Top Gun: Maverick Has More Footage Than All Three Lord of the Rings Films Combined

Top Gun: Maverick Has More Footage Than All Three Lord of the Rings Films Combined

The cast and crew for “Top Gun: Maverick” didn’t quite feel the need for speed while filming the sequel, but rather accurate practical stunts.

Director Joseph Kosinski told Empire Magazine that production on the “Top Gun” sequel was elongated to get the perfect shot, with sometimes 14-hour work days resulting in only 30 seconds of “good footage” usable for the final cut.

“It was so hard-earned,” Kosinski said. “It just took a very long time to get it all. Months and months of aerial shooting. We shot as much footage as the three ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies combined. I think it was 800 hours of footage.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” stars Tom Cruise reprising his role as Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, set 30 years after the 1986 original film. Per an official synopsis, Pete begins training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission with unprecedented requirements. Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller) aka “Rooster,” who is the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

The film had multiple production delays but is now set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival before debuting in theaters May 27. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Val Kilmer also star.

Co-star Teller revealed that actors had to be “incredibly efficient” during production. “You had to, a lot of the time, create an imaginary eyeline to where another jet would be, and when you say a line, your face better be telling the story,” Teller noted. “The sun needs to be at the right angle.” 

From external plane footage to in-cockpit scenes, star Cruise revealed it was literally all hands on deck with the cast. “We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” Cruise, who also serves as a producer on the film, said. “I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”

Cruise previously teased that everything is “very real” onscreen. “For 34 years you guys have been very patient with me, and I felt it was my responsibility for me to deliver for you,” Cruise said at Comic-Con 2019.

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