TOP GUN: MAVERICK Stars Glen Powell & Danny Ramirez On Learning From Tom Cruise (Exclusive)

The young cast of Top Gun: Maverick found themselves with the opportunity of a lifetime as they were able to basically attend the Tom Cruise film school for the entire duration of the production.

It's not every day you get to work next to a living legend like Tom Cruise, but that's the opportunity the cast of Top Gun: Maverick found themselves in as they were able to work alongside him for well over a year, perfecting what's sure-to-be one of this summer's biggest and best blockbusters. 

We spoke to Danny Ramirez, who plays Fanboy in the film, explained what a resource Cruise was to the entire cast and how he guided them to deliver their absolute best performances while also guiding them on shaping the next decade of their burgeoning careers. 

"That's Uncle Cruise right there! He, from Day One, he's already been through everything that we're going to go through in the most extreme capacity. So, I think his empathy with that, he's been leading from the very first day, with us in mind, in our experience in mind, and what he hopes for us to accomplish in mind.

He told us very early on that we didn't get the roles just because they thought we were great for Fanboy or Phoenix or Rooster or Hangman, but rather, because they thought that we were the next wave of movie stars and so much of this experience was him passing down the responsibility of what it is to be a storyteller, to push the medium forward to not just do something for the sake of doing it, but to try to attempt to make great films because great films are really hard to come by.

 I think we see it in all his work, we see everything he gives to the industry and I think it's really exciting when you have someone like him really root for you and to give you all the tools to succeed. So, it was beyond just being a great co star and being one of the world's greatest actors, it's seeing someone that really cares about the craft and about story, so much so that he's sharing his entire bank of knowledge with us, for us to continue telling great stories outside of Top Gun: Maverick, but for the rest of our lives."

Co-star Glen Powell, who initially auditioned for the Rooster role but lost out to Miles Teller, was actually cast as Hangman after he impressed Cruise, director Joe Kosinski, screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer so much that they rewrote the part to better cater to his skillsets.

Having earned a fan in Tom Cruise, he enthusiastically recounts his casting process.  

"Having a fan in Tom Cruise is the greatest experience, if you haven't experienced it, I recommend it. It's really fun. I'm really, really thankful for the way everything turned out. I don't think anybody can truly understand what was going on in my head at the time when you miss out on a movie that made you want to be an actor, you feel like it could work out and when it doesn't, I was really bummed.

I was really sad and the role of Hangman wasn't the same on the page, but Tom and I talked it out and how he developed characters and how his tactic for building his career is not just choosing good roles, but choosing good movies, making great movies, finding roles in those movies, and making them great roles, roles that really enhance those sharp attributes that you have as a person and as an actor, and make it really come to life.

He told me that's what was going to happen, I talked to Joe, I talked to Chris McQuarrie, talked to Jerry Bruckheimer about it and these guys all said, “Hey, you got the Dream Team here. We promise we'll make this thing great.” I'm really, really grateful I listened to them because I can't imagine seeing what I saw at CinemaCon, seeing it on the big screen, and not being a part of it. Having missed out on it. I mean, this is a movie that I think is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. I think it's the reason you go to the movies. It's the reason you make movies and so, I'm really, really glad Tom Cruise is so compelling and convinced me to be a part of it."

Check out our exclusive interview with Glen Powell 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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