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Things You didn't Know About Top Gun

Tom Cruise almost rejected the lead role.

Tom Cruise almost rejected the lead role.

The original Top Gun movie just wouldn't have been the same without actor Tom Cruise. He may be strange, but that man knows how to act! However, the world almost got a Top Gun without Cruise at all, and it wasn't because the studio had another actor in mind—it was because Cruise didn't want the role. 

Despite being new to the world of acting, Cruise wasn't originally interested in the role. The studio actually sent him multiple offers, and he rejected each one. However, director Jerry Bruckheimer finally got Cruise to change his mind by arranging for the actor to go on a ride-along with some real-life Blue Angels. 

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"Danger Zone" wasn't originally for Kenny Loggins.

"Danger Zone" wasn't originally for Kenny Loggins.

One of the most memorable things about the original Top Gun was Kenny Loggins' performance of the movie's single "Danger Zone." The single rose all the way to number two on the charts and it went platinum in multiple countries. However, this is another aspect of Top Gun that almost wasn't! 

Loggins was not the artist originally considered for the now-classic song featured in the movie. First, "Danger Zone" was given to the band Toto, but producers didn't like the version they recorded. It was then given to REO Speedwagon, but again, producers weren't impressed. Finally, they gave Kenny Loggins a shot at it, and the rest is history! 

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The movie hired a Navy vet to maintain realism.

The movie hired a Navy vet to maintain realism.

Top Gun may be larger than life, but the film went to great lengths to make it feel as realistic and true to life as possible. They even went as far as hiring a retired Navy Vet as a technical editor to help point out things that civilians might not notice themselves. 

Real Admiral Pete Pettigrew was hired to help maintain realism, but he wasn't allowed to be much help, as the director of the film would often override his notes about scenes. He also makes a brief cameo in the film as a bar patron. 

(Images via IMDB [1][2])

The director bribed a Navy captain to get the perfect shot.

The director bribed a Navy captain to get the perfect shot.

The producers of Top Gun and the Navy worked closely together on the film, but things didn't always run smoothly for the two groups. The movie's crew was obviously first and foremost concerned with the success of the film, but the Navy often had better things to do than worry about an action movie. 

During one filming session, director Tony Scott was unhappy with the lighting on an aircraft carrier. In order to get the lighting he wanted, he wrote a check to the ship's captain to alter course. The captain complied and Scott got his shot, but the check allegedly bounced when they tried to deposit it. 

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The Navy only allowed the movie to launch two real missiles.

The Navy only allowed the movie to launch two real missiles.

The Navy was very generous with its time and resources when it came to filming the original Top Gun. However, when it came to firing real missiles, the military told producers that, because of the high costs, they would only be able to launch two of them. 

Production had no problems with this, and they used an effects company to supplement the footage with that of model missiles being launched. It turns out that the company did such great work with their models the Navy assumed the movie had fired more than two real ones and launched an investigation into it. 

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A stunt actor died while filming a scene in the original film.

A stunt actor died while filming a scene in the original film.

There was lots of off-screen drama and trouble on the set of Top Gun. However, in one instance, a genuine tragedy struck the production that left everyone shocked and sad. During the filming of one scene, a stunt actor, Art Scholl, died during an accident. 

Scholl was filming plane scenes five miles off the coast of California when he lost control of the stunt plane. He radioed, "I have a problem – I have a serious problem," before crashing into the ocean. Unfortunately, his body was never able to be recovered, and the film was dedicated to his memory. 

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The original movie got a lukewarm response from advanced screenings.

The original movie got a lukewarm response from advanced screenings.

Top Gun is now a movie classic, but studio execs weren't so sure that it was going to be a runaway hit when the film was originally released. At an advance screening, the movie got lukewarm reviews from the audience, and the director and producer were worried that they had a flop on their hands. 

However, that was far from the case! Despite mixed reviews from critics, audiences loved the movie—ticket sales grossed $357 million, despite a movie budget of only $15 million. The movie remained popular for years after its release and was officially preserved by the Library of Congress in 2015. 

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Two actors began a relationship after meeting on set.

Two actors began a relationship after meeting on set.

In the original Top Gun movie, Kelly McGillis' character, Charlie, is the love interest for Tom Cruise's character, Maverick. However, in real life, McGillis had fallen for another man on set—Barry Tubb, who played Leonard "Wolfman" Wolfe. After a humorous encounter, the two eventually became a couple. 

On their meeting, Tubb said, "We were walking across the street and she actually fell down, and I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. She fell down on her face in the middle of the street and she had my heart." However, it doesn't seem the relationship was too serious, as the couple never took things any further. 

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One of Tom Cruise's planes was used in the new film.

One of Tom Cruise's planes was used in the new film.

Lovers riding off into the sunset is nothing new in Hollywood, but Top Gun: Maverick did things just a little differently than we're used to. Instead of riding, Cruise's character, Maverick, and his love interest, Penny, fly off into the wild blue yonder on a jet. But this wasn't just any jet!

In this final scene of the movie, the couple are actually in one of Tom Cruise's personal planes. The World War II P-51 jet really belongs to Cruise, and, because he has his real pilot's license, he actually flew the plane in the shot as well. He is nothing if not an interesting man! 

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Miles Teller got to pick his own call sign.

Miles Teller got to pick his own call sign.

Most of the military characters in Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick were given call signs, but one actor actually got the chance to pick his own. When it came time to give actor Miles Teller (who plays Bradley Bradshaw in the new film) his call sign, he offered up a suggestion that everyone loved. 

Teller went with the call sign "Rooster" to reference the fact that his character is the son of Nick Bradshaw, who's call sign is "Goose" in the original film. It was a smart pick, and we're not surprised that the director and writers went along with it. 

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The new movie uses only minimal CGI.

The new movie uses only minimal CGI.

When it came time to film scenes for Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise insisted that they look as realistic as possible. A bunch of CGI action was not going to cut it for the eccentric actor. There were rumors that the new movie used no CGI whatsoever, and while that wasn't the case, it was almost that impressive. 

The movie used a little CGI, but no more than it took to keep actors safe and the movie's budget somewhat reasonable. Firing military-grade weapons is ridiculously expensive, not to mention dangerous, so we guess we can forgive them for a tiny bit of CGI trickery! 

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The beach scene had to be re-filmed because of Tom Cruise.

The beach scene had to be re-filmed because of Tom Cruise.

The original Top Gun features an unforgettable, hilarious, and unintentionally homoerotic scene of greased-up men playing volleyball. So, it should be no surprise that Top Gun: Maverick featured a similar scene as an homage to the original. However, the first take didn't play out to Tom Cruise's liking. 

Cruise was apparently so unimpressed with the physiques of the greased-up guys around him, that he told everyone to go home, work out, and reconvene in a few weeks after everyone was sufficiently ripped. Tom Cruise is a stickler for perfection, especially when it comes to men's bodies apparently! 

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Val Kilmer’s voice in the new movie was created using AI.

Val Kilmer’s voice in the new movie was created using AI.

Val Kilmer played Tom "Iceman" Kazansky in the original Top Gun film. He also reprised his role in the 2022 release of Top Gun: Maverick. However, tragedy struck Kilmer between these two performances. Because of surgery due to throat cancer, Kilmer has been rendered unable to speak normally or easily. 

This problem seems like it would make reprising his former role impossible, but that wasn't the case. By using AI technology, producers were able to recreate Kilmer's voice so that he could appear in a scene in the new movie. It was a little bit creepy, but it was also an impressive feat from a technological point of view. 

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Top Gun: Maverick's release date got pushed back years.

Top Gun: Maverick's release date got pushed back years.

Big budget movies rarely stick to their original timeline. Actors have conflicting schedules, sets aren't available—these and all sorts of other problems crop up, making finishing on time an impossibility. However, even by glacial Hollywood standards, Top Gun: Maverick took forever to release. It's a wonder it saw the light of day at all! 

The release for the new film was originally July 12, 2019. Well, that day came and went with no new movie in sight. Then, it was pushed back to June 26, 2020...and then once again was pushed back to December 23rd, 2020. Finally, after literal years of delays, Top Gun: Maverick was finally released in May of 2022. 

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The new movie has been in production since 2010.

The new movie has been in production since 2010.

It took forever for fans to finally get a much-anticipated sequel to the original Top Gun. However, judging by reviews from critics and fans, Top Gun: Maverick was well worth the wait. It took years for the stars to align to allow the sequel to move forward—it's been in the works for more than a decade. 

Tom Cruise was dropping hints about a Top Gun sequel all the way back in the year 2000, but production didn't officially begin on the new movie until 2010. After the director of the original film, Tony Scott, died in 2012, the movie was put on the back burner, only to be revived and finally produced a few years later. 

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