Top Gun: Maverick’s Jennifer Connelly Had Serious Anxiety Before Being Flying With Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

In a year filled with 2020 box office holdovers, Top Gun: Maverick has become one of 2021’s most anticipated films. Viewers have been waiting to see Tom Cruise back in action as Maverick since the film was announced. This time around, Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly is one of many newcomers to join the high-octane franchise. Despite the film dealing with fighter planes, Connelly didn’t expect to be in the air. But all that changed as the actress spoke on her anxiety before flying with Cruise.

While Tom Cruise remains one of Hollywood’s top earners, he has become known for doing his stunts. Of course, Top Gun: Maverick would be no different. Prior to being cast in the movie, Jennifer Connelly was already struggling with flight anxiety. So doing some crazy in-air stunts was less than ideal. Connelly explained her feelings at the time, saying:

What I was afraid to tell Tom at the time was that I had just recently decided to think myself out of a really crippling fear of flying that I had suffered from for years. And so originally when I signed on to do the movie there was no flying for my character. My character was on land, she was on the water, she was never in the air. There was a scene at one point where it’s taxing on a runway maybe in a plane together. So, Tom and I are shooting that scene and the plane, the P-51 is tiny. The top of the cockpit is right here and my knees are up against his back.

In her Graham Norton Show interview, Jennifer Connelly opened about how the innocent moment shifted quickly as she and Tom Cruise sat in the aircraft. Connelly revealed how Tom Cruise broke the news to her:

He’s like ‘Jen have you ever been in a plane like this before?’ I was like ‘No I haven’t, Tom. It’s amazing.’ He’s like ‘You have ever done any aerobatic flying before?’ I started to get nervous. ‘No, why? Will I be doing some?’ He’s like ‘It’s gonna be very graceful. Very elegant. Very elegant rolls. It’s going to be nice and easy.’ So that’s how I found out I was going to be up in the P-51 with Tom flying it.

Hearing Jennifer Connelly describing the moment was both insightful and scary. But knowing Tom Cruise’s stunt and flying background, Connelly shouldn’t have been too surprised. As evident by his injury during the Mission: Impossible Fallout shoot, Cruise seemingly doesn't mind taking risks for his craft. That project was a major hit, and next up the actor will be in the cockpit. Hopefully, Connelly's own flight sequence will be a highlight in the Top Gun sequel.

Jennifer Connelly’s anecdote was a nice peek behind the scenes into the anticipated sequel. With that in mind, the film has been plagued with multiple delays for varying reasons. Despite the latest delay, fans of the original film won’t have to wait much longer to see Tom Cruise and company. You can catch Top Gun: Maverick will arrive in theaters on Nov. 19, 2021.

Adreon Patterson
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