Continuing the story of non-conformist aviator Pete Mitchell, Top Gun: Maverick was one of the most successful blockbusters of 2022, taking the career of the legendary Tom Cruise to a whole new level.
And the film's success was not only due to the recognizable title but also to the dangerous action scenes that Cruise and the other cast members performed on their own.
While many of those difficult scenes could have been handled with the help of CGI, the new Top Gun wouldn't have been as spectacular without the real-life sequences, some of which required the actors to literally risk their lives. Recently, the film's director Joseph Kosinski revealed which of the scenes was the hardest to shoot — and, surprisingly, it's not one of those breathtaking flight scenes.
"I mean, the hardest one, which is one that you wouldn't think, was actually the sailing sequence. Because there was so much out of our control," Kosinski shared in an interview.
The director is referring to the scene where Maverick and Penny (Jennifer Connelly) are sailing a boat. While Pete is shown outside his natural element, his love interest is portrayed as an experienced mariner, confidently steering the boat.
At first glance, the scene may not look particularly difficult compared to the aerobatic tricks performed by the ace pilot, but it turned out to be an "unexpected challenge," according to the director.
The scene had to be shot over the course of several weeks in three different locations: the coasts of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. In the first two locations, there was no wind at all, and in the third one, the wind was too strong, sending the waves at an incredible speed. While Cruise and Connelly were on a very fast racing boat, the action had to be captured from a skiff sailing parallel to them.
Kosinski was on board with Claudio Miranda, the cinematographer, next to the heavy technocrane. The director confessed he had been holding on to the cameraman's chair "for dear life," while also trying to look at the monitors.
The memory of that shooting day probably still haunts the two filmmakers' nightmares — both because of the stress of the situation and the fear of drowning the expensive filming equipment.
We certainly have to thank the crew and cast for giving us such an amazing movie about the kings of the air — while also proving to be the kings of water!