Tom Cruise is considered to be one of the greatest action stars in the history of cinema, with many naming him as the best to ever do it. One of the reasons for this is his desire to commit to the physicality of his roles. This has been especially true when it comes to his prep for Top Gun: Maverick. Aside from performing stunts for the film, he’s also put his younger co-stars through a specific training regimen, and it doesn’t sound like it’s for the faint of heart.
Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer explained that Tom Cruise had his castmates endure tough, training exercises so they would be prepared for the gravitational forces that come with flying combat jets. This included treacherous, water survival training. But Cruise wouldn’t let them do these exercises alone, as he also participated. And according to his young colleagues, he looked good doing it:
He put the actors through this grueling process over three months so they could take the G-forces when we put them in the F/A-18s. It was really a tough slog for these young actors, because they also had to go through water survival training, where they are blindfolded and put in a water tank that’s turned upside down and they have to figure out how to get out. And Tom went through all the same stuff! They told me he went through that training just like a 22-year-old would — that's how good he is.
I mean are we really surprised by Jerry Bruckheimer’s comments to Yahoo!? Tom Cruise’s commitment to training is almost unparalleled, and the 57-year-old actor practically looks ageless when performing on screen. So it’s not hard to imagine that he would have this kind of intensity while preparing to reprise his fan-favorite role. In addition, it’s nice to see he wasn’t willing to make his co-stars do anything that he wouldn’t do himself.
This is also isn’t the first time we’ve heard about just how team-oriented during training for Top Gun: Maverick. It was previously revealed that Cruise actually paid for a co-star's flight training. You honestly can’t beat that kind of generosity, and it says a lot about just how much Cruise values the people he works with.
The original Top Gun is notable for its extensive and accurate use of fighter pilots, and Tom Cruise only wanted to ramp up that level of practicality for the sequel. Apparently, during early negotiations, Cruise’s biggest request was that the sequel use more practical effects as opposed to CGI.
We still have a lot of questions about Top Gun: Maverick, such as how Val Kilmer's Iceman will factor into the story. But one thing we don’t have to wonder is how dedicated Tom Cruise is to making it a memorable (and authentic) cinematic experience.
Top Gun: Maverick will fly into theaters on December 23.