in a long time.

Yes, Bad Lieutenant is coming.

And Kilmer’s wild little indie streak continues with two new pictures. One is the excruciatingly-poorly titled Fake Identity for Nu Image / Millennium, which will give the actor a working vacation in Bulgaria as he plays “an American doctor working in Chechnya whose life takes a deadly turn
when he helps a mysterious woman escape from her would-be assailant.”I don’t know anything about writer/director Dennis Dimster-Denk aside from the fact that he wrote a short called Cat in the Bag, which is a greak breakfast dish at the Croatian version of IHOP.

Meanwhile, The Steam Experiement will put Kilmer almost in the opposite role, as a former professor enacting his own version of the Stanford Prison Experiment as enabled by the puppet from Saw. He locks six people in a Turkish bathouse, cranks up the steam and watches for the inevitable meltdown. The film is shooting now in Grand Rapids, MI with Eric Roberts (yes!), Megan Brown, Patrick Muldoon, Eve Mauro, Quinn Duffy and Cordelia Reynolds as the lock-ins and Armand Assante as the investigating detective. There’s always an investigating detective, so it might as well be Assante. Rob Malkani wrote and Philippe “JCVD’s Wake of Death” Martinez is directing.