Top Gun: Maverick’s Glen Powell Shares Incredible Stories About Tom Cruise’s Go-Go-Go Attitude On Set: ‘Tom Likes To Live Fast.’

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Skydance Media)

Tom Cruise is known as one actor who is never afraid to give it his all. He’s not only willing to do all his own stunts, he largely insists on it. It takes a certain type of person to want to hang off buildings and jump motorcycles off cliffs, and so it is likely unsurprising that Cruise just has an attitude on set that is always pushing forward.

Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick co-star (and potential future gif) Glen Powell appeared at a luncheon at the recent CinemaCon where CinemaBlend was in attendance. Powell told us that his co-star “likes to live fast” and as an example, talked about the fighter jet sequences that were filmed for the movie. While the rest of the cast were limited in what they were physically capable of doing in the jets each day, Cruise was pushing himself much further. Powell explained…   

It’s incredibly painful. Every time we went up there you just have to sort of brace for a fight. You get on the ground and you’re just exhausted when you fly two or three times [in particular]. That’s the other thing about Tom. He’s flying more than everyone else in the movie. You know, we’d fly one time a day, and you’re gassed and he would fly three. So, no, it’s not as much fun as you would imagine. What they say is it’s like ‘riding a dragon.’ You just hold on and you try to look as cool as possible. Hangman’s supposed to be ‘cool’ and you’re just like trying not to puke. Half our shots in this movie I am literally holding a bag of my puke while I’m acting.

While it certainly makes sense that Tom Cruise would need to fly more than all his Top Gun: Maverick co-stars, he is playing the movie’s main character after all, the bigger thing here is that Tom Cruise was able to fly so much more than everybody else. Cruise had certainly done some of this before, having starred in the original Top Gun, but that was decades ago. Tom Cruise seems to simply be built for putting his body through more than the rest of us can handle.

Which is not to say Tom Cruise doesn’t do his part to make sure his co-stars are able to do as much as possible themselves. We knew that Tom Cruise helped put together the Top Gun training program for the rest of the actors, so they would be able to properly handle the work in the fighter jets. Cruise was so supportive of the rest of the cast that he gave them presents when they completed the training. Powell continued…  

Tom [Cruise] put together the entire training program so we wouldn’t be passing out in government assets. Which was very nice of him. We started in the Cessna 172… and then the F-18. So that was just a gradual process in order to get our G-tolerance up so that we could act and ride around on these jets. Then after that I just kind of had a love of aviation and Tom was a great cheerleader in terms of saying, ‘Hey, you passed your ground yet? You get your check ride?’ The day that I passed my check ride, I got on the ground and there was a gift that said ‘welcome to the skies’ from Tom. And it was hours and hours of race car driving classes.

Fans have been waiting for a sequel to Top Gun for a very long time, and that wait is almost over. Those fans have been promised that Top Gun: Maverick will live up to expectations. Based on some of the early critical reactions to Maverick, it succeeds. We’ll find out for sure later this month.  

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

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