Tom Cruise Reportedly Offered Star F1 Driver Role in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

by Alex Falls

Top Gun: Maverick is, without a doubt, the biggest film of the summer. It’s now the seventh highest-grossing film ever at the domestic box office, and nearly three months since release, people still can’t get enough of the film. The film is anchored by a rock-solid cast led by the legendary Tom Cruise. But the cast almost had another big name amongst its members.

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton recently revealed he was up for a role in the successful film. Unfortunately, he was forced to pass on the role and missed the chance to star alongside Cruise.

Hamilton has made a few ventures into the world of Hollywood. He made a cameo appearance in the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander 2. He also lent his voice to Pixar’s Cars franchise. But he called landing the role in Top Gun: Maverick a “dream job.”

The racer said he’s been a fan of the original Top Gun since he was a child. As he was growing up, he dreamt of being a fighter pilot because of Top Gun and Crusie’s influence. He might have become a racer instead, but his love of the film led to him almost getting the chance to play out his pilot dreams on the big screen.

Hamilton’s Dream Role in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Hamilton revealed he and Crusie are actually friends behind the scenes. He called Cruise, “One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He invited me to his set years ago when he was doing Edge of Tomorrow and then we just built a friendship over time.”

Once Hamilton heard Cruise was coming back for Top Gun: Maverick, he hoped his friendship could pay off with a role in the film.

“So when I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to ask him.'” Hamilton remembered. “I said, ‘I don’t care what role it is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back.”‘ 

Cruise reportedly loved the idea of casting Hamilton. So much that he didn’t want to cast his friend in a background role. Cruise wanted Hamilton to play one of his fellow pilots. But as the film’s production came together, Hamilton learned Top Gun: Maverick would be filmed during the climax of the Formula One racing season.

The seven-time World Champion couldn’t risk losing practice time during his sport’s most crucial period. He wouldn’t have enough time to practice and come to set. So he was forced to contact Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski to turn the role down. He described it as “the most upsetting call I’ve ever had.”

To add insult to injury, Hamilton later learned the actors underwent months of actual flight training in preparation for their roles. With his affinity for Formula One, Hamilton would have unquestionably felt at home in the cockpit.