Top Gun: Maverick Creator Had Only 30 Minutes to Get Tom Cruise On Board
Tom Cruise doesn't like to play in sequels, with the exception of Mission Impossible movies, to which he was and is a producer.
The actor rejected numerous pitches for a Top Gun sequel in the past, even though the original Top Gun (1986) was the movie which catapulted him into the A-list of Hollywood actors.
So, when the (future) director of Top Gun: Maverick Joseph Kosinski walked up to Cruise with the intent to finally make a successful pitch for such sequel, he had one and only one shot. Kosinski was given mere 30 minutes between setups on Mission: Impossible – Fallout to make an impression on Cruise and overcome the latter's heavy skepticism towards the offer.
And for that short interview Kosinski had to fly to Paris, where that installment of Mission: Impossible was filmed.
But as an interview with Kosinski reveals, he made a good use of that limited amount of time.
"And the first thing I pitched to him was the Rooster story. That this reconciliation between these two characters set against a mission that would take both of them across enemy lines where they'd have to come together and fight their way back as a team, just like he and Goose were. That would be the story."
The approach he chose was correct – he essentially proposed the emotional hook which the sequel needed to be more than just a series of special effects involving airplanes, and that was enough to get Tom Cruise interested.
"And as soon as I said that, I could see the wheels in Tom's head start to turn because he came into that room ready to say, 'Thanks for coming, but I'm not doing another Top Gun sequel.'"
The interview, instead, ended with Tom Cruise pulling out a phone on the spot to call the head of Paramount and say, "We're making a sequel to Top Gun." Thankfully, Joseph Kosinski's directing skills proved to be on par with his persuasiveness, so Top Gun: Maverick ended up a major hit and one of the best blockbusters in the last few years, almost certainly the best blockbuster of 2022, unless Avatar 2 manages to eclipse it, after all.