Tom Cruise Opens Up About Intense ‘Boot Camp’ He Put The Top Gun: Maverick Cast Through (And Miles Teller Confirms It)

Tom Cruise and Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick, pictured side by side.
(Image credit: Paramount/Skydance)

Watching the newly debuted trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, it finally feels as if it's time to get back into the cockpit and fly into the Danger Zone once more. Of course, with a movie that looks this intense, I'd expect the training to be punishing, and it sounds like that was true for the project's dedicated cast and crew. Sure enough, Tom Cruise recently opened up about a “program” he put his young castmates through, with Miles Teller confirming the "Tom Cruise Boot Camp" was absolutely in effect. As you can see, the way both actors describe the experience does vary slightly in tone, but rightfully so.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

(Image credit: Skydance Media)

Tom Cruise Opens Up About The Top Gun: Maverick Training “Program”

A totally on-brand (for Cruise at least) method of preparation was apparently required homework for Top Gun: Maverick’s cast of pilots. Committing himself to realistic on-camera flight was one thing, but the legendary Hollywood superstar wanted that same realism out of the new recruits to the legacy-quel. Which mean it was time for Tom Cruise to get to work, as he noted in an interview with our sister site Total Film:

I developed a whole program for the actors, and how we could get them in the [F/A-18s]. 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.

Without question, that is the full Tom Cruise experience in a nutshell. The man’s insane attention to detail and commitment has manifested in many ways, especially in the more recent years of his career. Top Gun is a big deal legacy title, especially for Tom Cruise. So of course he'd go intense on the training for the sequel, maybe even moreso than usual.

Other stories from the Top Gun: Maverick boot camp have come out in the extended lead up to the film’s release. Case in point, fellow young aviator/cast member Lewis Pullman admitted to throwing up quite a bit in the cockpit at some point during the shoot. Surely all of those young rookies in the Top Gun: Maverick cast have their stories to tell, and Miles Teller is no exception. Which leads to his respectful, but more detailed memory of the process.

Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Miles Teller’s Confirms The “Tom Cruise Boot Camp” Experience

Playing the role of Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Anthony Edwards’ fallen aviator from the original Top Gun, one could suspect that Teller might be one of the star pupils among this crop of new talent. Reading his story detailing the training process for Top Gun 2, it sounds like no one got any special treatment, and all were tested to their fullest extent:

We were all mini Toms making this movie. 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.

Teller would know that wringer quite well, as previously he detailed his experience with an intense training apparatus known as “The Dunker.” It’s certainly telling how these stories differ slightly in tone, as from Tom Cruise’s perspective it almost sounds like his program was standard operating procedure. Upon reading Miles Teller’s Top Gun: Maverick story, “boot camp” certainly sounds more appropriate to those of us who aren’t regular citizens of the Danger Zone.

Results like the ones shown in the promotions for this new Top Gun story can’t be argued with though. Even just reading the description of the 15 minutes shown at last year’s CinemaCon matches the envelope-pushing approach that Tom Cruise, as well as the cast and crew, have engaged in with Top Gun: Maverick. The need for speed clearly isn’t enough in the modern age, as Captain Pete Mitchell is looking for something much more potent, and he’s taking his new recruits along for the ride.

Top Gun: Maverick will finally fly high in 2022! After having its world premiere in San Diego, as well as a huge screening/tribute to Tom Cruise at the Cannes Film Festival shortly after, the movie will wow audiences exclusively in theaters on May 27th. For all other adventures set to blast into a theater near you, consult our full list of upcoming movies on the 2022 calendar. Last, but not least, if you want to take a stroll down memory lane, Top Gun is available for streaming on Netflix at the time of this writing. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.