LAS VEGAS, April 29 ― Tom Cruise unveiled the world premiere screening of Top Gun: Maverick at CinemaCon in Las Vegas yesterday – showcasing the long-awaited sequel while poised atop a flying biplane.
New Upper gunwhich picks up the story of Maverick and his fighter pilot pals some three decades after the hit original, was due to open in 2020 but has been repeatedly delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cruise, famous for doing several of his own stunts, presented the screening at the motion picture industry convention with a video message recorded in a typically hair-raising style, perched on the plane’s fuselage moving from the sky above above South Africa.
“Hi everyone. I would love to be there with you. I’m sorry for the extra noise,” Cruise, 59, shouted in front of a roaring jet engine and high winds.
“As you can see, we are filming the final episode of Mission: Impossible.”
“Tom does everything at top speed all the time…and you can’t stop him. He’s going to do it no matter what,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who is also returning from the first film, joked during the screening. CinemaCon event.
While plot details and reviews are under embargo ahead of the film’s official premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month, Top Gun: Maverick garnered immediate praise on social media from reporters attending Paramount’s CinemaCon presentation.
It combines adrenaline-pumping action sequences shot largely on real US Navy fighter jets with emotional references to the original.
Bruckheimer said it took so long to follow up because “all of our careers kind of took off from there” and Cruise “had a lot of stories he wanted to tell.”
Tony Scott, who directed the original, died in 2012, but new director Joseph Kosinski “found a way to make it that Tom was excited about”.
Kosinski said he was inspired by stunning footage on YouTube recorded by US Navy pilots filming with GoPro cameras during training.
“I showed this to Tom and said ‘it’s available for free on the internet – if we can’t do better, there’s no point in making this film.’ So he accepted.”
With the help of Navy engineers, the filmmakers found ways to fit six cameras into the jets’ cockpits.
The successful original was based on an actual training program known as Topgun and based at the former Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego.
Navy recruiting officials reportedly saw a dramatic increase in inquiries from would-be flyboys after the film’s release, with military recruiters in some cities setting up tables outside movie theaters.
The filmmakers ‘didn’t get much support from the Navy’ to make the original High Firearm“, said Kosinski.
“This movie on the other hand, when we approached the Navy to do it, it was like opening the doors. You know, ‘come in, tell us what you need.'”
The latest was granted access to the secret Naval Air Weapons China Lake station in California’s Mojave Desert, Kosinski said.
It also features a guest appearance from Val Kilmer, whose career effectively ended when he lost his voice during treatment for throat cancer.
“Val felt comfortable doing it. It was very moving to film it,” recalls Bruckheimer.
“Obviously he’s compromised, but he’s still an incredible actor, an incredible individual.
“Tom actually said ‘I’m not doing this movie unless Val is in it’.” ―AFP