“Top Gun: Maverick” is shaping up to be one of the most popular movies of the summer with a record-breaking $160.5 million in earnings over Memorial Day weekend, but it turns out Tom Cruise didn’t want to participate at first.
Director Joseph Kosinski said he had a mere 30 minutes to convince the A-list actor, who starred in the original 1986 “Top Gun,” to participate in the project. Kosinski explained during an interview with Polygon that Cruise “really didn’t want to make” a sequel.
“So I read the script, I had some ideas, and Jerry [Bruckheimer] liked those ideas. He said, ‘You know what, you gotta go pitch this to Tom directly,’” the director told Polygon.
“We flew to Paris, where Tom was shooting ‘Mission: Impossible,’ we got about a half-hour of his time between setups,” Kosinski continued. “And I basically had 30 minutes to pitch this film, which I didn’t realize when we were flying over. But when I got there, I found that Tom really didn’t want to make another ‘Top Gun.’”
He said, “It’s one of those moments as a director, you have one on every film, where you’re on the spot to make a case for why this movie should be made. I had 30 minutes to do it.”
After the director delivered his pitch, Cruise immediately called the head of Paramount Pictures.
“We’re making another ‘Top Gun,’” Cruise told the exec, according to Kosinski.
The director recalled thinking how it was “pretty impressive to see the power of a real movie star in that moment.”
Those instincts were good ones. After prolonged pandemic-related delays, “Top Gun: Maverick” premiered in time for Memorial Day weekend 2022 and is already a huge success. The movie now holds the record for the top Memorial Day opening of all time.
Cruise had previously promised the movie would “never” be released on a streaming service before a theatrical release, which is why the premiere was pushed back for years.
During the Polygon interview, Kosinski also discussed why the sequel had the title “Top Gun: Maverick.”
“I just had the title, you know, which I think kind of summed it all up,” he told the publication. “We aren’t going to call it ‘Top Gun 2,’ we’re going to call it ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’”
He said the movie is a “character-driven story, a drama with this giant action film around it. And that to me was what a ‘Top Gun’ movie is.”