Top Gun: Maverick Cast And Producers On Working With Tom Cruise

If there is one driving force behind the making of "Top Gun: Maverick," it's the film's star and one of its producers, Tom Cruise.

From going through what's called a full Aviation Survival Training Curriculum to get himself qualified to fly in an F/A-18 combat jet, to personally designing a five-month training program for the rest of the cast so that they could fly, to working with five different writers over the course of several years to make sure that the script for the return of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell was right, Cruise was perhaps more involved in every single facet of this long-awaited sequel's production than any other of his films.

It was Cruise who insisted that special camera rigs be created that could fit inside the jet cockpits with the actors (and professional pilots), and it was Cruise who also demanded that the film's stunning aerial sequences had to be filmed as realistically as possible. "He's the greatest," said producer Jerry Bruckheimer about his star, who was just 21 years old when Bruckheimer and his late producing partner Don Simpson cast him in the original "Top Gun." Speaking on the red carpet at the film's premiere, Bruckheimer added, "There's nobody better. He is a fabulous individual, a great actor, a great producer. He takes on big tasks and nobody is better at it."

Tom Cruise's fellow actors learned about his devotion to filmmaking

Just as Jerry Bruckheimer had nothing but glowing things to say about Tom Cruise, several members of the "Top Gun: Maverick" cast were equally full of praise and respect for their team leader.

Bashir Salahuddin, who plays warrant officer Bernie "Hondo" Coleman in the film, said that Cruise is incredibly devoted to the finished product, down to the smallest detail. "I learned how much of a student of film he is," Salahuddin said. "He's really educated himself on every aspect of filming, and I mean everything, from the cameras to the costumes. That's part and parcel of how important it is to him. I think it goes a small way to explaining his longevity. Everything matters when folks spend their money to come see a movie. He knows that's sacred and he wants to make sure they get bang for their buck."

Charles Parnell, seen in the film as Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates, agreed with Salahuddin's assessment of Cruise's priorities. "Everything he does, he keeps the audience in mind," Parnell explains. "Every move, every stunt, every line, how is it going to affect the audience, how is it going to move the story forward? ... That was amazing, to see his commitment to that every day."

In the end, Cruise's devotion to making "Top Gun: Maverick" the most exhilarating and exciting cinematic experience possible set an example for every other member of the cast and crew. "He is 100%, 100% of the time," said Jon Hamm, who co-stars as Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson. "It's inspiring to watch. It can be tiring to watch for sure. He go-go-goes, but he is the luckiest person in the world, and he'll say this because he loves what he does and he gets to do it at the highest level."

"Top Gun: Maverick" soars into theaters on May 27.