Tom Cruise Had One Big Request For Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick.

It’s been over 30 years since Top Gun first hit theaters, but franchise star Tom Cruise still has the need for speed. As most know, Cruise takes stunt work and spectacle very seriously, and he’s taken measures to ensure that the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, is a thrilling follow-up. Although the actor went all in on helping to plan the effects, he did so on one key condition:

We just started talking. And I realized that there were things that we could accomplish cinematically. And I started getting excited about this big challenge of, ‘How do we do it?’ So I said to Jerry, ‘I’ll do it if…’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff.

Tom Cruise emphasized this desire for practical effects during a recent interview with Empire Magazine. According to the actor, he also used those early conversations with Paramount to stress just how big of an undertaking Top Gun: Maverick would be:

I said to the studio, ‘You don’t know how hard this movie’s going to be. No-one’s ever done this before.’ There’s never been an aerial sequence shot this way. I don’t know if there ever will be again, to be honest.

The fact that Cruise is putting so much focus on practicality is not the least bit surprising. The original Top Gun was praised for its effects and aerial stunts, which is even more impressive considering it lacked certain filming technology that’s used today.

Also, as previously alluded to, Cruise himself fully commits to any project he’s involved with. He learned to pilot a helicopter so that he could perform aerial stunts for Mission: Impossible – Fallout. And as we speak, he’s likely still working on death-defying stunts for the franchise’s latest installment, which was recently shooting in England.

This can-do attitude has naturally seeped into his work on Top Gun: Maverick, as he and his castmates are said to have gone through grueling training to prepare for fligh. Aside from learning to fly jets, Cruise also does some motorcycle work in the film.

The reward for injecting practical effects into a film can be great since they ultimately give off a realistic vibe that further immerses audiences into the cinematic experience. The only problem is that doing so can be both tedious and time-consuming. Yet many filmmakers still opt to take on the challenge in the hope that it will improve their art.

Tom Cruise’s actions at the negotiating table and on set would indicate that Top Gun: Maverick has truly been a labor of love, one that he and his team have put a tremendous amount of thought into. There’s no telling how the final product will pan out, but things seem to be flying in the right direction. Top Gun: Maverick is set to soar into theaters on June 24.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

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