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The Intense Training That Fueled Jay Ellis' Need For Speed In Top Gun: Maverick

Any movie that involves Tom Cruise is going to force his castmates to step up their game, both on and off the camera. Already known for performing his own breathtaking stunts prior to "Top Gun: Maverick," the veteran actor upped the ante for the sequel to Tony Scott's 1986 action classic by taking a full Aviation Survival Training Curriculum. On top of that, he personally designed a five-month training program for the rest of the cast. Needless to say, Cruise is a dedicated performer. That's why his action movies tend to be exhilarating.

Of course, Cruise wasn't the only actor to go above and beyond for the long-awaited sequel. "Insecure" star Jay Ellis, who plays the pilot Reuben "Payback" Fitch in "Top Gun: Maverick," underwent a serious flight training regime while preparing for the role. But what exactly did the training entail, and what was the experience like? The actor shared all of the exciting details in a recent interview, and let's just say that his journey sounded pretty intense.

Jay Ellis took to the skies while training for Top Gun: Maverick

Jay Ellis' training for "Top Gun: Maverick" saw him step into an F-18 fighter jet to learn basic maneuvers while also sitting behind an experienced pilot for the more complex forms of aviation. According to Men's Health, the actor took 45 hours of flight training while shadowing an expert by the name of Wash Job. The training involved Ellis doing barrel rolls, which caused him to turn dizzy and keep his stomach in check. Furthermore, it was difficult for him to sit in the jet due to his size. "I'm six-foot-four, 215 pounds, played college basketball," Ellis told Men's Health. "[I was excited to] use my body and be physical in a way I haven't got to be with some of my other work."

Prior to each day of shooting, Ellis and his pilot practiced their scenes in a wooden model of the cockpit. This level of preparation was imperative as they had no communication with the crew below as soon as they were in the clouds. "You're telling the pilot, 'I need the sun at six o'clock.' You're also telling the pilot where to position the plane and what maneuvers we need to fly for the film," Ellis called. "There are scenes where many of my castmates and I are truly pulling seven g's in the back of an F-18, cameras rolling, and we're acting through it."