Any Tom Cruise fan will tell you that the actor is an adrenaline junkie who is fully committed to every stunt he performs. Returning to the cockpit for Top Gun: Maverick was no different. Becoming Maverick once again allowed him to take the high-flying flight stunts of the original film up a notch. But it wasn’t just Cruise who needed to be flight-ready, as his co-stars needed to learn the ropes about fighter jets. With the sequel only weeks away from its debut, a new video showed the insane flight training the Top Gun actor and company went through.
With the Hollywood icon serving as the star and producer, he wanted to make sure he and the cast were prepared to pull off the realistic aviation scenes. The Mission: Impossible stalwart recruited the Navy and the real-life Top Gun School to help conduct that goal. He delved into how the specific plan came together before filming started.
Of course, Tom Cruise wanted to fly actual jets (see: his death-defying M: I stunts for reference). The Cocktail actor wasn’t the only one pushing the idea of aviation training as legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer echoed the sentiment, saying,
Three months of flight training might sound outrageous, but it was needed to film those realistic air fight scenes. But creating and implementing the training plan wasn’t left up to Bruckheimer or a production coordinator but Cruise himself. According to co-star Monica Barbaro (aka Phoenix), the Hollywood actor took the reigns when it came to flight training.
Like any Tom Cruise action film, the training went full-stop to get the cast ready to pilot an F-18. There were levels to the fighter jet training. The movie icon eased the cast into aviation training by starting them in a single airplane to build spatial awareness. Eventually, the actors moved to an L-39 for aerobatics training before moving to the F-18 to practice launching off a naval carrier.
But learning how to fly powerful fighter jets was only part of the intense regimen the cast went through to prepare for the film’s intense flight scenes. You can see what else the actors experienced to get flight-ready by watching the eye-opening video below.
That flight footage was intense and thrilling at the same time. At least, viewers know that the cast was committed to giving them the best aviation scenes possible. There’s a deeper appreciation for those combat scenes from the sequel trailer. That came courtesy of Maverick director Joseph Kosinski, who wanted to put the actors in the air for an authentic feel.
Stars Miles Teller and Lewis Pullman spilled what it was like taking part in Cruise’s training program. The former called it “Tom Cruise boot camp” involving fitness and stunts while the latter admitted to throwing up in the cockpit (not on camera, though).
It’s only a matter of time before moviegoers get the chance to see all the high-flying action in Top Gun: Maverick. The action film arrives in theaters on May 27. To see what else is coming this Spring, check out our 2022 movie schedule for all the new releases.