Considering the logistical requirements behind the practical aerial sequences, Top Gun: Maverick would’ve been a production where you’d
want need to triple check the shot was in the can before moving on, and as the long-awaited sequel’s director Joseph Kosinski recently confirmed, there certainly wasn’t a shortage of footage – approximately 800 hours, to be precise.
“Out of a 12 or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage,” Joseph Kosinski explains to Empire magazine.
“But it was so hard-earned. It just took a very long time to get it all. Months and months of aerial shooting. We shot as much footage as the three Lord Of The Rings movies combined.”
But the 800 hours accumulated for Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t solely comprised of external fighter jet footage. Given the economy of space, cast members were forced to get technical with the camera equipment and shoot the in-cockpit sequences themselves. Meaning there was (probably) a healthy element of trial + error.
“We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” adds leading man and producer Tom Cruise.
“I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”
All signs point towards yet another hit for both Joseph Kosinski and Tom Cruise. Last year, the lucky few who attended CinemaCon 2021 were collectively losing their shit at the opening 13 minutes. Unfortunately, the same preview isn’t readily available to stream for the outside world. The good folks over at Deadline, however, provided the following description of what was screened:
In the sequence, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (portrayed by Tom Cruise) is informed that the Top Gun program is getting shut down. He decides to defy the Admiral (portrayed by Ed Harris) making the decision to fly to Mach 10. Maverick fires up the jet at dusk in the middle of the desert. He’s warned, “You know what happens if you go through with this.” But Maverick doesn’t care, “I know what happens to everyone else if I don’t." “Alright, sweetheart, one last ride,” the buckaroo pilot adds. “He’s the fastest man alive,” says the control booth technician as Maverick pushes toward Mach 9. The whole room is in awe as Lorne Balfe’s heavenly symphonic music plays. Then as Maverick hits 9.8, it looks like the engine is gonna blow, but he makes Mach 10 and the control room goes wild. Maverick then pushes past 10.1 before his engines blow and the screen in the control room goes dark. It looks like the plane is exploding in mid-air. Maverick lives. We see him walking into the middle of a country diner, the patrons shocked at a pilot entering. “Where am I?” he asks. “Earth,” responds a little boy at the diner counter.
A little more recently, a final trailer was dropped, offering a better look at Miles Teller as pilot trainee Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, son of the late RIO Nick “Goose” Bradshaw; in addition to introducing this franchise instalment’s answer to the Maverick-Ice Man rivalry with Glen Powell as hotshot flyboy who goes by the callsign of “Hangman.” Let’s just say, even before considering all the complexities of being instructed by your deceased father’s best friend/the man who you hold responsible for your father’s death… emotions, adrenaline, and testosterone levels will run high.
Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, and Glen Powell are joined by Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Monica Barbaro, Manny Jacinto, as well as Lewis Pullman. In the director’s chair, you will – of course – find Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) working with a screenplay penned by Justin Marks (The Jungle Book), Peter Craig (The Hunger Games), Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle), plus longtime Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie – also known as the bloke behind the two most recent Mission: Impossible films, the next two Mission: Impossible films, and Edge of Tomorrow.
Top Gun: Maverick has a revised release date of May 26th here in Australia.
Feel the hype. Feel the need for speed.