Top Gun: Maverick’s Miles Teller Talks Enduring 'The Dunker' And More As Part Of His Flight Training

Miles Teller as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw in Top Gun: Maverick (2021)

Top Gun: Maverick will once again allow moviegoers to take to the skies with Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, but he’ll be joined by a few new faces this time around. One of these new characters is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late friend and RIO, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Miles Teller is playing the younger Bradshaw and, like the other newcomers to the franchise, he had to go through some rigorous flight training before the cameras started rolling. Teller did get ripped for his new role, but he still faced plenty of challenges while prepping, which included enduring an experience with the “dunker.”

To put it simply, Miles Teller went some rough exercises in order to prepare for Top Gun: Maverick. The actor spent seven weeks getting himself in tiptop shape, according to Men’s Health. With the help of trainer Jason Walsh, the six-foot tall Teller was able to add 20 pounds of muscle to his 180-pound frame. Teller also sat in the back of a Cessna jet while the pilot allowed the plane to stall.

But it sounds like the most excruciating aspect of it all was the actor’s experience with the dunker. The trade describes it as a “naval torture chamber” that sees someone strapped to a chair, blindfolded, dropped into water and spun upside down. And if that weren’t enough, the participant must find their way out or risk drowning.

As grueling as it sounds, Miles Teller was actually able to handle it without any sort of problem. Still, when he spoke with Men’s Health he acknowledged the difficulty with flying planes and stressed how important it is for a pilot to understand the jet:

I never puked. There is none of that alpha bravado. Flying these jets is so hard. The difference between a squadron pilot and a Top Gun pilot is how well they understand the plane.

You really have to give Miles Teller his just due for powering through with his training. It would be fair to point out that he is getting paid millions of dollars to star in Top Gun: Maverick, which gives him some kind of incentive. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the stunts and training associated with the role definitely aren’t for everyone.

As the film’s lead, Tom Cruise set the tone for the rest of the cast, as he underwent plenty of strenuous training of his own. The 58-year-old actor still has plenty of energy, and Teller admitted that he had a hard time keeping up with him on set. Still, Cruise made sure that his co-stars were getting the most out of the experience, even going as far as to pay for one of his colleague’s flight training.

The footage we’ve seen from Top Gun: Maverick so far has been impressive so, at this point, it doesn’t look like the efforts of Miles Teller, Tom Cruise and their co-stars will have been in vain. We’ll see how things pan out when the highly anticipated sequel soars into theaters on July 2, 2021.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.