TOP GUN: MAVERICK Director Joe Kosinski Recounts His Initial Pitch To Tom Cruise For The Sequel (Exclusive)

It took a little over thirty years for Tom Cruise to say yes to Top Gun: Maverick and when we sat down with Joe Kosinski, he walked us through his initial pitch meeting with Cruise.

While fan demand for a Top Gun sequel had been fairly persistent over the past thirty years, it took a very specific pitch from director Joe Kosinski to finally get leading man Tom Cruise to give the green light to a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Having worked together on Oblivion in 2013, Cruise and Kosinski did have some familiarity going into this project, but it wasn't their past experience that reconnected them on the sequel. Kosinski reveals it was actually Jerry Bruckheimer who reached out first, sending him a script to look at and once he started seeing what this film could look like, Kosinski sought out Cruise. 

We caught up with Kosinski recently and he recounted the whole story, 

"Tom says we talked about it a little bit on Oblivion. I think it was more in a very abstract sort of way, but this one started with Jerry Bruckheimer sending me a script that they were working on, which I read and had some very specific kind of ideas about what direction to take it and I went and met with him and he liked what I was thinking about and thought we should go and pitch it to Tom directly, which we did.

We flew to Paris where he was shooting Mission: Impossible and I got like twenty minutes of his time between setups to pitch my take on the movie and I think he really liked the character journey of Maverick and what I was pitching for this film, and the relationship with Rooster being the kind of core of the story and how I wanted to shoot it, obviously, all practically, which I knew would be a requirement for him.

He liked the title I had, which was Top Gun: Maverick, and where we find Maverick at the beginning of the story, and he liked the idea of finding him in the world of testing cutting edge aircrafts, and he picked up the phone and called the head of the studio and said, “We're going to make this movie.” And that was the beginning of this whole thing."

As for how much aerial footage they actually captured, Kosinski admits it was well over 800 hours of the actors in their respective jets, which took a lot of fine-tuning as they had to ensure what they were shooting actually lined up with what was in the script, including reactions, lighting, and more. He tells me,

"We were just assembling as we went along. Most of the aerial footage was captured at the end, so we started with the ground story and all the aerial sequences were just storyboards in the middle of it, but we built it up as we went along and refined and honed it into the movie that you see now."

Check out our exclusive interview with Kosinski below:

In our review, we said, "Top Gun: Maverick is the must-see cinematic experience of the year! Packed with jaw-dropping aerial sequences, thrilling edge-of-your-seat moments, genuine heart, epic romance, huge stakes, and one of the absolute best performances of Tom Cruise's legendary career, this is the theatrical experience you've been waiting for."

Tom Cruise headlines the feature as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, with original co-star Val Kilmer returning as Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. The iconic pair are joined by an all-star supporting cast consisting of Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin, Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral Cyclone, Glen Powell as Hangman, Lewis Pullman as Bob, Ed Harris as Rear Admiral, Monica Barbaro as Phoenix, Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Warlock, Danny Ramirez as Fanboy, Manny Jacinto as Fritz, Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman, Jay Ellis as Payback, Jake Picking in an undisclosed role, Raymond Lee in an undisclosed role, Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin, Jean Louisa Kelly as Carole Bradshaw, Greg Davis as Coyote, and Bob Stephenson in an undisclosed role.

Top Gun: Maverick jets into theaters on May 27!


After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”

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 who will be chosen to fly it.

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