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Top Gun: Maverick's Miles Teller on how they nailed "technical" flight scenes

The actor spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com about the "bootcamp" the cast were put through by Tom Cruise.

Published: Thursday, 26th May 2022 at 9:00 am
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This week sees the release of Top Gun: Maverick in UK cinemas on the back of a wave of glowing reviews – with the film very much living up to the 36-year wait for a sequel.

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The film sees a new batch of mission pilots come under the tutelage of Tom Cruise's rather reckless but incredibly skilled navy pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, and it's been well-documented that Cruise himself put the actors through their paces with a rigorous training process for the film.

In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, star Miles Teller talked about that experience – and the challenges of acting while taking part in such daring aerial stunts.

“Well that's what [Tom] does for fun, you know," he said. "But for us, it was definitely a bootcamp, and it was necessary.

"I mean, we flew almost every day for four months leading up to filming, and I would say that we needed every single one of those flights to prepare us to get in a fighter jet and to be able to film and to be able to act like we're flying these things, because it's incredibly technical.”

Asked about the specific challenges of acting – and delivering lines – while in a plane, Teller added: "Well luckily we were able to... because the sound a lot of the time in the mask wouldn't sound that great, so you could say kind of gibberish – you just needed the movement.

"And then a lot of the time you are saying the lines, but we know at the end of the day we're going to have to ADR [automated dialogue replacement] it.

"But you realise that this, you know, right here [gestures to his eyes] – that's really all you're able to act with a lot of the time when you're in the jet. So it was a bit of a learning curve, I think, to be able to understand the medium that we're in."

Teller takes on the role of Rooster – the son of Anthony Edwards' beloved character Goose from the original – and said that while he hadn't met Edwards before playing the role, he'd love to do so in the future.

Meanwhile, he also talked about the challenges of making a legacy sequel – and how difficult it is to strike the correct balance between nostalgia and originality.

"I'm really glad that they didn't ask me to write the script," he said. "Tom said that what we're trying to accomplish with this, and how tough it is, he said we're trying to hit a bullet with a bullet. That was the analogy that he used all the time. That's how precise we need to be.

"And if you go too much one way or the other, it kind of falls apart. So yeah, I think it's all about balance. And I just think that Tom knew... I mean, he didn't need to make a sequel to this. But he felt like it was the right time and it was the right script to really satisfy audiences."

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Despite finding the training process to be a thoroughly rewarding one, Teller isn't sure quite how closely he'll be following in Cruise's footsteps as an all-out action hero in the future.

"What I think is wonderful about this business is that you get to train with the best of the best," he said. "And you really do get to kind of walk a mile in somebody else's shoes. You know, if you're playing a certain profession, you really get to spend time in that and understand it.

"So I'm open minded – but I'm not going to be, like, acting on the wing of an airplane, or holding my breath for seven minutes like Tom does. But I think it's a pretty cool part about this job."

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Top Gun: Maverick is released in cinemas on 25th May 2022. While you're waiting, visit our Movies hub for more news and features or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.
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