Tom Cruise And The Top Gun: Maverick Cast Went Through Some Crazy Training Involving Blindfolds And A Cage

Helmeted Tom Cruise flying fighter plane in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

It’s no secret that the Top Gun: Maverick cast and crew went to great lengths to pull off the high-flying feats within the long-awaited sequel. While we’ve learned about the crazy work they had to do in the plane, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joseph Kosinski explained the underwater training the cast also had to go through to be ready for the film, and it involved blindfolds and a cage. 

While speaking at Deadline’s The Contenders LA3C Conference, Bruckheimer described the intense water training the cast had to go through. The Top Gun: Maverick producer said: 

They put them into a cage blindfolded, dump them in the water about six or eight feet down and turn them upside down. They had to figure out how to get out of that cage.

Tom Cruise explained in a behind-the-scenes video for Top Gun: Maverick that the Navy has training protocol for if pilots need to eject from a jet and survive in the water, which is why the cast ended up blindfolded, in a cage, underwater. 

Kosinski elaborated on the cast’s training, saying that he knew they would be able to get Tom Cruise up in the planes, since he’s spent so long doing his own intense stunts, and is a pilot. However, he wasn’t sure about the rest of the cast. The director explained: 

So, Tom devised this three-month course for all the actors, to start with a very simple airplane and work their way up to the Navy jet. They all were able to do all their scenes in the jets for real, which is just phenomenal because you can’t imagine how physically difficult it is to do what they’re doing. They’re flying with real Top Gun pilots. They’re doing the same maneuvers, even more intense maneuvers than they do in training.

This intense training came into play because Cruise was insistent on shooting “everything for real,” Bruckheimer explained. The actor behind Maverick said that in the first movie all the actors threw up in the F14s, and they couldn’t use the footage. So, this time they spent months training the actors to make sure they were ready to go perform in the F18s.

You know the scenes they were filming are intense when even the Navy pilot who was flying the aircraft said he’d never shoot specific scenes ever again because they were so extreme. However, the cast has also made it clear their training really did pay off, and they were able to get up in the air and capture some seriously incredible scenes. 

In the BTS video, Glen Powell, who played Hangman, explained that this incremental training was a “gift” from Cruise, because by the time the cast got into the F18s they could “handle it.” 

Well, clearly going underwater in a cage, and the entire training program was worth it. Not only is Top Gun: Maverick the most successful movie on the 2022 movie schedule, it’s also a serious contender going into Oscar season, already picking up one prestigious award

If you are interested in seeing the cast’s training pay off, you’ll be able to stream Top Gun: Maverick with a Paramount+ subscription on December 22, and you can see it in theaters until December 15

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.