Tom Cruise says new ‘Top Gun’ was made for the big screen

Top Gun Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise attends the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival.
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

By María Estévez, special for MWN from Cannes

After 30 years, Tom Cruise returned to the French Festival in Cannes and did it in his own way by landing a helicopter as one of his iconic characters Captain Pete Mitchell from “Top Gun”  returns to the big screen with his sunglasses and his large motorcycle.

Last week, he presented the sequel to “Top Gun” (1986) called “Top Gun: Maverick'”at the Cannes Film Festival. The actor, who turns 60 in July, received a tribute at the event where he assured that his films are made for the theater:

“I never had the intention of releasing Maverick on television, this is a movie for the big screen,” said Cruise, considered by Hollywood as the “last great star.”

If the cinema dies, his dream will die and he plans to do everything possible to keep it alive.

“Going to the movies is what matters most to me. We are all united, even if we speak different languages and come from different cultures, when we sit in front of the big screen we form a community where we can share our experiences. I understand the business, I studied it all the time, but there are films that need a very specific way of shooting, films that cannot be watched on television. I’m not looking to make a big box office on the first opening weekend. I’m looking for the long haul, to entertain and thrill. I dream of filling the theaters.”

Cruise does not forget how to shine before his public; in fact, he assured during the tribute by the organizers, that he had come to Cannes to celebrate cinema:

“The old actors, the ones from before, showed their skills. They worried about studying dancing and singing, that the system of making movies has passed and gone with them. When I make a film, I study and prepare myself to learn different skills. Even when I’m not shooting, if I see something that catches my interest, I think about how to put that into a movie.”

After a staggering number of delays, “Top Gun: Maverick” made it to the Cannes Film Festival before opening in theaters around the world. The sequel to the Reagan-era blockbuster features the same elements that made Cruise a star in the 1980s.

“Maverick was shot to be released in theaters. I wasn’t going to let it be released any other way. I grew up in the cinema, and, during the pandemic, I would talk to the owners of the theaters near to my house and tell them to hold on, that we would soon release ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Mission Impossible.’”

Top Gun Tom Cruise
Christopher McQuarrie, Joseph Kosinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Tom Cruise, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell and Jay Ellis attend the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick.”Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“Top Gun” was one of producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s big box-office hits, a film made in collaboration with the Pentagon, which came out in 1986 when polls showed many Americans had doubts about the military and the saber-rattling of the White House. But the film, a celebration of the spirit of aviation, not only generated $344 million at the box office, it proved its worth in reviving the image of the military. Today, when the world is immersed in the Ukraine conflict, the premiere of Maverick becomes more significant.

“When I make a film I try to show all the skills I have, everything I know. I give myself completely to the experience and it fascinates me because by shooting movies I learn about humanity, about people, about work and art.”

Maverick could even make a run for this year’s Oscars based on the reviews it is receiving from those who have already watched the film. It is a celebration of the spirit of aviation; with pilots who compete with each other to lead, capable of following orders, showing their flying skills and, above all, their ability to react in times of danger. This is the elite group called Top Gun, the one made fashionable by Tom Cruise in the mid-1980s. Thirty-six years later, Paramount Pictures is releasing the sequel to a film that not even the protagonist himself wanted to make after the death of its original director Tony Scott a decade ago.

Cruise also acknowledged that he had been waiting for the technology to reach the point of being able to transport the audience to the cabin of the plane.

“I wanted to get the audience inside the F/A-18 (combat jet). It was now or never. I am very proud of what we have achieved because everyone who has participated in the film has done an extraordinary job,” Cruise concluded.

The second part of Top Gun, an archetypal tape from the ’80s, brings us back to Tom Cruise. In the first, he had not yet turned 24. In the second he is about to turn 60, the same age John Wayne was when he starred in “True Value.” The actor, who landed his own helicopter in Cannes, risks his life in each of his shoots, but he does not like to be asked about it.

“Nobody questioned Gene Kelly because he danced. If I do a musical I want to sing and dance well, if I do action I also want to do it the right way. ‘Mission Impossible’ was the first movie I did as a producer and a lot of people told me it was a bad idea. I didn’t care because I wanted to do it. I know this industry well, I know what my limits are and how far I can go. Control of my physique is one of my skills as an actor and I want to make use of those skills when shooting a movie. I’m still the four-year-old boy who jumped off the roof of his mother’s house with a sheet because he wanted to fly.”