Tom Cruise didn't become the world's leading action hero by accident – the actor works hard, and he expects his colleagues to do the same. That's perhaps never been more true than on Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel 36 years in the making.
Speaking to Total Film magazine (opens in new tab) in the new issue, featuring Top Gun: Maverick on the cover, Cruise says it was essential to bring together a team with no egos as they needed the "commitment to shoot the actors practically, inside the Boeing F/A-18 Superhornet jets."
“I developed a whole program for the actors, and how we could get them in the [F/A-18s],” he continues. "It was every step of the way. I had to teach them how to fly. I had to teach them how to handle gs. I had to get them confident in the aeroplane."
"We were all mini Toms making this movie," says co-star Miles Teller, who plays Goose’s son, Rooster. "He put us through... I’ll just call it a 'Tom Cruise boot camp'. We were getting in killer shape. And also for the stunts and stuff that Tom does in movies, it’s usually a very specific type of training. You’re not just going into the gym and lifting some weights. We did flight training for three months before we started filming... We got put through the wringer."
The sheer amount of time the cast spent in the skies marks a significant shift from Cruise’s experience on the first film. Ahead of shooting the original, he stipulated that he’d be filmed in a Grumman F-14 Tomcat jet. "When I first committed to the first Top Gun, I did it based on the fact that I’d be filmed in the F-14, and I’d get to fly in the F-14," he says. "I wanted to give the audience that experience of what it’s like being a fighter pilot, and what that world is like, and the culture of it."
But the actual time up in the air was limited, and the footage of the largely unprepared actors not that useful. "On the first movie, we put all the actors in an F-14, and we couldn’t use a frame of it, except for some stuff on Tom – that was it,” recalls producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "Their eyes were rolling back into their heads. They were throwing up. So Tom remembered that, and since he’s an avid pilot, he said, 'We’ve got to train them to be able to handle the g-forces.'"
For much more from Cruise, Teller, the new cast, and the filmmaking team of Joe Kosinski, Bruckheimer, and Christopher McQuarrie, check out the new issue of Total Film (opens in new tab) when it hits shelves on Thursday 31 March. Top Gun: Maverick opens in UK cinemas on May 25, and US cinemas on May 27.(opens in new tab)
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