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Top Gun: Maverick - Jay Ellis Says Filming Reminded Him Of His Childhood On Base

"Top Gun: Maverick" was, quite obviously, one of the most successful films of 2022 and a rare example of a sequel somehow outshining its predecessor. However, for star Jay Ellis, who portrays Reuben "Payback" Fitch in "Top Gun: Maverick," it was something of a homecoming. Ellis's father was in the Air Force, so the actor grew up around military bases. Naturally, filming for the "Top Gun" sequel elicited feelings of familiarity for Ellis, but also a sense of pride.

"I think the thing for me was there was this pride and this respect and even responsibility, which I think everyone ended up feeling especially as we got to meet more of those pilots and more of the aviation community at large," Ellis told CinemaBlend. "But for me, I remember the first time we drove on base in North Island, I was like 'Oh, this is my childhood.' Like going through the gates, showing someone my ID, literally all these memories started to pop back up in my head."

It can be a surreal feeling to be transported back to one's childhood, and that seemingly was the case for Ellis here. But beyond the physical reminders of growing up on base, Ellis also experienced some changes in how he approached his routine as well.

Ellis found himself following his old daily routines while filming Top Gun: Maverick

During the same interview, Jay Ellis admitted that the daily routines surrounding the schedule for filming "Top Gun: Maverick" mirrored his childhood in a lot of ways.

"I think I even found myself, with the exception of one night when we went out, I think I found myself very much being back on the kind of clock that I was on when I was a kid," Ellis said. "You're up at this time, you do this thing, you hear the horns in the morning. There were all these things that started to kick in. For me, it was just this immense pride and also the responsibility of wanting to portray men and women who sacrifice their lives and time away from their family every single day to protect this country."

So while it's easy to imagine that such routines are something of an adjustment for other actors who were part of "Top Gun: Maverick," for Ellis, it was much closer to a feeling of coming home for the first time in years. It'll be interesting to see if Ellis as Payback makes any appearances in future "Top Gun" installments — should they ever come to be.