Top Gun: Maverick stunt training Tom Cruise and other stars underwent for the high-flying sequel. Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer details the intense stunt training Tom Cruise and other stars underwent for the high-flying sequel. The long-awaited follow-up to Tony Scott’s 1986 film is one of several Cruise-led projects that has been utterly derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with Mission: Impossible 7 and 8. Originally scheduled to release in the summer of 2019, Maverick was first postponed to allow director Joseph Kosinski more time to choreograph the complex dogfight scenes. After the pandemic hit, Paramount remained committed to a theatrical release and continued to delay the potential blockbuster.
Now, at long last, the movie’s release is right around the corner. Cruise returns to lead the Top Gun: Maverick cast as the titular test pilot and flight instructor, Pete Mitchell, alongside Val Kilmer as Tom Kazansky, Maverick’s former rival, whose callsign is Iceman. Joining them is Miles Teller as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, and the son of Maverick’s late RIO and best friend, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who was played by Anthony Edwards in the first movie. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and Ed Harris also join the cast as newcomers. In the years leading up to Top Gun 2’s release, much has been publicized about the intense stunt training the cast underwent to prepare for the film. Now, in an interview with THR, prolific producer Buckheimer is sharing more details about the demanding training regimen the Top Gun 2 stars went through, beginning with “three months of aerial training with G-Force tolerance,” which was grueling and time-consuming. In addition to aerial training, they had to undergo water survival training, in case there was an accident while in the air.
The actors put so much time and effort into making this movie what it has become. They went through three months of aerial training with G-Force tolerance. It was grueling. It took a lot of time away from their personal lives, but they put in that commitment. Tom designed that program. We interviewed a lot of actors, and some actors we lost because they wouldn’t put in that commitment. Some of them were afraid of flying and didn’t want to go through what they had to go through. But these kids were so willing and they worked so hard. And then they had to go through water survival training in case there was an accident in the air over water. They were put in a fuselage, they were blindfolded, they were dumped in the water, they were rolled over and they had to figure out how to get out of that cockpit, blindfolded. So they went through all of that. And Tom, who went through it 35 years ago, said, “I’m going to do it again.” He didn’t need to, but he said, “If they’re going to do it, I’m going to do it.” So he was the driving force.
Kosinski previously spoke about Top Gun 2’s stunt training program, which Cruise himself developed. In recent years, no actor has been more committed to practical effects and stunt work over CGI than Cruise, especially in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Though the US Navy didn’t allow him to fly the $70 million F-18 Super Hornet, Cruise demanded that every actor portraying a pilot undergo the necessary training to fly in a fighter jet. This allowed Kosinski to strap cameras onto the aircraft and capture everything for real, as the actors experienced actual G-force inside the cockpit.