“Top Gun: Maverick” Director Joseph Kosinski Shot a Truly Insane Amount of Footage
How much footage did director Joseph Kosinski have to work with when he finished filming Top Gun: Maverick? In an interview with Empire Magazine, Kosinski said he shot so much footage for his Tom Cruise-led aerial action epic that it was more than all three Lord of the Rings movies—combined. Kosinski told Empire that he thinks the total amount was somewhere around 800 hours worth of footage. This has to do, in part, with just how much footage Kosinski, Cruise, and the team were shooting of (and from within) actual Navy fighter jets.
“Out of a 12- or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage,” Kosinski told Empire. “But it was so hard-earned. It just took a very long time to get it all. Months and months of aerial shooting. We shot as much footage as the three Lord Of The Rings movies combined. I think it was 800 hours of footage.”
Cruise and the cast were so hands-on, that they were actually manipulating the camera equipment from within the cockpit.
“We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” Cruise told Empire. “I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”
The story in Top Gun: Maverick finds Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell returning to the Navy (at the behest of Val Kilmer’s Ice Man, no less, who is now an admiral) to teach the best of the best from the Top Gun class before they take on a specialized mission “the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen.” Maverick will have to come face-to-face with the darkest part of his past when he finds that one of his students is Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend Lt. Nick Bradshaw, better known as “Goose” (Anthony Edwards). It was Goose’s tragic death in the original Top Gun that haunted Maverick. Now, not only will Maverick have to face Rooster and the trauma of his past, he’ll have to prepare the young hotshot, if he’s willing to listen, for the most dangerous mission of both of their lives.
Kosinski directs from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Cruise’s longtime Mission: Impossible collaborator Christopher McQuarrie.
Top Gun: Maverick zooms into theaters on May 27.
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Featured image: Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Credit: Scott Garfield. © 2019 Paramount Pictures Corporation.