Getting back into his old character was a joy for Val Kilmer.

The actor, who played the iconic Iceman in the original “Top Gun”, spoke with People about returning for the new sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” after more than three decades.

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He said playing the character again was “like being reunited with a long lost friend,” and added, “the characters never really go away. They live on in deep freeze. If you’ll pardon the pun.”

Kilmer also shared memories of filming the original movie in 1985.

“My main joy was the camaraderie of the cast, [producers] Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, along with the incredible, unflappable enthusiasm of Tony Scott and Tom Cruise,” he said. “My crew was Rick Rossovich [who played “Slider”], the funniest strong man in show business back then, and Barry Tubb [“Wolfman”]…  Oh, we all laughed till we fell down the hot, spiked crabgrass at the Holiday Inn in San Diego.”

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The actor was also asked about his off-screen relationship with co-star Tom Cruise while making the film.

“I am happy to announce we have home movies to prove how much fun we had!” Kilmer said, though they didn’t actually hang out much because “he was in virtually every scene and when he wasn’t rehearsing he was practicing flying or volleyball or singing or riding his motorcycle or a dozen other details like how you salute.”