Top Gun: Maverick really pushes the limits when it comes to practical filming. Actor Tom Cruise really wanted to take the flight visuals to another level. However, director Joseph Kosinski said that one Top Gun: Maverick scene “destroyed” the set. Fortunately, it was ultimately all worth it in the end.
The ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ set brings the cameras into the jets
IGN interviewed Kosinksi to talk about the happenings on the Top Gun: Maverick set. It was really important to Cruise and Kosinski that they capture the movie just right. Cruise, Miles Teller, and the rest of the crew really emphasized how difficult it was to film inside of these jets for real. Kosinski also chimed in with what they were looking to capture on film.
“I think when you see the film, you really feel what it’s like to be a Top Gun pilot, and you can’t fake that,” Kosinski said. “You can’t fake the g-forces, you can’t fake the vibration. You can’t fake what it looks like to be in one of these fighter jets. So we wanted to capture every bit of that and shooting it for real allowed us to do that.”
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ director, Joseph Kosinski, recalls the scene that ‘destroyed’ the set
Kosinski and Teller further told IGN about the Top Gun: Maverick set and how even some accidents made it into the final cut. Some of the aerial stunts got a bit too ridiculous, but the cast had to endure them.
“For these pilots, when they go over a mountain peak, they get to the top, they go inverted and then go down and flip back over, and there’s one or two times where I came out of my seat, it’s in the movie actually”, Teller said. “I hit my head on the canopy and I thought it was an unusable take, but those are often the ones you end up using.”
Kosinski reiterated how the scene ultimately looked so great, that they had to keep it. Additionally, he explained how one of these high-octane stunts ultimately “destroyed” the Top Gun: Maverick set.
“His straps should have been tighter, but it looks so great to see him drop out of his straps that we left that in the film”, Kosinski said. “Even the scene where Darkstar flies over Ed Harris, it destroyed the set. You watch it rip the roof off the guard shack. That was not planned. That was a one-take thing where we destroyed the set and that’s the only shot we got and that’s in the movie.”
Joseph Kosinski started to have a feeling of the finished product while filming
Kosinski couldn’t be inside the jet with the actors. As a result, the Top Gun: Maverick set really required a lot of trust between the production and the cast. However, the sheer spectacle of it all allowed Kosinski to start visualizing how the movie would turn out.
“There’s one moment”, Kosinski recalled. “We were shooting out in the salt flats on one of the military ranges doing the low-level flyovers and I was sitting with the camera and the jet came like 15 feet over my head and did a pull-up, and as it did, it did a double spiral of dust. I just remember knowing in that moment that that shot was going to end up in the film.”