Tom Cruise Put ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Cast Through ‘Most Intense Film Training Ever’

Among Tom Cruise’s many identifiers (top-tier on-screen runner, famous couch-jumper, high-ranking member of a controversial cult) he’s perhaps been best known lately as a famously unchill guy on set.

So, it should come as no surprise that the star would approach training for his new film “Top Gun: Maverick” just as intensely as he does everything else.

In a new behind-the-scenes featurette about the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster titled “Most Intense Training Ever,” Cruise reveals the “grueling” monthslong process he demanded fellow cast members go through to prepare for the film.

“I wasn’t ready to make a sequel until we had a special story, worthy of a sequel, and until technology evolved so we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot,” Cruise explains in the clip, released on Monday. “We worked with the Navy and the Top Gun school to formulate how to shoot it practically. Because if we’re going to do it, we’re going to fly in the F-18s.”

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Long before cameras started rolling, the film’s cast, including Miles Teller, Glen Powell and Greg Tarzan Davis, were enrolled in a “challenging underwater program,” which included being flipped upside down and escaping a submerged aircraft simulator.

“The Navy says if you eject, you have to be able to survive in the water,” Cruise says matter-of-factly in the clip.

Then, there was an “all-encompassing aviation training” he designed to put the actors with real pilots in increasingly powerful planes “to feel what it was like in a jet.”

And, if that wasn’t enough, cast members also were tasked with operating their own cameras to essentially direct themselves while in the sky. Cruise said he took this as an opportunity to “really teach them cinematography and lighting so that they understood what’s going to look good on camera.”

If all that sounds slightly miserable, cast members at least seemed grateful for the experience, which was all in service of rendering more visceral flight sequences for the movie’s audience.

Cruise, of course, has developed a reputation for being a dominating force on set. A clip of the actor beating crew members for breaching pandemic protocols during the filming of “Mission Impossible 7” went viral last year, raising some concerns about his behavior behind the scenes.

The pandemic-delayed “Top Gun: Maverick,” which sees Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell return to teach a new class of pilots, including the son of his late friend Goose, arrives in theaters on May 27.

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