What Miles Teller Remembers Most About Filming His ‘Cathartic’ Final Scenes With Tom Cruise For Top Gun: Maverick

This story is going to get into spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick, so if you landed in here but haven’t yet strapped yourself in for the sequel, pull the eject chord now.

For the bulk of Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise’s legendary fighter pilot is hated on by Miles Teller’s Rooster, the son of the late Goose who blames Mav for his father’s death. Maverick could clear up some of the disconnect between the men, but first he needs to train Rooster and his compatriots to complete a harrowing mission… if Maverick decides to nominate Rooster for the gig, in the first place. The emotional tension between these two men gives Top Gun: Maverick more emotional weight than I personally expected, and the moment when Rooster and Maverick return to the flight deck and hug as the movie concludes, I legitimately choked up. The pent-up frustration expressed by Miles Teller throughout the movie finally melted away. 

So when we sat across from each other at the Top Gun: Maverick world premiere press event in San Diego, I had to ask Miles Teller what it felt like to film that pivotal scene with Tom Cruise, knowing how much emotion needed to be conveyed between the actors. And he told CinemaBlend:

I just remember it’s tough to… there’s very few moments, I think, that are satisfying between two characters that kind of put a button on it. And I just remember, you know, the whole cast is there and just knowing what our characters went through – I think ‘cathartic’ is a good word. But yeah, we are on the flight deck. We’re on the carrier. And it was just really sweet.

I confessed to Miles Teller during our conversation that it was during the hug when the tears I had been holding back finally emerged, and I gave in to the emotional sobs of the moment. Top Gun: Maverick earned them. And he jokingly told me:

That’s what Top Gun’s been doping for years! Making grown men cry.

After opening weekend, Top Gun cried into a big pile of money. The movie broke box-office records over the Memorial Day weekend, packing theaters and earning raves from the critical community. Part of the success – as well as the emotion – stems from the popularity of the Lady Gaga track “Hold My Hand,” which Tom Cruise himself credits as being the beating heart of the movie. Though, a conversation with Joseph Kosinski on CinemaBlend’s official ReelBlend podcast revealed that Gaga’s track replaced Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” for a totally different reason. His explanation makes a lot of sense. 

By now, you have seen Top Gun: Maverick… or else, you shouldn’t be down here reading this far, because I kinda spoiled the ending for you. If you are thinking about going back to see the sequel on the big screen again, there is a specific way to see an extra hour of footage you won’t find anywhere else. And be sure to scan our list of upcoming 2022 movies to see what else is playing at a theater near you.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.