Top Gun: Maverick Shot As Much Footage As All Three Lord Of The Rings Movies Combined – Exclusive | Movies

It may seem obvious to say, but making a film that largely takes place inside and around airborne fighter jets is no easy feat. And with so many lengths taken to make long-awaited Top Gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick a jaw-dropping action spectacle, with a significant amount of practical shooting in actual planes, it was a mammoth effort to pull off. So much so that, across the film’s production, director Joseph Kosinski reckons the entire sum of footage shot would rival the entirety of Peter Jackson‘s original Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

“Out of a 12- or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage,” the filmmaker tells Empire in the new issue. “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.” It wasn’t just about getting external plane footage – there was also all the in-cockpit sequences, which involved the cast getting hands-on with the camera equipment. “We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” says star and producer Tom Cruise. “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.”

For the actors, it was one hell of a job – emotional and technical and practical. “You had to be incredibly efficient,” recalls Miles Tellerplaying new recruit Rooster, son of Top Gun‘s fallen hero Goose. “You had to, a lot of the time, create an imaginary eyeline to where another jet would be, and when you say a line, your face better be telling the story. The sun needs to be at the right angle.” Talk about a Danger Zone, eh?

Read Empire‘s full feature on the making of Top Gun: Maverick – talking to Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jerry Bruckheimer, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly and more – in the Jurassic World Dominion issue, on sale Thursday 14 April and available to pre-order online here. Top Gun: Maverick is due in UK cinemas from 25 May.

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