SAN DIEGO – After three years of delays, and nearly 36 years after the original 1986 “Top Gun” movie hit theaters, Tom Cruise took the stage at the world premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” on Wednesday to finally presenting its long-awaited jet-fueled sequel.
“Anyone want to see a movie in a theater? Let’s do it!” Cruise, 59, exhorted the raucous crowd at Naval Air Station North Island’s Lowry Theater. “Let’s light the fires and kick the tires.”
Cruise had reason to celebrate at the high-octane premiere, which included arriving on the red carpet via helicopter aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway. After finally agreeing to return to the role of the pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell that made Cruise an international superstar more than three decades ago, the sequel overcame production delays and COVID-19 to open in theaters on May 27. .
“It’s been 36 years, on and off, thinking and dreaming about this,” Cruise told USA TODAY on the red carpet. “And I had to put this movie on hold during the pandemic and call everyone. Because I wanted this movie to be in theaters and on the big screen. I’m happy for the cast and for the audience that they can finally see this in the format that they wanted.” It was always thought.”
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With co-stars Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell and Jennifer Connelly in the audience, Cruise thanked director Joseph Kosinski, who has been persistently talking about making a “Top Gun” sequel ever since the two worked together on the sci-fi movie. 2013. thriller “Oblivion”.
In 2017, Kosinski and “Top Gun” producer Jerry Bruckheimer flew to Paris to pitch Cruise’s return during production on the action star “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” Kosinski said that he had 20 minutes to convince Cruise of his concepts.
Kosinski laid out his plan to improve on the original’s technology, installing six cameras inside the aircraft’s cockpits to allow for true, close-up views of Cruise and the pilot actors’ faces. Kosinski then discussed an emotional new story about Mitchell’s continued guilt following the death of his best friend and radio intercept officer Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) in the first “Top Gun.” In the sequel, Mitchell runs the elite flight training program that includes Bradshaw’s adult son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Teller).
“And I said we’re going to call it ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ because it’s about Maverick, it’s his story,” Kosinski said. “So that was the pitch. And (Cruise) looked at Jerry, picked up the phone, called Paramount and said, ‘We’re making this movie.’ “
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The new cast features a diverse team of young pilots, including the first female pilot, Monica Barbaro; “Insecure” star Jay Ellis; Lewis Pullman; Greg Tarzan Davis; and Danny Ramirez. The crew underwent an elaborate pilot training program set up by Cruise for the takeoffs.
“Maverick” also stars Connelly as Cruise’s new on-screen love interest and Hamm as Cruise’s Army commander. For Hamm, 51, appearing on “Maverick” was an extension of a childhood dream. His first viewing of “Top Gun” at age 15 inspired him to buy his first pair of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, the same ones Cruise wore in the original.
“You have to cut a lot of grass to buy a pair of Aviators in 1986,” Hamm said. “I got the gold ones with green lenses. I had them about two weeks before I sat on them in the car and completely ruined them.”
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The “Mad Men” star was officially able to put his sunglasses back on for “Maverick.”
“Aviators look much better in a naval officer’s outfit,” Hamm said.
Hamm said he wasn’t surprised to see Cruise dramatically arrive by helicopter at the premiere.
“Tom knows how to make an entrance,” Hamm said. “We knew he was planning something special. I came here by bike.”
Musician Kenny Loggins, whose guitar playing “Danger Zone” was one of the original film’s musical hits, received a shout-out from Cruise at the premiere: “Kenny Loggins in the house! Thanks for your music!”
Along with new music, such as Lady Gaga’s ballad “Hold My Hand,” the new film kicks off with the nostalgic “Danger Zone” once again.
“They moved it up in the movie, they decided to make that energy work right away,” said Loggins, who had asked Cruise during a chance meeting if the song was going to be successful. “I asked him, ‘Is the song in or out?’ And he told me, ‘It wouldn’t be ‘Top Gun’ without ‘Danger Zone.’ I didn’t change a thing. I wanted the original the way it was.”