The Awesome Perk That Sold Tom Cruise On Starring In Top Gun, According To Jerry Bruckheimer

Top Gun has become such a classic film at this point that it’s difficult to believe that it was hard to get the actor they wanted to star in it. However, according to Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise was originally reticent about taking the part of Maverick. Getting him to change his mind was actually a pretty major undertaking as it apparently involved contacting the United States Navy and putting Tom Cruise in one of the famous Blue Angels jets. Once he’d been up in the air however, the deal was done.

The accomplished producer was on Jimmy Kimmel Live recently and talked about the experience of trying to get Tom Cruise on board the project. For whatever reason, Bruckheimer doesn’t go into detail, Crusie wasn’t entirely interested in doing the film at first. Bruckheimer seemed to think the solution was to actually get the actor up inside a Navy jet. He contacted the Navy, (he makes it sound like you can just call them up and ask for stuff) and was able to make arrangements to get Tom Cruise taken up with the famous formation flyers.

[Cruise] gets on his motorcycle, he scoots to El Centro, he gets off the motorcycle, and he had a pony tail. He had just finished a movie called Legend. The pilots look at him and go, 'We're going to give this guy the ride of his life. This little hippie...' So they take Tom up there. They give him 5Gs. They do barrel rolls and everything. He's heaving in the plane. He gets on the tarmac, runs to a pay phone... and he says, 'I'm in. I'm doing the movie. This is great!'

We love that the Naval aviators didn’t take well to the actor’s long hair. He had just completed filming on the fantasy movie Legend, and so Bruckheimer says they may have pushed their planes a bit harder than they otherwise might. The result, however, was an incredibly excited, if possibly nauseous, Cruise, who immediately agreed to do the movie after landing.

Jerry Bruckheimer has produced several of the highest grossing films of all time. Everything from Beverly Hills Cop to most of the films directed by Michael Bay, to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. However, Top Gun may be his most well-known film of them all. Tom Cruise has spoken in the past about the love that he did have for flying during the filming of Top Gun. He loved it so much that he apparently had additional flights in the F-14 fighter worked into his contract so that he would get to do it again. He’s gone so far as to say that if the oft-rumored sequel to Top Gun ever materializes, one of his conditions would be that all the fighter jet sequences would have to be practical effects and not CGI. Whether he believes the movie would be truly better that way, or just wants to guarantee himself more flight time is not clear. Check out the full comments below.

We’re certainly glad that Tom Cruise ended up doing Top Gun as now we can’t think of the movie existing without him. Now we just hope he makes the same decision for Top Gun 2.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.