Joseph Kosinski interview: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ director

“It’s one of those days I’ll never forget,” reveals director Joseph Kosinski about shooting one of the most pivotal and emotional scenes in “Top Gun: Maverick,” when two beloved characters reunite on-screen and share a poignant moment of reflection and reckoning with their past. For our recent webchat he adds, “you’re seeing two actors at the height of their powers, in terms of acting, in a scene together. That felt very genuine in the moment. You know, what you see on screen, I think it very much mirrors real life, and the amount of respect that they had for each other and the friendship that they built over the years, it was all there. That was definitely one of the most memorable days on set for me.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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“Top Gun: Maverick” is the sequel to the 1986 Tony Scott-directed and Jerry Bruckheimer-produced classic “Top Gun,” with Tom Cruise reprising his starring role as naval aviator Maverick. The action drama, which sees director Kosinski reunite with Cruise following his 2013 sci-fi drama “Oblivion,” was written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie from a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, based on the characters in the original film created by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. The blockbuster also stars Val Kilmer (reprising his role as Iceman from the original), Miles Teller, Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, Emmy winner Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman and Oscar and Emmy nominee Ed Harris.

The film follows Maverick, who after more than 30 years as a top aviator is confronted with his past and deepest fears while training a team of younger Top Gun graduates that includes Rooster (Teller), the son of his deceased best friend Goose. The team is on a perilous special assignment that will see them advance into enemy territory where only the very best will survive. Following its premiere last spring, “Top Gun: Maverick” has gone on to gross $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2022 and the highest-grossing film of Cruise’s career to date.

The pressure was on for Kosinski, who had the daunting task of taking this cherished character in a new direction while also living up to the reverence that audiences have for the original film. “I had the memory of seeing that first film as a 12 year old kid on the big screen in the summer of 1986,” he explains. “A lot of the experiences I remember as a kid are seeing great films and that was one that stuck out. Tony Scott’s artistry in a giant blockbuster film was pretty revolutionary. So, I wanted this film to exist in the universe of ‘Top Gun,’ I wanted it to feel like a ‘Top Gun’ movie. I wanted it to have that timeless quality, but at the same time, I knew we would have to innovate, because the bar was set very high by that first film, and in order to make a movie worthy of the ‘Top Gun’ name, we’d have to find a way to forge our own way. We really worked hard to push the envelope in every way on this film,” he says.

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UPLOADED Dec 14, 2022 11:18 am