Top Gun: Maverick Star Has A Funny Take On Not Getting A Shirtless Shot During The Football Scene

Jay Ellis in Top Gun: Maverick in the cockpit of an aircraft
(Image credit: Paramount)

Top Gun: Maverick has made serious money at the box office this summer and, while fans enjoyed the film for its nostalgic factor and badass fighter jet scenes, there’s another scene that's stolen their hearts as well. In the spirit of the original’s shirtless beach volleyball scene, the 2022 film release had its own beach scene, which had fans stanning the film’s stars. Jay Ellis, however, went without his own signature shirtless shot during the sequence, and he has a funny take on missing out.

Jay Ellis is certainly not shy when it comes to taking off his clothes in front of a camera. He has gone fully nude for his role in Insecure and frequently shows up shirtless in his roles. He does indeed take his shirt off for Top Gun: Maverick’s beach football scene, but he does not receive a close-up like most of his castmates do. In an exclusive interview with Insider, Ellis responded to the lack of exposure for his pecs. It seems like the star is taking it all with some pretty solid humor, as he is grateful to be a part of a production that doesn't put too much focus on his bod. Here it is in his own words:

No! I remember the first time I saw that and I was like, ‘Huh. Wait! What?’ But then I had this moment where I realized I've spent the last 6-7 years butt naked on TV. I'm happy for people to recognize me in my clothes. It's a new thing for me.

The star talked about being happy that he can get some recognition for being fully clothed now but, in the same interview, he went onto suggest that the rest of the cast might be happy he didn’t get a featured shirtless shot, too. According to the star, he’s got the rest of the cast beat when it comes to looking good without a shirt on. This is what he says, exactly:

But I will also say, I realized I look better than all of them shirtless. What can I say? [Laughs.] I don't want to embarrass the biggest movie star in the world! It wouldn't be fair to Tom. And Miles and Glen. Any of them. [Laughs.] But honestly, it didn't bug me because it was the first time I was like, I'm not a piece of meat after all.

Although Jay Ellis is clearly talking with some humor here, I can’t help but really feel for him when he says Top Gun: Maverick gave him validation when it comes to the idea that he isn’t just “a piece of meat” for film productions and viewers. While fans certainly seem to like looking at him, that’s surely not really a great feeling for many performers.

No matter the reason for Jay Ellis’ lack of featured shirtless shot, it sounds like it worked out for everyone involved. Ellis was able to feel pride and comfort in how he was portrayed in the film, and the other actors’ abs got their time to shine. Even Miles Teller’s shirtless shot went viral. Who knows, maybe that wouldn’t have happened if Ellis had stolen the show.

If you haven’t been able to see the movie yet, you may get your second chance as some theaters are bringing Top Gun: Maverick back in a big way. Even if the sweaty shirtless scene doesn’t do it for you, the film stands on its own as a truly enjoyable follow up to the OG film, and is totally worth the watch.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.