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Top Gun: Maverick’s Miles Teller Reveals The Origin Of His Viral Shirtless Dance

Top Gun: Maverick pretty much has everything a moviegoer could want out of a summer blockbuster. It’s got Tom Cruise, a lovable cast, impressive jets and of course, a scene that involves shirtless pilots playing football on a beach. That last element gained a significant amount of attention, especially because of Miles Teller (who plays Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw). During the sequence, Teller did a shirtless dance that’s since gone viral. The actor has already responded to the hype but is now providing some more insight into his major movie moment. 

The football scene takes place during the sequel's second act and, in it, Tom Cruise’s Maverick uses the game to build camaraderie among his Top Gun recruits. The teacher’s method proves to be effective, and the end result is a fun sequence filled with sand, sun and glistening abs. Miles Teller’s were on full display when he danced, and the actor seemed to be more than comfortable while jamming out. He spoke about his moves during his appearance on DESUS & MERO, explaining that it’s somewhat inspired by a classic movie:

That was a move that me and my buddies would just bust out at parties and shit. Because I think, for me dancing has always been ‘don’t take yourself too seriously.’ So I’m sure people could find it online, I always knew that dance as the Weekend at Bernie’s dance. Where you’re king of dead and your shoulders go back.

Now that I think about it, that definitely tracks, but it also worked for that moment. Based on the vibe of the sequence, it seemed like all of the stars felt a level of freedom while filming it. That’s likely because, at the time, they weren’t sure what was going to make the final cut, according to the Rooster actor:

But to be fair, in the beach when we did that scene nobody knew when the cameras were on them. Because we just kind of did some stuff and they were just running it. So I had no idea that they even caught that moment.

It was clear way before the film’s release that the football scene was meant to parallel the original film’s shirtless volleyball sequence, a moment that “Danger Zone” singer Kenny Loggins believes is important. (I’d actually argue that the sequel’s big beach game is more vital to the sequel’s plot, though). All in all, the Top Gun: Maverick actors busted their bums to get prepared for the scene, except for Tom Cruise – who apparently didn’t need much prep.

While Miles Teller did his share of prep, his co-star, Glen Powell, really committed to getting himself right before the cameras started rolling. Fellow Maverick alum Lewis Pullman remembered their training and recalled Powell repeating a funny chant to himself. But after the work was done, he was finally able to chow down and unwind a bit. I’d assume some of his castmates did the same. 

Glen Powell’s aforementioned chant was “montages last forever,” and I think it’s safe to say that moviegoers are never going to forget the football sequence or Miles Teller’s dance. I’m sure plenty of people are hoping that he and Cruise do reunite for Top Gun 3 so that he gets another chance to bust a move.

Those eager to revisit or check out the moment for the first time can see Top Gun: Maverick in theaters now.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.