The delayed sequel has Cruise reprising his role as top Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialised mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen. It’s clearly a plot that lends itself to big flying stunts, and with stunt-happy Cruise starring and producing, it’s only natural he would want to tackle as much of the insane flying work for real – and to have his castmates hit the skies as well.
“I wasn’t ready to make a sequel until we had a special story, worthy of a sequel, and until technology evolved so that we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot,” Cruise says in the featurette below. “We worked with the Navy and the Top Gun school to formulate how to shoot it practically. Because if we’re going to do it, we’re going to fly in the F-18s.”
Cast members were put through a three-month course that involved, among other things, underwater survival and aviation training. For the latter, the cast began with flying in a single-engine aircraft to, as Cruise says, “build their spatial awareness inside the aircraft.” They then moved to the L-39 to experience aerobatics and “feel what it’s like in a jet.” And lastly, they graduated with the powerful F-18 Super Hornet, launching the fighter aircraft off Navy aircraft carriers.
And that’s not all: cast members also had to learn how to film themselves while flying. “When they’re up in the jet, they have to direct themselves, essentially,” says director Joseph Kosinski. Adds Cruise: “I had to really teach cinematography and the lighting so that they understood what’s going to look good on camera.”
Top Gun: Maverick, also starring Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer, among others, will be in Australian cinemas on May 26th and U.S. cinemas on May 27th. You can take a look at the most recent trailer right HERE.