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To play rock legend Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie The Doors, Kilmer started with the music, learning how to sing 50 of the band's songs. He reportedly spent hours in the studio poring over Morrison's vocal performances and watching endless footage of Morrison's interviews to get a sense of his personality and mannerisms.

On set, the cast and crew referred to him as Jim, and many claimed by the end of filming they were unable to tell the difference between Morrison's singing voice and Kilmer's. But when filming ended, Kilmer claimed he had to go to therapy to get Jim out of his system. Rock producer Paul Rothchild, who knew Morrison, claimed that Kilmer "knows Jim Morrison better than Jim ever knew himself."

Ferri, J. (2017, June 4). Actors Who Were Never the Same After a Role. Retrieved from www.looper.com

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Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan in The Doors, 1991

During the press tour for his 1998 memoir Light My Fire, The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek continued to criticize Oliver Stone for his highly inaccurate biopic on the band released six years earlier. At one reading and signing event that summer, I asked Manzarek from a crowd of fans why he doesn't just make his own movie about The Doors if he's that upset about Stone's. He'd gone to film school, after all, and now he had a new book all set for adaptation. He replied that he was more interested in some other film ideas he had (one of which became Love Her Madly, his 2000 romantic thriller that gives Jim Morrison a story credit).

 

John Densmore and Jim Morrison in Feast of Friends

1968: Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter (working on houses, building sets) when he was asked by photographer and former UCLA student Paul Ferrara if he would like help out on a documentary about The Doors. It was an opportunity the 25-year-old Ford gladly accepted—though his experience of working with the band would leave him "one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery."

Actor Harrison Ford had a brief stint behind the camera in 1968.

It's a fact few people know, but Harrison Ford, who's made a career out of being in front of the camera, once shot Jim Morrison.

The Doors (l-r: Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore, and Ray Manzarek) backstage on their 1968 tour in Feast of Friends.

While definitely not for the casual fan, Feast of Friends offers hardcore Doors aficionados a treasure trove of rare and unreleased footage, all of it all glowingly restored. Shot with the band's cooperation while on their 1968 tour, the fly-on-the-wall documentary Feast of Friends was shelved once singer Jim Morrison—who would have turned 71 years old Monday—was arrested in Miami the next year for lewdness and profanity.

Jim Morrison by Stephan Beauvais

Jim Morrison Project

The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, films, art, spoken word & music with The Doors.