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Top Gun: Maverick's Director Compares The Aviation Sequences To A Play

There are certain movies everyone expects to do well even before they come out. Marvel films are a pretty safe bet to do well at the box office. "Star Wars" will always be among the top 10 highest-grossing movies of any year. But it's safe to say no one was probably expecting a sequel to an '80s film to get people back in theaters, but that's precisely what "Top Gun: Maverick" did.

"Maverick" was a phenomenon when it came out in the summer of 2022, and there are a few reasons why this is likely the case. For starters, it's just a well-made movie featuring stunning practical effects where the actors were really flying military-grade jets. It was also filmed with IMAX cameras, incentivizing audiences to see it on the biggest screen possible. 

The aerial sequences were among the movie's highlights, and a lot of work went into making them a reality. In fact, director Joseph Kosinski compared practicing the aviation scenes to rehearsing a play, which isn't something you'd necessarily think about a project where the actors aren't even on the ground most of the time. 

A lot of on-the-ground rehearsal went into the flying scenes

Since they were flying real Boeing F/A 18F Super Hornet aircraft, Joseph Kosinski naturally couldn't be there in the plane to give them direction. That means the actors were in charge of getting the cameras rolling and ensuring the lighting was perfect so they could get their shots. When speaking with Collider, Kosinski revealed the rigorous training that went into making sure everyone knew what they were doing when it came game time. He stated, "I think it's directing a play. We did a lot of rehearsal, a lot of briefs. We practiced, we built this wooden thing called the Buck, which was essentially an F-18 cockpit built out of plywood because we could do it quickly. And before they would fly up, I would put the Naval aviator and the actor in the backseat, and we would rehearse the entire day's work."

They had to go over everything the actors were in charge of on top of flying an aircraft. That included making sure the terrain was right, keeping their eyeline correct for looking at other planes, and acquiring sound. Kosinski didn't even know what he'd be looking at until the actor came in for a landing. He concluded by saying, "It was rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, and not until they got back when we took the chips out of the camera, put it in the monitor did we see what they did."

As such, it's no surprise to hear that there are hundreds of hours of unused footage for "Top Gun: Maverick," and only the best went into the movie. It was a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves.