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Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters nationwide

Tom Cruise
Posted at 1:10 PM, May 28, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Top Gun: Maverick is finally here. The film has been in production for the last few years, but if you ask producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the process began long before then.

It's been 30 years in the making, 35 years, really. The 1986 film became a San Diego favorite, with several key scenes filmed here.

It paid homage to the Navy and became a recruiting tool for the military and while it was a smash hit, it was not until recently the team was finally able to start production on a sequel.

The real serious work started five years ago, sitting on the shelf for two years. So now we're finally here.

The star of the film, Tom Cruise, a pilot himself, had a big hand in training the actors for some of the most dynamic scenes. He told ABC 10News that in order to make this movie, the actors had to go through extensive and grueling training.

"If I was going to make this movie? How do I do it? How do I prepare these actors? That was also part of the auditions where I would say, 'this may not be the movie that you want to do because this is what we're going to do and what we're going to accomplish,'" Cruise said. "And it was a strong stipulation for many years before I made this that if we're ever going to do this, this is how it has to be made."

Cruise created an entire program for the team to ensure they had the tools they needed. He said it was important because he wanted to honor the real top gun pilots.

"I have such respect for them with such respect for their ability, their skill, their care," he said. "You know their competitive spirit and their abilities just going there. That's what I want to represent."

Cruise also worked with the aerial coordinator and stunt pilot, Kevin LaRosa.

LaRosa was tasked with working with the Navy and the actors to ensure the scenes were done safely and effectively and were as dynamic as humanly possible, pushing the boundaries of aerial aviation.

LaRosa has worked on many movies but told us this one was extra special because of what he was able to accomplish.

"I would say I'm very fortunate and that I'm probably one of the only civilians in the world that has been allowed to sort of infiltrate the level of which I did in the U.S. Navy," he said. "To be part of the briefs to fly in their ranges in fly and as close proximity as we did and film those sequences and also help design them. With Tom and Joe Kaczynski. That was an honor."

He said everyone got on board to make those scenes a success. Everything had to be next level perfect, and we went to great lengths to make sure that happened.

You can tell how all of that work turned out in the final product. Writer Christopher McQuarrie says he's never been prouder of a movie.

"I don't think I've ever worked on a better movie than this cast this crew the navy all of our all of our collaborators in the Navy it was a unique experience," McQuarrie said.

The movie could break records for tom cruise on opening weekend. Variety is reporting the film could fetch anywhere from $85 million to more than $100 million domestically.

That would be the highest opening weekend mark in Cruise's career.