At first glance, “Top Gun Maverick” does not allow Tom Cruise to perform a completely crazy new stunt. But that’s just a false impression, because the actor wanted to fly his plane himself in the sequel.
The intoxication of speed, Tom Cruise felt it well on the set of Top Gun Maverick. Thirty-six years after the release of the first opus, which made him the star he still is today, the actor and producer has not done things by halves. While he performs the craziest stunts himself in each Mission Impossible, he applied this same concern for realism to the other flagship saga of his career.
He therefore filmed his flight scenes aboard the cockpit of a real fighter plane, and his young partners too. This required a long preparation. For Tom Cruise, everything (again) really begins on September 7, 2018, when he goes to the military base of Miramar, where a large part of Top Gun had been shot in the spring of 1985. Not so much for a pilgrimage as to take Classes.
The actor indeed follows an ASTC (Aviation Survival Training Curriculum), a program necessary in order to qualify for long flight sequences aboard US Navy F/A-18s, a condition on which he does not count. deal with this suite. “Early on, I told the studio that if I was going to invest myself in this film, we should shoot everything in practice. I’ll be in this F/A-18, period”explains the main interested party.
“So there will have to be camera ramps developed, there will be wind tunnels and engineering. It’s going to take a long time for me to understand all that (…) For years, we were told: ‘You can’t shoot in synthetic images?’ “I always said no, that wasn’t the experience. I warned those around me, ‘I have to find the right story. And we’re going to need the right team. This film , it’s a story of precision and virtuosity. It’s not a game, for me.”
THE DRUNKENNESS OF JUSTESS
A way for him to push his limits, once again. And take revenge on the past? Because it had already been considered to shoot scenes from the first Top Gun in planes, but the tests proved to be inconclusive. And while Maverick’s press kit claims only footage of Tom Cruise was usable when all of his classmates threw up and/or rolled their eyes, other sources claim the star experienced the same struggles.
Beyond a desire to make Joseph Kosinski’s film a real cinematographic event, one that deserves to be seen in theaters to be amazed, there would therefore be a personal side to this astounding new challenge. that Tom Cruise has set himself. And that fits perfectly with what we can decipher from the feature film, which points the finger at Hollywood’s propensity to rely too much on digital effects to the detriment of reality when it comes to making the show, and the refusal of the star to retire. Even when a young generation wants to take the place that was his, or when a feat seems impossible to achieve, he whose legend is openly praised in the scene where Maverick is presented to his students.
Students he wanted to take off with him. Because there is no question of being the only one to shoot in planes in flight, when the others would only be entitled to simulators: “This time around, thanks to Tom, all the actors got used to the fundamentals and mechanics of flight and G-force, thanks to the training they went through months in advance”says producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “Unlike the first film, our actors are actually in the cockpits of the F/A-18s in flight, acting out their lines.”
A requirement for the sake of realism, but also so as not to lose sight of the heart of the film. “One of the things I told Tom early on was that the original Top Gun wasn’t just about Maverick”explains producer and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie. “It was about the culture of these pilots and the competition that they all got into. We wanted to bring some of that. Therefore, all the pilot characters in this film are more richly developed, they have more depth.”
“That diversity of pilots helps to understand who Maverick is today. Obviously, this movie is set over 30 years later. And we didn’t want to stop the movie to think about what those 30 years have been like. We wanted to that you feel this story unfold naturally as you watch the film.” A story directed by Joseph Kosinski… and the actors, forced to manage the cameras themselves in flight, and to take into account their positioning or the light.
But did they really drive so far? No. Even Tom Cruise. If the star was able to carry out catapults and landings, within his qualification program, the American Navy did not authorize him to use the F / A-18 himself. If only because you can’t play games with a device that costs $70 million. Even if the actors are not at the controls, the flight scenes are nonetheless spectacular and immersive, so much so that you can feel the effect of gravity on them.
Or rather the intoxication of speed dear to Maverick, to which Tom Cruise wanted to offer a comeback with a show that could make an impression. While adding one more line to the prize list of his interpreter, both for his requirement and his daredevil side.
“Top Gun”: in search of Maverick on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle