Five rules of Tom Cruise's 'Top Gun: Maverick', out May 26 in UAE cinemas

By the people behind the highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 blockbuster aviation film starring Tom Cruise.

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Published: Wed 25 May 2022, 9:38 AM

Last updated: Wed 25 May 2022, 9:41 AM


“Tom said that the only way he was going to do this sequel was if there was no CGI,” says Miles Teller of the leading man’s one undebatable demand. Fortunately, the director of Top Gun: Maverick, Joseph Kosinski, felt exactly the same way. “That was one of the first tenets of even doing this movie,” says Kosinski. “Tom doesn’t have to do another movie for the rest of his life. [He] will only make a movie if he truly believes there’s a reason it has to be made.” That reason? To do the only thing he couldn’t last time out: shoot it for real. “It’s a love letter to aviation,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer of shooting without CGI trickery. “We’re going to show you what it’s really like to be a Top Gun pilot. An aviation film like this has never been done.”

Call signs are earned

Before filming began, the cast visited the real TOPGUN facility, in Nevada, to meet face to face with the Navy pilots who would be flying with them on location. To see how they talked, how they moved, and to get an insider’s eye on some of their most famous customs. Key among the cast’s discoveries? That call signs aren’t chosen but given, by your fellow flyers. Still, even though their call signs weren’t their idea didn’t mean they didn’t live up to them. For his role as Payback, for instance, Jay Ellis looked back on his early days in LA, when he would often borrow money and forget to pay it back. Monica Barbaro, meanwhile, earned hers after a particularly heavy night in the O Club, rising from her hangover the next morning, she says, “like a phoenix from the flames.”

Learn from the best

On screen in Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise’s Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell shows six young hotshot pilots the ropes. As they are told in the movie: “Your instructor is one of the finest pilots this program has ever produced. His exploits are legendary. What he has to teach you may very well be the difference between life and death.” And behind the scenes, his role was exactly the same; Cruise teaching the actors everything he knows. Wanting to give his new recruits the kind of in-aircraft training he wished he’d had on the original Top Gun, Cruise designed his own Flight School, to train them all how to act at altitude and under eight Gs. Working with aerial coordinator Kevin LaRosa, Cruise also personally marked their homework, reading each trainee pilot’s assessments every week, and giving detailed personal feedback.

Montages last forever

Would a Top Gun movie be a Top Gun movie without a beach-set sports sequence? The makers of this one certainly don’t think so, which is why it boasts an American Football sequence that pays homage to the volleyball scene in the original. And raises the bar. In the run-up to filming, Glen Powell (pictured second left) put a picture up on Instagram, with the caption ‘Montages Last Forever’, sending the cast running for the gym. As Lewis Pullman (far right) explains: “The original’s volleyball scene is utterly iconic. It’s a glistening beefcake minefield of glory. We had to leave that in the periphery and make this our own. That was our mantra: ‘Montages Last Forever.’ [Glen] was like, ‘This scene is going to be memes, it’s going to be gifs, it’s going to be everywhere. Don’t forget...’ I was like, ‘Holy smoke, the pressure is high on this one…’”

Specificity is the key

When Joseph Kosinski (pictured third from right) travelled to Paris with Jerry Bruckheimer (far right), to pitch Tom Cruise his vision for Top Gun: Maverick, he had two aces up his sleeve. One was the idea of Rooster, Goose’s son, coming back. The other? “I felt that the technology existed to capture the experience of being in a fighter jet for real, which they weren’t even able to do on the first Top Gun,” says Kosinski. “They weren’t able to get inside the jet with the actors, and I felt we could do that. I think that resonated with [Tom]: ‘Anything we can possibly get for real, let’s shoot it for real.’” It worked. At the end of Kosinski’s pitch, which outlined a combination of real Navy pilots and a ground-breaking six-camera system, Cruise had just seven words for him. “We’re making this film,” he said. “This is it.”

Top Gun: Maverick releases Thursday, May 26, in the UAE.

(Text and photos: Supplied)

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