TOP GUN: MAVERICK Aerial Coordinator Kevin LaRosa Discusses Pushing Every Shot Safely To The Limit (Exclusive)

Top Gun: Maverick is a massive event film that required a lot of moving parts, and when we spoke with the movie's aerial coordinator and lead camera pilot Kevin LaRosa, we were sure to learn more.

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It will likely be a long time before people stop talking about Top Gun: Maverick, especially with Tom Cruise's highly-praised project hitting digital and becoming available to more viewers. The movie steamrolled at the box office despite those who were still wary of theaters, and now those fans have a chance to watch it again and again.

The captivating flight scenes in Top Gun: Maverick are countless, with each one excelling on its own, causing the film to soar. We wanted to learn more about the process that went into something so fantastic, so we chatted with a number of people involved in the film.

Kevin LaRosa was the aerial coordinator and the lead camera pilot for Top Gun: Maverick, and he went into detail about the way they pushed every shot to the limit without compromising safety. In addition, he dishes on the collaboration between different departments behind the scenes as well as the exponential amount of work that went into this film when compared to his previous work.

The audio interview and transcript are included below so you can hear what Kevin has to say for yourself. The full video chat is also included at the bottom.

So for Top Gun: Maverick, I was the aerial coordinator of the movie as well as the lead camera pilot. So that means I was in charge of the safety and the logistics and the overall help and collaboration of the mission planning. And I worked with my Naval aerial coordinator counterpart, Brian Ferguson, to make sure all of those sequences were done and coordinated safely and inside of all regulatory laws.

Outside of my aerial coordinator role, I'm also a pilot. And I was the camera pilot for the movie. So all of the jet flying, all of the jet camera flying, all of the helicopter camera flying was done by myself with an Aerial DP on board. The Aerial DP is my counterpart, that is, the gentleman handling the camera gimbal on the front of the jet or the front of the helicopter. And on this project, that was David Nowell and Michael Osment for me, so I loved that I got to fly those two gentlemen around and put the camera in the right place at the right time.


So as an aerial coordinator and camera pilot, a lot of times on movies and tv shows, we come in as day planners, and we work a couple of weeks if it's a big aerial sequence. The difference with Top Gun: Maverick is it is a love story to aviation. It's a movie about aviation. So I kind of lived on that movie for a little over a year, pretty heavily vested in the film. And there's a lot more collaboration. I got to work with Tom and Joe Kosinski and Claudia Miranda, and the Paramount team to also help make the movie and help design some of the aerial sequences and how we were going to shoot them and how we were going to use this new technology to help tell Joe's story. So, there was a lot more collaboration and involvement on Top Gun: Maverick than in my typical past feature films.

Part of our job and one of my main responsibilities was pushing the limits of aerial photography as far as what the aircraft could do, the camera systems could do, and what our people could do to the absolute limits without compromising safety. And if you think of the context of what I just said, every time we went out, our job was to come back with exceptional footage. Not just okay footage, nothing boring, nothing floaty. We needed to tell Joe Kasinski's story. We had to make sure we were shooting it in accordance with Claudia Miranda's photography and lighting and style that was done through the aerial DP that I was flying. And we needed to make the best possible product. In order to do that, you have to really push the limits of creativity and what's possible, again, without compromising safety. Every shot of that movie was thought out meticulously, and we pushed it as far as we could push it to make sure that we made those incredible shots in every sequence.


What do you think of these comments from Aerial Coordinator and Lead Camera Pilot Kevin LaRosa? How many times have you seen Top Gun: Maverick?

Watch the full video interview between Literary Joe and Kevin LaRosa below. Also, be sure to share your take in the comments section, as always!

Top Gun: Maverick is now available on digital.

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