Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise has proven to be the ultimate daredevil when it comes to his big screen career. At 57-years old, Cruise is still pulling off death-defying stunts that seem to be getting bigger and bigger, especially when it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Cruise took it another step further with Top Gun: Maverick, because he actually suited up to do some real flying in F-18 jets. Even more surprising, he got the rest of the cast to hop in cockpits too. Cruise said, “There’s never been an aerial sequence shot this way.”

Empire spoke to Tom Cruise as well as Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer about what to expect for the sequel. For Cruise, he didn’t even want to touch a sequel if they had to use special effects for all the aerial sequences. The actor talked about his meeting with Bruckheimer about Maverick:

“We just started talking, and I realised that there were things that we could accomplish cinematically. And I started getting excited about this big challenge of, ‘How do we do it?’ So I said to Jerry, ‘I’ll do it if…’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff.”

That’s a big change from the original movie from 1986. Bruckheimer recalled the initial attempt to put the cast in F-14 jets for the first Top Gun, and it turned out disastrously:

“What’s different about this movie is that [in Top Gun] we put the actors in the F-14s and we couldn’t use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up. It’s hysterical to see their eyes roll back in their heads. So everything was done on a gimbal. But in this movie, Tom wanted to make sure the actors could actually be in the F-18s.”

Surely that required infinitely more training for the film’s stars, which we’ll hopefully hear about more in featurettes as the release of the movie gets closer (that is, assuming the movie is able to hold its June 24, 2020 release date in the wake of all the coronavirus chaos). What’s impressive is that Cruise was able to convince Paramount Pictures to let it happen. Cruise recalled:

“I said to the studio, ‘You don’t know how hard this movie’s going to be. No-one’s ever done this before,’ There’s never been an aerial sequence shot this way. I don’t know if there ever will be again, to be honest.”

The risk is high to do this kind of stunt work on a major motion picture. The insurance alone is probably a nightmare, let alone the fear of losing one of the actors if something goes wrong. But there were likely safeguards in place to ensure that the chances of anyone dying while shooting these sequences was very small.

Watch the most recent trailer for Top Gun: Maverick right here.

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”

Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

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