The director of Top Gun Maverick told a funny story about how he and Tom Cruise concocted footage of a mad fighter pilot in the movie


By now, many people have watched “The Best Shooter: Maverick” and experienced the impressive fighter combat that the film offers. In the run-up to the film, we’ve heard a lot about the film’s commitment to making these shots practical, and the work that Tom Cruise and the rest of the cast have done to make this happen. Director Joseph Kosinski has previously talked about how it was done and, perhaps more importantly, why it was necessary.

A big part of the reason Top Gun: Maverick needed to use real planes, of course, is that it was the only way Tom Cruise was ever going to make a movie. We know about Cruz’s commitment to realism, and director Joseph Kowalski, who previously shot Cruz in Oblivion, knew that this was the case. However, in addition to this, Kosinski also told the CinemaCon audience earlier this year that the film needed not only practical footage, but also that they should be better than what was already available in the world. The director explained…

I had already done films with Tom, so I knew that he was not only capable of everything in this film, but also, in fact, requires that he be as down-to-earth and realistic as possible. So I knew it was one of the fundamental parts of a movie that had to be like that. I’ve seen these videos on YouTube where Navy pilots installed Go Pro cameras, attached them to flashlights and just filmed their workouts. And you know, it was just done with Go Pro on the internet. It was impressive. It was better than anything I’ve seen in the movies as far as antennas are concerned. I showed it to Tom and said, “It’s available online for free. If we can’t beat this, there’s no point in making this movie.”

Thus, it was not only about getting real shots from the fighter, but also about making them so that they would still cause surprise to viewers on the big screen. It certainly raised the bar, and that’s what ultimately led to the version of Top Gun: Maverick we got and the insane action sequences we saw. They figured out how to cram some IMAX cameras into the cockpit. The film is a massive IMAX spectacle. Then it was necessary to train the actors so that they could cope with high-intensity work. Kosinsky continues…

He agreed, and then, in fact, a 15-month project began to figure out how to place a movie camera in the cockpit. To be honest, where we got to, we got six IMAX quality cameras in the cockpit of these planes. Working very closely with the Navy to do this. Obviously, there was a problem after that: I knew that Tom would be able to handle everything [so in the original]. But can we get Glen [Powell] to get on a plane? To be able to do everything that he and all the other actors need. Then began this long training program that Tom had developed to train actors.

The Top Gun training program clearly worked, although some, such as Miles Teller, had some health problems because of it. In the end, everyone took to the air, and the result was fantastic aerial combat scenes. If “The Best Shooter 3” comes out in 20 years, this movie will have to work hard.