Top Gun: Maverick Director Joseph Kosinski Shot 800 Hours Of Footage

Joseph Kosinski knows his way around a long movie. His feature films "Tron: Legacy," "Oblivion," and "Only the Brave" all surpass the two-hour mark, but the editing team of the highly-anticipated "Top Gun: Maverick" surely had their work cut out for them. According to an interview with Empire, Kosinski confessed to having shot around 800 hours of footage for the film. He put the length in perspective by noting that the hour amount equated to as much footage as all three "Lord of the Rings" movies combined. Apparently, Kosinski was serious about his need for speed. "Top Gun: Maverick" takes place more than three decades from Tony Scott's original 1986 film, with Tom Cruise returning as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell.

Kostanski said a good chunk of the footage came from the months of aerial shooting for all of the scenes in the sky. "Out of a 12 or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage," Kosinski said. "But it was so hard-earned." That said, it wasn't just the aerial sequences that were responsible for the gargantuan number of hours filmed, it was also the numerous shots in the cockpit. Actors had to learn how to use filmmaking equipment themselves, as the cockpits were too small to fit a film crew inside. This meant the actors had to learn the fundamentals of cinematography, lighting, editing, lenses, and actual camera operations. "We didn't have unlimited time in these jets," he said. "If they were going up for 20–30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed."

'Your face better be telling the story'

While Cruise has always reveled in pulling off ridiculously dangerous stunts on his own, the requirement for actors to essentially film themselves while in the jets was no easy feat. "You had to be incredibly efficient," Miles Teller told Empire. "You had to, a lot of the time, create an imaginary eye line to where another jet would be, and when you say a line, your face better be telling the story — the sun needs to be at the right angle." Teller is playing Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of "Top Gun" favorite Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) who unfortunately died in the first film.

Joining Cruise and Teller are Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis, and Ed Harris. Val Kilmer is also slated to return in a cameo performance as his character Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. Fingers crossed this means we also get the return of his iconic "chomp" threat. With 800 hours of footage, it's gotta be in there somewhere.

"Top Gun: Maverick" flies into theaters on May 27, 2022.