It is poised on top of a flying biplane that Tom Cruise unveiled Thursday at the world premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the 1986 hit movie.
The sequel to “Top Gun” picks up the story of Maverick, an elite pilot played by Tom Cruise, some thirty years after the original film. Its release was originally scheduled for 2020, but has been delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom Cruise, 59, introduced his film via video message to attendees of CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the annual mass for movie theater owners. Recognized for his ability to perform a great many stunts himself, he was perched on a plane mid-flight over South Africa that headed for them.
“Hello everyone. I would have liked to be there with you. Sorry about the noise,” the actor yells over the roar of the aircraft’s engine and the whistling of the wind.
“As you can see, we’re shooting the last episode of ‘Mission: Impossible,'” he laughs.
“Tom does everything at full speed, all the time… and you can’t stop him,” joked Jerry Bruckheimer, who was also a producer on the first “Top Gun,” in the Las Vegas room.
The plot and details of the film are being kept under wraps until ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ officially premieres at the Cannes Film Festival next month, but the film received immediate applause on social media from journalists who attended. the screening organized by Paramount Studios.
The new part stays true to the recipe that made the first “Top Gun” successful with intense action scenes shot aboard real US Navy fighter planes, as well as plenty of references to the ‘original’.
Director Tony Scott died in 2012, but his successor, Joseph Kosinski, “found a way to pique Tom’s interest” after watching YouTube videos taken by Navy pilots using GoPro cameras during their training flights.
“I showed this to Tom and he said ‘it’s available for free on the internet… If you can’t do better then it’s not worth making the movie’ and he agreed!” laughs Joseph Kosinski.
With the help of naval aviation engineers, the filmmakers managed to place no fewer than six cameras in the cockpits of the planes used for filming.
The original film was inspired by the elite pilot training program known as Topgun, which took place at a now-closed military base in San Diego, California.
“Top Gun” was such a success that recruiting officials were overwhelmed with requests from youngsters who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Maverick and his comrades. Some had even set up tables in front of theaters showing the film.
At the time, however, the film crew “didn’t get much support from the Navy,” Joseph Kosinski stresses. “For this film, on the other hand, when we made contact with the Navy, the doors were opened to us: ‘Come in, tell us what you need'”.
The second part, for example, had access to the very secure base of China Lake, in California’s Mojave desert, says the director.
“Top Gun: Maverick” also sees the return of Val Kilmer, who played the rival “Iceman” in the original film. He made an appearance there, a particularly moving performance since the actor lost the use of his voice following treatment for throat cancer.
“Val felt comfortable doing it. It was very moving to film,” recalls Jerry Bruckheimer.
“He’s still an amazing actor, an amazing person,” said the producer, of whom Tom Cruise said, “I won’t do this movie if Val isn’t in it.”