Hollywood actor Val Kilmer has blamed "mean" people for slapping him with the unwanted reputation of being difficult to work with.

Over the years, Kilmer has been depicted by a number of people as being a tough colleague on movie sets, but he insists his devotion to a good performance is the only thing he's guilty of.

He says of acting, "There is one part of it that is potentially holy activity, and that is to represent our community - like SHAKESPEARE says, to hold a mirror up to nature.

"The personality or identity that I do have, that I'm proud of, is as an actor. I wasn't trying to get rich, or trying to make friends. And because I spoke frankly, some people thought I shouldn't have a career or something.

"But people are mean - I sound like a child, but there are mean people, some people are mean.

"But I've always been very sincere. I think it's an amazing privilege to be an actor, we get paid crazy money to do it, and spending every waking hour trying to make it as good as it can be - that's all I've ever tried to do."

07/09/2004 21:15