A few years ago, director Joseph Kosinski had just half an hour to pitch a film idea to one of the most iconic people in Hollywood. And, apparently, the director’s skills are top-notch because his pitch worked, and, movie-goers all over the country are grateful for these skills. Because without them, we never would have been able to see the latest Tom Cruise film – the long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick.
When Joseph Kosinski initially met with Tom Cruise with his idea for the Top Gun: Maverick script, he had no idea how complicated the pitch would become. However, as soon as he sat down with the iconic movie star, Kosinski learned that Tom Cruise had no plans to help create a sequel to the hit 1986 film. The reason, the director notes, is that he didn’t want to see a Top Gun 2. However, once Cruise heard the pitch for Maverick, he began to reconsider this position since this idea stood on its own, outside of its original Top Gun counterpart.
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When longtime director Joseph Kosinski first read the script for Top Gun: Maverick, he knew that he had a winner. After all, the original 1986 blockbuster film, Top Gun has become a Hollywood classic. However, he didn’t realize his first roadblock to turning the film into a reality would come as he set out to pitch the film directly to its star: Tom Cruise.
“So I read the script, I had some ideas, and Jerry [Bruckheimer] liked those ideas,” the filmmaker recalls. “He said, ‘You know what, you gotta go pitch this to Tom directly.'” So, Kosinski explains, he takes off to Paris where Tom Cruise was located while shooting one of the Mission: Impossible franchise films.
“We got about a half-hour of his time between setups,” the director relates. However, he hadn’t realized yet how big of a challenge this would be as he soon learns that Cruise held no interest in making another Top Gun film.
“I basically had 30 minutes to pitch this film, which I didn’t realize when we were flying over,” Kosinski remembers. “But when I got there, I found that Tom really didn’t want to make another Top Gun.”
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Kosinski recalls pitching the idea for Top Gun: Maverick to the film’s star. And, he was on a time limit while he spoke.
“It’s one of those moments as a director, you have one on every film, where you’re on the spot to make a case for why this movie should be made,” the Top Gun: Maverick director remembers. “I had 30 minutes to do it.”
Once Kosinski revealed to the star that Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t necessarily a followup to the 1986 hit and that, instead, the proposed film would follow its own storyline Tom Cruise was in. Just a few minutes into the meeting, the director recalls, the Risky Business star picks up the phone to discuss the movie with the head of Paramount Pictures.
Kosinski remembers this big move as being “pretty impressive.” Noting Tom Cruise brought “the power of a real movie star in that moment.”