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The Funny Reason The Original Top Gun Couldn't Use Any Footage Of Actors In Real Jets

Tom Cruise in Top Gun

Top Gun: Maverick is one of the most highly anticipated sequels we've had in a long time. The 1986 original was an incredibly popular film that continues to make fans of those that see it. From the moment the new movie was given the green light it was clear there was a desire to make it worth the wait by making Maverick an exciting film that shows fans things they've never seen before, and it will, though apparently the first movie did try.

Rather than doing all the F-18 flying digitally or on a sound stage, Top Gun: Maverick actually got its actors up in jets and filmed them up there for the flying sequences. It's going to give us moments on the big screen that we've literally never seen before, but maybe not for lack of trying. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer admits that when making the first Top Gun, they filmed all the actors in the air as well, but all the footage was unusable, because it was apparently just full of actors vomiting. According to Bruckheimer...

What’s different about this movie is that [in Top Gun] we put the actors in the F-14s and we couldn’t use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up. It’s hysterical to see their eyes roll back in their heads. So everything was done on a gimbal. But in this movie, Tom wanted to make sure the actors could actually be in the F-18s.

Actual naval aviators go through years of training to be able to handle the G-forces and motion of flying fighter jets. I would wager most of us would lose our lunch up in the air going through even a fraction of what they do, so it's maybe not that big a shock that Jerry Bruckheimer is telling Empire the first Top Gun couldn't use any footage of the actors. Still, it's pretty funny to imagine that the studio just has all these outtakes of all the actors just vomiting all over the jets. How much of Top Gun's budget was spent on cleaning, do you think?

The original Top Gun had to resort to other means to get the shots it needed, but Top Gun: Maverick will include real footage of the characters in the jets they're supposed to be flying. It was something Tom Cruise insisted on for the film, and it apparently required quite a lot of training for the performers, which Tom Cruise actually helped pay for himself, making it less likely they'd get sick.

Now, the only question that remains about Top Gun: Maverick is when we'll see it. The film is scheduled to release in June, it actually moved its release date up by a couple of days just before things went to hell, but with everything in limbo as far the theaters go, it might still be some time. One day we'll see it, and when we do, it will hopefully live up to all expectations.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

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