Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

The Return of “Iceman”: Val Kilmer to Appear in “Top Gun” Sequel

Studio Leaks Say Kilmer Will Join Tom Cruise in Anticipated Sequel Titled “Top Gun: Maverick”

Every Hollywood entertainment news outlet lit up on Wednesday night with the news that actor Val Kilmer would return in the highly-anticipated sequel film “Top Gun: Maverick”. Kilmer played U.S. Navy Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in the original 1986 “Top Gun” film and will return in the same role.

The return of Val Kilmer as Iceman in the new film follows a two-year battle with throat cancer for the actor. Kilmer is also known for his role as Simon Templar in the 1997 film “The Saint” and for his role as Chris Shiherlis in the cult classic 1995 bank robbery film “Heat”, directed by Michael Mann. Val Kilmer was also widely recognized for a standout performance as singer and front-man Jim Morrison in the 1991 film “The Doors”.

Kilmer leaked his presence in “Top Gun: Maverick” with a post on his FB page, that appeared shortly after Tom Cruise published the first image of the sequel on Twitter on May 30, 2018. But Kilmer’s post remained online for just a few hours before it was cancelled (for unknown reasons).

According to Hollywood insiders the new film may focus on the emergence of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) like the Navy’s X-47B and MQ-4C Triton and the end of the dogfighting era even though Tom Cruise responded “there gonna be jets” when asked about drones in a recent interview . And, as reported, the very first image about the new movie seems to suggest a major role for the USN F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Original “Top Gun” director Tony Scott told reporter Gregory Ellwood of HitFix in an October 2010 interview that, “This world fascinated me, because it’s so different from what it was originally. But I don’t want to do a remake. I don’t want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie.” Director Tony Scott committed suicide in August 2012. The new film will be directed by Joseph Kosinski. Kosinski is a relative newcomer as a director with three major films to his credit, “Tron: Legacy” from 2010, “Oblivion” from 2013 and “Only the Brave” from 2017.

In contrast to the late director Tony Scott’s 2010 remarks about the direction of any new sequel to the original film, lead actor Tom Cruise, Lt. (now Capt. based on the image published on Day 1 of production work) Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the movies, told Hollywood media that, “Aviators are back, the need for speed. We’re going to have big, fast machines. It’s going to be a competition film, like the first one…but a progression for Maverick.”

Lead actor Tom Cruise is a pilot himself, having earned a private pilot rating in 1994 and a commercial license in 1998 according to FAA records. He recently flew a helicopter (and performed a HALO jump from a UAE AF C-17) in the upcoming sequel film “Mission Impossible: Fallout” slated for U.S. release on July 27, 2018 in U.S. theatres. Cruise also clung to outside of an Airbus A400M Atlas in the 2015 film, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”. In the 2017 film “American Made” about real-life drug running CIA pilot Barry Seal, Tom Cruise actually was piloting an aircraft in all of the scenes that show him as pilot according to a 2017 article by Julia Bianco on looper.com. The film’s production was marred by a fatal crash during production that Cruise was not involved in.

The “Top Gun” sequel likely can’t come soon enough for U.S. military pilot recruiting. The frequently reported pilot shortage in all branches of the military continues to strain existing air crews. Author David Robb wrote in his 2004 book, Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies, that “After the film’s release, the US Navy stated that the number of young men who joined wanting to be Naval Aviators went up by 500 percent.”

Production for “Top Gun: Maverick” began on May 30, 2018 at NAS North Island near San Diego, California. The release date for the film, being distributed by Paramount Pictures, has been projected as July 19, 2019.

Top image: Actor Val Kilmer will return in “Top Gun: Maverick” along with Tom Cruise. (Photo: Paramount)

Top Gun’s Maverick turns 51 today. With a huge aviation experience: from F-14s to a WWII P-51 Mustang

Here below is an interesting Guest Post by film and television blogger Alex Smith. The article focus on Tom Cruise’s experience in Top Gun and the 51-year old today Maverick’s love for aviation. Enjoy!

On Jul. 3 we wish a Happy 51st Birthday to Tom Cruise, international movie star, heartthrob, and aviation enthusiast! Cruise loves flying the friendly skies: not only is he a certified pilot, but he also owns five private jets and a P-51 Mustang WWII-era fighter he keeps in perfect flying condition.

Tom Cruise has always looked toward the heavens, from his time as a teenage seminary student named Thomas Cruise Mapother IV to his real-life training flying an F-14 for the role that launched him to international stardom, fighter pilot Maverick in Top Gun, a movie that did more for naval aviation than any film since The Battle of Midway.

For Top Gun, one of the most famous movies directed by Tony Scott (that commit suicide last year), Cruise — along with Anthony “Goose” Edwards and Val “Iceman” Kilmer — received what are known as “back seat rides” in F-14s in order to get a feeling of what it really feels like taking G’s and going through mid-air maneuvers. To add even more verisimilitude to the movie’s flight scenes, many shots of the three actors in their fighters were taken while the Tomcats were actually in the air.

The cast and crew were always aware of the risks pilots face, and that helped them present a more realistic story in  Top Gun. Sadly, they were reminded once again of the dangers of aerial careers when veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed filming scenes for the movie from a vintage Pitts S-2 biplane. The 1986 movie was dedicated to this stunt aviation pioneer.

Cruise was only 24 when Top Gun was released in theaters — and enough time has passed that he would be better cast as one of the flight school instructors than as the hotshot young Navy pilot! — and saw his career take flight due to the heroic role. But his acting profile wasn’t the only thing that received a huge boost from the movie: some naval recruitment offices saw their call volume jump 500 percent over the summer that the movie came out.

Although the Navy was prohibited from recommending the movie, some Navy recruiters manned information tables outside theaters showing Top Gun, and many would-be recruits reportedly mentioned the movie as what sparked their interest about opportunities in naval aviation. One wag called Top Gun “the greatest recruiting video of all time.”

No doubt many people thought about becoming pilots after the experience of Top Gun, but none more than Mav himself, Tom Cruise. Even though that at 5’7″, he’s one inch too short to qualify for flying for the Navy, the actor made up for that by earning in pilot’s license in 1994 and collecting aviation history like the P-51 fighter that had “Kiss Me, Kate” painted on the side for his then-bride Katie Holmes, mother of their daughter, Suri.

Cruise has received some flak — not from aerial dogfights, but instead from environmental groups, who dubbed him “Emissions Impossible” after rumors leaked of his using his Gulfstream jet to pick up groceries for Katie. His camp hasn’t denied the rumor, but if you can’t have a little fun with your airplanes as you turn 51, what’s the point of being an internationally beloved film icon who knows how to fly? Or maybe annoying eco-warriors is pilot Tom Cruise’s way of staying in the “danger zone.”

Author Bio: Alex Smith is a film and television blogger for Direct2TV.com, where he writes about everything from new releases to the campy sci-fi classics of the 1970s and 80s. He has been a big fan of Top Gun since childhood, and still hopes to one day pilot an F-14. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.

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British fighter pilot will soon attend the famous Top Gun school for the first time ever

British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school.

Image Credit: Royal Navy

He was selected after an internship which included a tour on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) aircraft carrier.

His talent was spotted by the Americans while Collins was flying combat sorties, specifically ground attack missions in F-18 Super Hornet, over Afghanistan with VFA-14.

He must have proven his guts, because soon after the U.S. Navy offered him the opportunity to be involved in the Top Gun, which is officialy known as United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course.

It is even more astounding, taking into account Collins’ age: he’s only 26.

The Top Gun training programme is known all around the world mainly thanks to Tom Cruise acting as Maverick, an elite F-14 Tomcat pilot in the Top Gun movie.

Stephen Collins is by no means entering the Top Gun School by accident. His father was a pilot during the Falklands War, later on he moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. We might suppose that Stephen has talent in his genes.

For the last five years he has flown in the US Navy, being a partaker of an exchange programme the purpose of which is to allow the British aviators get used to aircraft carriers operating conditions.

Even Collins himself emphasised that element:

The U.S. and the Royal Navy have worked together very closely on the Joint Strike Fighter program. The ultimate aim is for us to get some experience flying a jet with very similar capabilities to that one. It’s a good trade, the U.S. gets a pilot out of it and the Royal Navy gets the experience.

Here’s a BBC interview with mr. Collins, where he elaborates on how his training looked in practice and how he ended up in Top Gun Fighter School.

As he says, the California weather is definitely better than in the UK:

Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist

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As we wait for the sequel featuring the F-35, let's celebrate Top Gun Day with a funny video

Top Gun was released on May 12, 1986 (at least in NYC).

It’s by far the most famous (and in my honest opinion, still one of the best) Hollywood movie about military aviation ever reaching theaters, directed by Tony Scott starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards.

According to the creators of the dedicated-website, Top Gun Day, established on May 13, 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the action drama film, is:

like talk like a pirate day, only way cooler because it allows you to quote Top Gun all day long, wear aviator sunglasses (no matter how cheap), pretend you’re a fighter pilot (“it’s time to buzz the fridge”), play volleyball in jeans, and drink Hemlock–wait, wait–I mean ICE water.  Participating in Top Gun Day is so easy even Slider can do it (read the next post title, “How do I Participate?”).

A Top Gun Day is also made of thousands tweets with the #topgunday hashtag (usually with the most famous quotes of the movie) as well as special avatars and pictures.

The Aviationist’s way to celebrate the Top Gun Day is by sharing this funny alternative ending. It was uploaded to Youtube in 2011 but I hadn’t seen it until today.

As you probably know by now, Top Gun 2 is in the works. Tom Cruise was initially thought to be a drone pilot. However, in March 2012, Tom Burbage, Executive VP of Lockheed Martin and General Manager of F-35 Program Integration, unveiled that the F-35 will be used in the movie, with Maverick being a test pilot.

The F-14 was an extremely fascinating machine and the perfect symbol of naval aviation. Let’s hope the F-35 fits the role as well.

Provided that they will be able to fix the aircraft’s tailhook system after the F-35 Carrier Variant’s embarrassing series of failed tests.

Highway to the danger zone!