The pitch that changed Tom Cruise’s mind about Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise wasn’t interested but it took 30 minutes and a hell of an idea to change his mind by revisiting one of his most famous roles.

Tom Cruise didn’t want to do the sequel to Top Gun.

The Hollywood megastar was completely immersed in the Impossible mission franchise and the idea of ​​revisiting its hotshot fighter pilot from 1986 was not on the cards.

So how was Cruise convinced to take off in the exceptionally well reviewed Top Gun: Maverick? It took 30 minutes and quite a pitch, according to director Joe Kosinski.

“[Executive producer] Jerry Bruckheimer sent me a first draft of the script about five years ago,” Kosinski told “After reading it I had some ideas and thoughts and Jerry said it would be best if I pitched it directly to Tom.

“I found out later that Tom didn’t really want to do the movie. So Jerry and I flew to Paris where Tom was filming. Impossible missionand between edits, I had about half an hour of his time to pitch the idea for the film to him.

“After finishing the presentation, Tom picked up the phone and called the head of [Paramount Pictures] and said ‘We’re making this movie’, which is amazing to see.

For the adrenaline-junkie Cruise, the winning idea in Kosinski’s pitch was that the director wanted to shoot all the aerial footage in the air.

“Tom said from the beginning of this film that doing it was hitting bullet by bullet, in the sense that it was going to be very difficult to capture practically all of this aerial footage, that’s what I was suggesting, and he was right. .

“It was a real challenge to figure out how to do it because you can’t just fake what we were trying to achieve. You can’t just capture that on a stage or with a green screen. It was a lot of work but I’m glad we did it, and I hope the audience will agree.

How much work exactly? Lots of laborious, time-consuming and physically and mentally taxing work.

Kosinski had seen footage on YouTube of Go-Pro cameras stationed inside the cockpits of Navy pilots and he found them more compelling than any aerial footage created for film. But a GoPro can only capture a small angle, it wasn’t really cinematic.

For 15 months, Kosinski and Top Gun: MaverickCinematographer Claudio Miranda worked with the US Navy on how to fit six tiny prototype Sony cameras into an F-18 cockpit in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the safe operation of the aircraft. ‘airplane.

“It couldn’t interfere with the ejection if that were to happen, and it had to withstand the forces, the altitude and the speed of the planes. It took about 15 months to get to this point and once we got the cameras there we sent Tom on a test flight and when we saw the footage we were like, ‘wow, it’s going to work’ .”

Getting the cameras mounted inside the high-speed machines was only half the battle. To capture the full weight and stakes of the film’s stunts, the actors had to experience what their characters were going through – the gravitational forces of 600 miles per hour (965 km/h).

In the original version Superior gun, the production could not meet this ambition. Bruckheimer told “In the first film, unfortunately, we had hardly any cockpit footage, it was all a gamble, the things we could use were the things Tom was doing.

“All the other actors were throwing up, their eyes were rolling back.”

This time, Bruckheimer revealed, the cast, including a new class of young pilots played by Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez, Jay Ellis and Lewis Pullman, all had to face it and fly.

“What you saw was real,” the legendary producer explained. “It was the actors who felt the G-Forces. We had to develop their tolerance and that’s why it took three months. They started in a propeller plane, then it was an aerobatic propeller, then it was was a jet and finally an F-18.

“It was really stressful. When they came down they were soaked. Every time they went up they had to turn on the cameras, remember where the light was, and then take action. [their scenes]turn off the cameras then go back down.

“We couldn’t see what they were doing up there, we could only hear it. Once we looked at the images, if it was not correct, we resent them again.

Kosinski said Cruise personally designed the months-long training program for young actors, some of whom at first were afraid to fly and can now handle the physical challenges of zooming around in an F-18, but also act while doing so.

Cruise’s test flights helped the director, who had worked with Cruise on Oversightfix technical factors such as lens, camera placement, eye contours and even visor tints.

And getting Cruise to do everything first was a real boon for his fellow comedians.

“Tom wouldn’t want an actor to do something he didn’t do first,” Kosinski said. “So those test flights weren’t just a learning process for us capturing how to shoot film, I think it was, for young actors, seeing that it could be done and all sorts of techniques they should use to pull off, like him.

“Tom had them prepared. Obviously, it was still very difficult and some of them still got sick, but they were able to shoot all the scenes we needed.

Which does Top Gun: Maverick – the story of an older pilot preparing the next generation for a risky mission – art imitating life.

Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters from Thursday, May 26

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