Although Top Gun: Maverick had expert pilots to assist with the film’s action sequences, the flying scenes were still terrifying to film. With it being 36 years after the original, Tom Cruise returned to the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the high-flying action-adventure sequel. Many cast and crew members pointed out that Cruise advocated for the legacy sequel to be filmed using real planes. By using practical effects and placing cameras inside F-18s, the actors underwent intense training and flew real planes to make the scenes look more authentic rather than relying on heavy GCI to create them.
Speaking with Variety, producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that Top Gun: Maverick‘s flying sequences were terrifying despite the assistance of trained expert pilots. The producer also weighed in on the affirmation that Cruise wanted the actors in actual planes and flying for real, a big change from the movie’s predecessor. Such a demand created the chances for many serious complications. Read what Bruckheimer shared below:
“They’re all fraught with problems. The biggest scare for me as a producer is all the aerial work we did, how dangerous it was. We had the best pilots in the world flying with our actors, but things happen, and you have to trust the expertise of the people we were working with. And, knock wood, we didn’t have any problems… Tom said we have to shoot it for real; we have to put the actors up in planes. On the first one, the actors couldn’t handle the G forces; Tom devised a plan for the actors to get what they call G tolerance.”
How Top Gun: Maverick’s Flying Sequences Improved Over the Original
When Top Gun was released in 1986, it was an instant hit and became a pop culture phenomenon, grossing nearly $354 million in its initial run. The film received a mixed reception, with critics targeting the film’s plot and writing but praising the movie’s thrilling aerial sequences. Cruise aimed to top the original film by placing all the actors inside actual airplanes and film scenes in the air.
Prior to filming, the primary cast was enrolled in a specialized boot camp designed by Cruise with help from the U.S. Navy. The actors went through a strict strength and endurance training regimen together to build up the group’s rapport and three months of flight school. This allowed the cast to become tolerant of the high levels of G-forces needed to achieve the flying stunts in Top Gun: Maverick‘s action scenes. As a result of the cast’s extensive preparation for the movie, star Glen Powell earned his pilot’s license.
Several actors remarked on the difficulties of shooting the flying scenes. Miles Teller, who played Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, recalled how he thought he would die while filming the max G pull-up scene. Nevertheless, Cruise and Bruckheimer’s dedication to the film helped create some of the most realistic aerial scenes in cinematic history. Top Gun: Maverick got nominated for various stunt and effects-related awards and the Academy Award for Best Picture. With the movie a massive success for Cruise, Bruckheimer, and Paramount, Top Gun 3 could be a great possibility.
More: Top Gun – Maverick’s Unused Footage Makes The Movie Even More Impressive