Jerry Bruckheimer Spills 'Top Gun' Secrets and BTS Details on Sequel (Exclusive)
By Zach Seemayer
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Top Gun turns 35 this month, and in celebration of the iconic action movie's anniversary, it's flying into theaters once more. Legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently opened up to ET about the original film and it's long-awaited sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.
"You know it feels like yesterday, I'm telling you. I feel like we just got off the runway, hanging out with the guys, having beers," Bruckheimer told ET's Matt Cohen. "So, it's an honor to be back."
Top Gun star Tom Cruise is also returning to the cockpit, starring in the exciting project -- which was originally scheduled to soar into theaters in June 2020, but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic -- and bringing the charismatic charm that made him a superstar from the very beginning.
When asked how much of his now-famous "it factor" was present during production on the original Top Gun, Bruckheimer recalled, "It was visible from the first time I saw him on screen."
"He's just got the magic," Bruckheimer marveled. "You know what's so great about Tom, he's the hardest working guy. He's an amazing student who loves cinema, loves telling stories, does the stunts himself. He is the hardest working actor I've ever worked with. And maybe the hardest working individual I've ever worked with."
In the new film, Cruise reprises his character, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who has become a flight instructor. As it turns out, the movie star served as something of a teacher even when the cameras weren't rolling.
"It's so interesting to see how [the other actors] revere Tom and how they look up to Tom," Bruckheimer shared. "He would hold little seminars after the shoot and talk to the actors. They'd ask him questions on what he did with his career and how he climbed the ladder."
Cruise also used his expertise with flying -- and his experiences shooting the original -- to make sure Top Gun: Maverick turned out as good as they could possibly make it. This included getting the actors up to speed on flight training, and used to the g-forces of an F-18.
"Every actor on the first one threw up in the plane and we couldn't use any of the footage at all, because they weren't used to the g-forces," Bruckheimer recalled. "So what Tom did, he designed a program where first they go up in just a simple [prop plane]. So they get the feel of flying in a small plane."
"Then he put 'em in an acrobatic prop, and they got the feeling of some [g-force]. And then he put 'em into a jet, and then they really started to feel the [g-forces]," he added. "By the time they were accustomed to that, we put them in the F-18. And the F-18 was a huge jump from just a normal jet. You could see their faces and the stress when they were doing the rolls and the turns, but it is all captured on film."
"Tom kept saying this over and over again: 'This has to be perfect we really have to work really really hard to make this the best it can be,'" Bruckheimer shared. "It took us 35 years to show how good we are."
Top Gun: Maverick is set to hit theaters Nov. 19. In the meantime, the original Top Gun is being re-released in celebration of it's 35th anniversary at AMCs across the country, and is available on digital and Blu-ray.