Tom Cruise in Maverick: what is indisputably obvious today was not necessarily so in 1985-1986, when “Top Gun” was being prepared. Take a look back at 10 rising ’80s stars who nearly took control of Pete Mitchell’s F-14.
In 1986, Tom Cruise flew to the heights with Top Gun. Noticed in Taps, Outsiders, Risky Business or Legend in the early 80s, the one who was only a rising star became THE new face of American cinema thanks to the success of Tony Scott’s feature film, which garnered more than 350 million dollars in the world for a budget of only 15 million greenbacks.
At the time, even before filming, Cruise was aware that Top Gun is a major step “superior” even in his career. He is thus involved in the production process, with the approval of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and participates in all the preparatory meetings, from the sets to the costumes through photography. And the scenario, of course, which he develops with his producers for a month.
“I saw – cinematically – what they were going to do”remembers the comedian in the press kit of Top Gun Maverick. “But the script wasn’t great. It didn’t work. There was no real character with Maverick. It was a pretty vague universe, not very defined (…) So we started talking about this script, and I said that for me it was a movie about competition, about honor, a movie about friendship, about sacrifice and stakes and mistakes, and coming to terms with those mistakes “.
Convinced by the project, the actor also has two requirements: to shoot in a real F-14, and to fly with the Blue Angels, the Navy demonstration team which offers air shows across the United States. “It was a great flight. For the first time, I felt the different levels of G-force. You can read, learn about G-force, but you don’t understand it until you learn it. didn’t live. It was a great flight. They let me do what I wanted – and I kept going until about 5G. And what Jerry doesn’t know, because I kept them going for months to know if I was going to engage in the film or not, it is that I was then already convinced that I was going to do it”.
The rest is legend, and continued thirty-six years later with Top Gun Maverick, acclaimed by the public (it is the best film of the post-COVID era according to AlloCiné viewers) and very lucrative at the box office ($400 million across the Atlantic, more than $800 million worldwide). Yet, as is always the case in Hollywood, many comedians have been considered, even approached, for the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. A look back at ten actors who almost flew away instead of Tom Cruise.
Michael J. Fox
Name of Zeus! What if after traveling in a DeLorean in Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox had boarded for the flight deck of Top Gun ? The actor was thus part of the shortlist for the role of Maverick for a time, without this being able to materialize. It must be said that between Teen Wolf, The secret of my success and especially the Sacred Family series which mobilized him from 1982 to 1989, his agenda was loaded. Note that he will also be “entitled” to his war film with Outrages by Brian De Palma (1989) against… Sean Penn, a time in the running for Maverick player too.
Emeritus member of the Brat Pack, a group of young comedians from the 80s (of which Tom Cruise will be a secondary member), Emilio Estevez has, like his brother Charlie Sheenalmost signed for Top Gun. Not selected, he still marked the 80s with John Hughes’ Breakfast Club, Close Surveillance and especially the western Young Guns (where Tom Cruise made a small uncredited appearance).
Also a member of the Brat Pack, Rob Lowe revealed many years later that he didn’t get along very well with Tom Cruise on the set of Underdogs, finding it too competitive. He was one of the actors considered for the role of Maverick, and finally stepped on the ice of Youngblood when Cruise took flight in his F-14.
Unforgettable Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick is one of the faces to follow in the 80s when WarGames or Ladyhawke launched his career nicely. Logical since it appears on the list of actors in the running to slip into the controls of Top Gun.
Now well known to Netflix subscribers thanks to his role in Stranger Things, Matthew Modine was in the spotlight at the time thanks to his role in Birdy, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1985. Refusing to commit in “pro-army” projects, he declines Top Gun for the benefit in particular of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.
Partner of Matthew Modine in birdieNicolas Cage is also one of the rising stars of Hollywood at the time of the preparation of Top Gun. He will instead star Peggy Sue Got Married, alongside a certain Jim Carrey, also considered for the role of Maverick.
He had met a very young Tom Cruise in gang movie Underdogs by Francis Ford Coppola: Patrick Swayze was one of his “rivals” for the main role of Top Gun. Probably too busy with the historic series North and South, the actor will shine in another cult and emblematic film of the 80s, with an equally memorable soundtrack, Dirty Dancing.
At the beginning of the 80s, Scott Baio distinguished himself mainly on television, in the role of Chachi Arcola in the series Happy Days and in the main role of the series Charles s’en charge. He said he turned down the role of Maverick in Top Gun.
If the “yellow dogs” of Top Gun (crew members who direct Navy pilots on aircraft carriers) often dance on the flight deck after a successful launch, they almost learned from a master in the matter: the name of John Travolta was thus mentioned by the production at the time, then dismissed because considered unbankable (the Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Staying Alive years being over).