‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Shot 800 Hours Of Footage, As Much As Three ‘Lord of the Rings’ Movies

Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 action movie Top Gun, has shot 800 hours of footage during the film’s production. Its director, Joseph Kosinski, told Empire that he figures the team shot as much footage as Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy movies combined.

“Out of a 12- or 14-hour day, you might get 30 seconds of good footage,” the filmmaker explains why they needed so much footage for Top Gun: Maverick. “But it was so hard-earned. It just took a very long time to get it all. Months and months of aerial shooting. We shot as much footage as the three Lord Of The Rings movies combined. I think it was 800 hours of footage.”

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Besides the external plane footage, the other challenge was the in-cockpit scenes. The actors needed to know how to operate the camera equipment themselves since the cockpit cannot fit a crew on board as well.

“We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” star and producer Tom Cruise says. “I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”

Tom Cruise will be reprising his role as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. Joining him are Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis and Danny Ramirez. Val Kilmer also returns as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, this time as Mitchell’s wingman.

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in Top Gun

Top Gun: Maverick flies into theatres on 26 May in Singapore (27 May in the US).

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