For years Tom Cruise had entertained the idea of a Top Gun sequel, but it wasn't until the concept of Top Gun: Maverick was presented to him by his Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski that he actually agreed to take part in the sequel.
We were able to sit down with Kosinski at the global press junket earlier this month, where he recounted how producer Jerry Bruckheimer initially reached out to him with a script that he offered his notes on. However, once the project began to materialize in his head, he and Bruckheimer paid a trip to the set of Mission: Impossible - Fallout to pitch his take on the sequel to Cruise.
"Tom says we talked about it a little bit on Oblivion," Kosinski explains. "I think it was more in a very abstract sort of way, but this one started with Jerry Bruckheimer sending me a script that they were working on, which I read and had some very specific kind of ideas about what direction to take it and I went and met with him and he liked what I was thinking about and thought we should go and pitch it to Tom directly, which we did.
We flew to Paris where he was shooting Mission: Impossible and I got like twenty minutes of his time between setups to pitch my take on the movie and I think he really liked the character journey of Maverick and what I was pitching for this film, and the relationship with Rooster being the kind of core of the story and how I wanted to shoot it, obviously, all practically, which I knew would be a requirement for him.
He liked the title I had, which was Top Gun: Maverick, and where we find Maverick at the beginning of the story, and he liked the idea of finding him in the world of testing cutting edge aircrafts, and he picked up the phone and called the head of the studio and said, “We're going to make this movie.” And that was the beginning of this whole thing."
Speaking of practically filming everything, Kosinski confirms that they captured over 800 hours of aerial footage, which took a lot of fine-tuning as they had to ensure what they were shooting actually lined up with what the script demanded, including authentic reactions, proper lighting, and more. He tells me,
"We were just assembling as we went along. Most of the aerial footage was captured at the end, so we started with the ground story and all the aerial sequences were just storyboards in the middle of it, but we built it up as we went along and refined and honed it into the movie that you see now."
Check out our exclusive interview with Kosinski below:
In our review, we said, "Top Gun: Maverick is the must-see cinematic experience of the year! Packed with jaw-dropping aerial sequences, thrilling edge-of-your-seat moments, genuine heart, epic romance, huge stakes, and one of the absolute best performances of Tom Cruise's legendary career, this is the theatrical experience you've been waiting for."
Tom Cruise headlines the feature as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, with original co-star Val Kilmer returning as Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. The iconic pair are joined by an all-star supporting cast consisting of Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin, Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral Cyclone, Glen Powell as Hangman, Lewis Pullman as Bob, Ed Harris as Rear Admiral, Monica Barbaro as Phoenix, Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Warlock, Danny Ramirez as Fanboy, Manny Jacinto as Fritz, Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman, Jay Ellis as Payback, Jake Picking in an undisclosed role, Raymond Lee in an undisclosed role, Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin, Jean Louisa Kelly as Carole Bradshaw, Greg Davis as Coyote, and Bob Stephenson in an undisclosed role.
Top Gun: Maverick jets into theaters on May 27!
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”
Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.