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Miles Teller Insisted On Doing One Important Thing In Top Gun: Maverick Himself, And It Has Nothing To Do With Flying

Any time Tom Cruise is in an action movie you can be pretty sure Cruise is the one really doing those stunts. In Top Gun: Maverick Cruise, and the rest of the cast were the ones up in those planes. But it turns out flying in jets wasn’t the only activity that required the actors to do some work to do it live on screen. Miles Teller learned to play “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano himself.  Check out Teller's full comments in the video above.

Among the various callbacks to the original Top Gun found in Top Gun: Maverick is a scene early on that includes Miles Teller’s Rooster, son of Maverick's friend Goose, playing the Jerry Lee Lewis hit “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano in a bar, as Maverick and Goose did back in the day. CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell spoke with Teller, and he revealed that actually learned to play the song himself, though it turned out to be a bit tougher than he first thought. Teller explained…

I said ‘I played piano when I was younger. I still dabble a little bit. I don’t need a double. I will play and sing this live.’ But then you realize it’s a pretty hard song and he sings pretty high.

While there are lots of things that a professional actor needs to be good at, there are probably many that have never touched a piano in their lives. In that case it would be far easier to simply have somebody else actually play the piano, but Miles Teller thought he knew how to play well enough to pull the scene off himself.

And as it happens he was right, though it sounds like it was perhaps more work than he was prepared for to get it all right. Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the greats of rock and roll and he apparently put his not inconsiderable talent to work on “Great Balls of Fire.” It's not an easy song to play, but Teller makes it sound easy, and he's not a bad singer either.

Learning to play “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano may have been some work, though one expects it wasn’t quite as tough as the boot camp that the Top Gun: Maverick cast went through to simply be able to handle flying in fighter jets. Nobody was expected to actually fly of course, but simply being able to perform while in the cockpit was something that untrained people likely wouldn’t be able to do with any certainty.

The time and work put in to both fly, and also play piano, appears to have been worth it. Top Gun: Maverick is a massive hit, one of the biggest since before the pandemic. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.