Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A “Top Gun Maverick” Sequel– Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Says “It’s Up to Tom” But Director, Stars Are Ready If Called Upon


Will there be a “Top Gun Maverick” sequel? On Friday night, I got the answer.

Director Joseph Kosinski is ready. So is producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Star Miles Teller told me: “If you’d asked me when we finished this movie, I’d have said I needed a break. The whole cast did. But now it’s just about Tom.”

He added, it’s also about the cast. After all, he’s the only who didn’t — to use his word
“puke” — when they got back from flying the planes. The actors, as we’ve been told before, were up in those planes flying at speeds that were treacherous. Luckily, someone from the Air Force was up there with them, too. But no green screens. It was all terrifyingly real.

And Tom Cruise, the lightning rod for “Maverick”? Everyone was talking about him at Friday night’s screening and Q&A for the film, which had made $1.4 billion around the world, is beloved, and guess what? In a second viewing, it holds up to the hype. “Maverick” is an old fashioned Hollywood hit in the best way. Teller, Kosinski, and Bruckheimer were joined by Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, who gives “Maverick” an unexpected gravitas. She is also — not PC to say anymore– gorgeous.

“It’s the wig,” she told me. “Everyone loves the wig.” No, it’s Connelly. (See below.)

Now the trick is, can it get Oscar nominations? My feeling: it must, or no one is going to watch the Oscars. The rest of the 2023 Oscar slate is high quality but has no blockbuster. Having “Top Gun Maverick” in the mix would give the Academy a needed jolt.

And then there’s Bruckheimer, who’s never won an award even after making five decades worth of blockbusters including the original “Top Gun.” He doesn’t even have a Producers Guild Award, which is kind of ridiculous. Famous with his late partner, Don Simpson, from their skyrocketing success early on. Bruckheimer has gone on to triumph after triumph.

In the Q&A with Fandango’s Erik Davis, Bruckheimer was low key and eloquent when asked about that this movie means to him:

“Well, first of all what is meant to the industry. A large part of our audience that came out to see Tom had not been out to see a movie in at least two years. So we brought a large audience from age 8 to 80 back to cinema and theaters. Around the world! It’s not just a movie for this country. Our grosses foreign were larger than our grosses in this country. This is a movie that brought people together. It’s not a red state or a blue state…it’s a movie for everybody…It’s because of the expertise of Tom Cruise and these amazing people on the stage with me and all the wonderful technicians who work so hard and smoothly to make it as good as it is… So it shows when you make a movie right it shows the brilliance of the people who make it.”

Well put.

When could we see a sequel? Cruise has to finish “Mission Impossible 8,” the second of two “MI” movies coming in 2023 and 2024. But I think “Top Gun M 2” will start up sooner than later, before everyone who made the first one loses their nerve!

By the way, I asked Connelly, how does it work when you’re in a film that starts breaking weekly records? If you’re the actors do you just read the Sunday headlines? Or does someone call and say “you’re making history”? Jennifer said, in this case, “Chris McQuarrie, our director, has us all on group chat. So he’d say, Look at this!” She shook her head. “And you can’t believe it!”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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