Tom actually didn’t wish to make one other Prime Gun and [director Tony Scott’s suicide] made it even much less probably. I’m certain for him, that’s in all probability another excuse why he wouldn’t ever contemplate going again. However I pitched the concept of this story being a reconciliation between him and Rooster set in opposition to this mission that may take Rooster into this very harmful scenario, that they’d find yourself collectively throughout enemy strains, having to resolve their variations and work collectively to get again dwelling. As quickly as I pitched that concept, I might simply see the wheels in Tom’s head begin to flip and hastily, he had a really emotional purpose, a hook again into this character, and a purpose to come back again, as a result of I feel in his thoughts it was like a one in 1,000,000 shot that we might be capable of get it proper. He stored saying, “Joe, we acquired to hit a bullet with a bullet.” And that was his line on this film. And so, I actually heard that in my head day-after-day as we have been making the movie. I feel everybody who labored on this movie felt just like the bar was very excessive as a result of all of us have been followers of the unique.
Val Kilmer was the one who got here up with the concept to make Iceman unwell. I’ll always remember the shoot day with him and Tom. That scene with these two guys, two actors at their best possible pulling off a scene like that, their first time collectively on digital camera since 1986. The friendship between the 2, the mutual respect between the 2 of them as actual folks very a lot mirrors the characters. So, I feel that’s why that scene lands so nicely. After we have been placing the movie collectively, all of us wished Val to be part of it, however we simply didn’t know what was attainable. So, we had Val are available and mentioned to him, “We’d like to have you ever on this movie.” It was his thought to make it really feel as genuine as attainable. As soon as he had that concept, it opened up that complete storyline and simply allowed us to inform this story in a greater approach. I used to be blown away when he provided that up. The scene was intense and really emotional, however when the digital camera wasn’t operating, listening to him and Tom speak concerning the hijinks of creating the primary movie and the way a lot enjoyable that they had and the methods they have been pulling on one another, and simply the craziness of that point and that period, was actually enjoyable to pay attention to. You actually felt that connective tissue to the previous.
It was a really, very tough world to dwell in and shoot a film in. I spent two weeks on an plane provider, and that was robust. And the truth that these folks try this for six months or 9 months with out seeing their households, I used to be simply actually blown away by their sacrifice and what they offer up to try this job for us. So, I feel all of us on the crew walked away with much more respect for all of the women and men on the market. And that’s another excuse we wished this movie to symbolize them in the easiest way attainable. As a result of they labored so laborious to assist us seize all that. Each flight was flown by actual Navy personnel. Each time you see Phoenix flying within the movie, she’s being flown by a feminine aviator. The Navy has very completely different personnel than it did in 1986. The film Prime Gun: Maverick represents the Navy of right this moment versus the Navy of 1986. And that’s how far it’s come and the way completely different it’s now than then. So, it was good that our movie was in a position to symbolize that in a extremely genuine approach.
Tom was leaping off the roof of his home as a child. He’s simply at all times been that approach. So, for him, he loves [stunts]. He’s at all times very well-trained and is working with the very best folks. To an outsider, it does look insane. However I feel for him; he’d wish to be doing nothing else. It’s his dream. He’s residing his dream day-after-day on a film set doing these items. So, for him to do it’s one factor. However on this movie, I had all the opposite actors [flying for real] too. All of them wished to do it to show they may do it, and to ship one thing actually particular. As a result of as soon as we noticed the footage they have been getting, it was simple. As quickly as they landed, we’d put the chips from the cameras into the monitor and we’d sit and watch it, and everybody would cheer while you noticed these nice moments. The opposite factor is, I knew they have been within the arms of really the very best aviators on this planet. I imply, while you noticed how skilled these Navy pilots have been, it does look extremely harmful and thrilling and thrilling. However that’s what these folks do day-after-day.
You’re pulling 6, 7, 7.5 Gs within the jet, and that’s extremely draining. The actors have been worn out. Some days, we might have the actors fly within the morning and the afternoon and that’s when folks would get sick. Individuals can be simply exhausted. It was actually, actually tough. Even for the actual pilots themselves, that’s numerous work. In the future the climate was so lovely, Tom got here as much as me and mentioned, “I feel I ought to go thrice right this moment.” He’s like, “Joe, while you see this footage, you’re going to be blown away.” So, Tom went up and shot his third act sequence, which is the massive bombing run. He got here again, and it was the final debrief of the day. I feel all the opposite pilots had gone again to their trailers, and Tom got here in and he collapsed in a chair, and he had his black Ray-Bans on. I mentioned, “Tom, how’d you do?” And he mentioned, “We crushed it.” It was very Maverick/Tom Cruise. Is there a distinction?
I had an enormous love of aviation rising up. I used to be constructing mannequin airplanes, actually advanced radio-controlled airplanes and flying them round. The very first thing I did after getting this job was, I flew out to the Teddy Roosevelt plane provider. I jumped on a Greyhound, which isn’t the quick jet, however I did get to fly on the market and catch the cable, after which I acquired the catapult launch off the jet. Whenever you’re directing the movie, you type of get to grow to be a ‘subject material professional’, which is the Navy time period—the SME—on any topic you need. So, I acquired to dwell that dream of being within the Navy for a pair years. I acquired to go to locations that civilians don’t get to go to. I acquired to see issues that no civilian would get to see. I had my digital camera confiscated at one level. Cleaned. I took some photos and perhaps captured one thing I wasn’t imagined to seize, and my digital camera was shortly returned to me with none pictures on it. I acquired to go to China Lake and shoot in a hangar that’s prime secret. And it was all on this quest for authenticity. And I feel you are feeling it while you see it, since you don’t really feel such as you’re in a Hollywood-designed setting. There’s a actuality to it. We collaborated with the precise engineers who make the actual secret plane. It was only a dream come true.
Movies from the ’80s are ones that folks maintain going again to due to that robust story basis. Prime Gun is a type of films I bear in mind seeing within the theater, together with Raiders of the Misplaced Ark and Again to the Future. I feel that period was story-driven—actually, there have been visible results, however not on the degree you will have now—as a result of the story needed to carry the movie and visible results might add slightly particular sauce on prime. I feel even Star Wars, which you consider as an enormous results movie, had one thing like 400 photographs in it, in comparison with films now which have 2,500 or 3,000 results photographs. So, they needed to have a basically robust story to attract you in. I remembered that have of seeing Prime Gun as an 11-year-old child. So, when Jerry Bruckheimer despatched me an early draft of Maverick, I had all these recollections, recollections and emotions of what that film felt like.