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Top Gun Maverick Is Tom Cruise’s Love Letter to Aviation

The sequel to the original 1986 Top Gun movie, Top Gun Maverick isn’t out for another year, but there’s no better place to hype it up than the annual Comic-Con event in San Diego.
Tom Cruise tells Conan O'Brien "Top Gun: Maverick" is his love letter to aviation 6 photos
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Tom Cruise himself showed up to introduce the first teaser trailer for the film, and then he duly hit the media circuit to talk about it. His first stop was on Conan O’Brien, where, among other things, he revealed that the Maverick sequel was his “love letter to aviation.”

You can see this part of the interview in the video below, right above the teaser trailer. Cruise also humble-brags a bit about how he’s the only actor in the world to have done this much aerial work, which, to be fair, is accurate and totally awesome. After all, the man is pushing 60 and he’s still doing most of his stunts, no matter how challenging.

However, earlier reports that Cruise would be piloting the fighter jets himself don’t check out. Cruise himself says that he was flying in the scenes of the film, but that doesn’t mean he was piloting the jet.

Cruise is the kind of actor / producer who will always choose practical effects over CGI. So, while he’s not piloting the jet, he is inside it – and for Maverick, he made sure all the other actors were able to fly as well. He says he was personally in charge of their training, making sure they could withstand shooting in an airplane flying at very high speeds.

This was only possible thanks to the cooperation of the US Navy, whom Cruise credits with having the best fighter jet pilots in the world. They too had to be trained in cinematography and lighting, so that as little takes as possible were wasted when shooting a scene.

Cruise says it’s his “privilege” to entertain the audiences and, with this film, he wants the experience to be as immersive as possible.

“So when you're seeing the G-force, it's not a computer-generated image. It's actually the actors in there being the characters,” he explains. “The aerial footage is really beautiful. I'm a pilot myself, and I love flying and I love aviation, so this is also a love letter to aviation.”

“Maverick” also stars Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, and is directed by Joseph Kosinski. It will be out in theaters in June 2020.

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