You may have witnessed death-defying glides through icy peaks in the promotional trailers for Top Gun: Maverick. But what you may not have known is that most of these were not accomplished with chroma-key (aka green screen). The performers had to handle a whole lot of G-force, manoeuvring around in actual planes, zooming through the atmosphere with extraordinary speed.
In an interview with Empire, Tom Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer discussed taking the highway to the danger zone quite literally.
We just started talking, and I realised that there were things that we could accomplish cinematically. And I started getting excited about this big challenge of, ‘How do we do it?’ So, I said to Jerry, ‘I’ll do it if…’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff.
The actor was adamant on one thing: realism. If it was CG, he was out. Thankfully, the studio, Paramount, shared his enthusiasm and greenlighted the practical stunts.
You don’t know how hard this movie’s going to be. No one’s ever done this before. There’s never been an aerial sequence shot this way. I don’t know if there ever will be again, to be honest.
Jerry Bruckheimer also weighed in on the what it took to get the need for speed this time around.
What’s different about this movie is that [in Top Gun] we put the actors in the F-14s and we couldn’t use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up. It’s hysterical to see their eyes roll back in their heads. So everything was done on a gimbal. But in this movie, Tom wanted to make sure the actors could actually be in the F-18s.
Tom Cruise is one bonkers madman who constantly shines on the big screen with his stunt work. I mean, the dude powered through a broken ankle while filming Mission Impossible 6. So, yes, him thinking of doing dangerous aerial stunts for Top Gun: Maverick would be a given. Nonetheless, with the complexity and perilous circumstances that these practical sequences comprise of, rigorous training and rehearsals have to be conducted in order to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
Top Gun: Maverick is already shaping up to be a total blast. Tom and the studio are absolute wingnuts, and I hope that the dare translates into some sweet cinematic aerial dogfights, heart-throbbing action, and golden sunsets!