‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Jon Hamm Explains His Character’s Similarities to Tom Skeritt’s Viper in the Original

by Craig Garrett

Jon Hamm is a fan of Top Gun and saw parallels between his Top Gun: Maverick character and an antagonist from the original film. Hamm, along with co-stars like Tom Cruise and Miles Teller, is enjoying huge success with Top Gun: Maverick. In Maverick, Jon Hamm plays Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson. He’s one of the main heavies of the film, as his character believes Tom Cruise’s Maverick has no business instructing at the TOPGUN program. However, Hamm found the integrity of his character intriguing and likened him to Tom Skeritt’s Viper. It helped the Mad Men actor avoid playing just a one-note villain.

“No, honestly, because there’s also a second level to it in my character,” Hamm recently told Rolling Stone. “There is what becomes of begrudging respect. Part of it was in Tom Skerritt’s character in the first one, where you’d see, like, “OK, this guy, he’s got a job to do. He’s got to train these guys. And he can see a lot of himself in Maverick.” Jon Hamm appreciated the organic nature of the screenplay, adding, “And it’s all baked into the script in that way. So, Cyclone does eventually come around and kind of get that “OK, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell’s skillset is a pretty unique one, and it’s something to be valued, for sure.”

Jon Hamm has been a huge Top Gun fan since age 15

Jon Hamm was the ideal demographic when the original Top Gun came out in 1986. He recalls watching the film constantly as a teenager. “I did multiple viewings. And that also coincided with the golden age of home video, as well,” He continued. “So the copy of it at the local video store was pretty worn out, too. It was a very big, important movie for kids my age at that time.”

The Town star even weighed in on the epic rivalry between Val Kilmer’s Iceman and Tom Cruise’s Maverick. Which camp does Jon Hamm fall in? “Obviously, Tom Cruise is who you want to be. You want to be Maverick. You don’t want to be Iceman.” Still, Hamm appreciates what Val Kilmer brought to the role of Iceman. “He’s a genuinely believable kind of heel, even though he’s playing kind of both sides of the equation. It’s a really great performance that he brings to it as well.”

More popular than ever, Jon Hamm has a full slate ahead. He’s been cast as the lead in the upcoming season of the FX series Fargo. In a comedic turn for Hamm, he’ll be filling the shoes of Chevy Chase as Fletch. Confess, Fletch is in post-production and due for release soon. Top Gun: Maverick is currently in theaters worldwide.