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Top Gun: Maverick Director Explains The Extreme Scene That The Navy Pilot Flying Tom Cruise Said He’d Never Do Again

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Top Gun: Maverick has been the most successful film on the 2022 movie schedule so far, as it brought tons of viewers into the movie theater to witness the spectacle of high-flying planes and death-defying action. While Cruise is known for, and does, most of his stunts, there was one scene in Maverick where a Navy pilot flew the track for him. When they finished filming the pilot said he never wanted to do it again. 

Joseph Kosinski explained to Empire that the most extreme scene they shot in the movie was Maverick’s speedy flight through the mountains during training. The pilots have to get through a low and curvy path really fast. To prove it’s possible Maverick ends up flying the course. It was agreed early on that these flights would be practical, and everything we see on screen came from “practical aviation assets flying in front of a lens,” as the aerial coordinator Kevin LaRosa Jr. said. So, for this scene, real-life Navy pilot Frank “Walleye” Weisser flew the course with Cruise in the backseat. He elaborated on the technical difficulty of the sequence saying: 

That was the most extreme thing we shot in the film, just in terms of the practicality of what you’re actually seeing on screen. It’s all in-camera, it’s Tom Cruise at 550 knots, going 30 feet above ground through the Toiyabe [Canyon] low-level training grounds. That’s a real Top Gun training thing, but they never fly as low as he does. After they landed, Walleye came up to me and said, ‘Did you get it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think we did.’ He said, ‘Good, because I’m never doing that again.’



Top Gun: Maverick has been the most successful film on the 2022 movie schedule so far, as it brought tons of viewers into the movie theater to witness the spectacle of high-flying planes and death-defying action. While Cruise is known for, and does, most of his stunts, there was one scene in Maverick where a Navy pilot flew the track for him. When they finished filming the pilot said he never wanted to do it again. 

Joseph Kosinski explained to Empire that the most extreme scene they shot in the movie was Maverick’s speedy flight through the mountains during training. The pilots have to get through a low and curvy path really fast. To prove it’s possible Maverick ends up flying the course. It was agreed early on that these flights would be practical, and everything we see on screen came from “practical aviation assets flying in front of a lens,” as the aerial coordinator Kevin LaRosa Jr. said. So, for this scene, real-life Navy pilot Frank “Walleye” Weisser flew the course with Cruise in the backseat. He elaborated on the technical difficulty of the sequence saying: 

That was the most extreme thing we shot in the film, just in terms of the practicality of what you’re actually seeing on screen. It’s all in-camera, it’s Tom Cruise at 550 knots, going 30 feet above ground through the Toiyabe [Canyon] low-level training grounds. That’s a real Top Gun training thing, but they never fly as low as he does. After they landed, Walleye came up to me and said, ‘Did you get it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think we did.’ He said, ‘Good, because I’m never doing that again.’

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