Everyone's talking about the Top Gun: Maverick trailer and Tom Cruise flying jets in the highly anticipated movie sequel. Many people have been wondering if that's really Tom in the pilot's seat and if he learned to fly for the movie. Here's what you need to know.
Did Tom Cruise learn to fly for 'Top Gun'? The star is actually a real pilot!
Tom fell in love with aviation while filming the original Top Gun, which was released in 1986. He got his private pilot's license in 1994 and has been active in the flying community ever since. In an interview with Wired,
Tom confirmed he's a multi-engine instrument rated commercial pilot. That means you could legally hire him to fly you across the country, but we're guessing Tom's schedule is pretty booked up these days.
So is that really him flying the plane in Top Gun: Maverick?
Yes and no. Tom loves to do his own stunts, and he is fully capable of flying a private plane — but some of the fighter jets in the Top Gun sequel can only be piloted by aviators with military experience.
In 2018, Paramount confirmed (via Fighter Jets World) that while Tom does fly "certain aircraft" in Top Gun: Maverick, he will not be flying the F/A-18 fighter jets. That's what editing and CGI are for!
Top Gun: Maverick is "a love letter to aviation."
When introducing the Top Gun: Maverick trailer at Comic Con, Tom told Conan O'Brien the movie was "a love letter to aviation."
"The aerial footage is really beautiful," he said of the film. "I'm a pilot myself, and I love flying, and I love aviation." Tom said his dream, since he was a little kid, "was to make movies and to fly airplanes." With Top Gun: Maverick, he gets to do both on an epic scale.
This isn't Tom's first flying movie.
He portrayed real-life TWA pilot turned drug smuggler Barry Seal in the 2017 film American Made, and in 2018's Mission Impossible — Fallout, Tom pulled off a death-defying stunt in a helicopter. He actually got his helicopter pilot's license so he'd be able to fly the real choppers in the film.
"We're always flying from one place to another because Tom's needed in so many places," Mission Impossible — Fallout's stunt director Wade Eastwood told Thrillist,. "I would always fly the choppers because I love helicopters and I'm a pilot. Tom is a great pilot, fixed-wing, and he got really into helicopters because they are just cool."
Putting an A-list movie star like Tom into these intense, high-flying scenes is high-risk and high reward, though. As Eastwood explained, "With Tom Cruise, I've got to make it as safe and as powerful and spectacular, but also if he's slightly damaged, we can't shoot anything else."
It's a good thing they're careful, because the world needs more Tom Cruise action movies.
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