Ahead of Top Gun: Maverick’s cinema release, we chatted to some of the cast about the long-awaited sequel. Danny Ramirez, Jay Ellis and Greg Tarzan Davis talk us through their experiences filming the sequel.
Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez and Greg Tarzan Davis are having the time of their lives right now. The trio play Top Gun pilots in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise, Miles Teller and Jon Hamm and they sat down with us to tell us how they learned to puke and rally and how many different kinds of oils were involved in the new, already-iconic beach scene.
Congratulations, the film was incredible. But I’ve got a question.
Greg Tarzan Davis: We got answers!
Which was more intimidating, meeting Tom Cruise for the first time or getting in the cockpit?
Danny Ramirez: I think getting in the cockpit. Tom is, he’s so welcoming. And it’s also after a certain point, after you pass the That’s Tom Cruise -phase, he’s so genuine and kind. And he understands his presence, so he brought us in really quickly. Whereas an F-18 cockpit at that point, you sit down, they take out a pin and they’re like, by the way your seat’s active, you pull that thing, you’re shooting up in the air. So there’s no room for error. I remember sitting there, pretty tense with like, if I just held on it and sneezed by accident, I’d be shooting out of there.
Jay Ellis: It’s also a natural thing because you want to like, suddenly want to like put your hands down to lose yourself and lift up.
Greg: But then the stick is right there too. So it’s like if you accidentally hit it or pull, I don’t know…
Jay: I will say though, the first time we met Tom was at the table read for the movie. We were over at the production offices and Tom pulls up on a motorcycle, got his helmet on. These double doors open. Tom rips off his helmet and I swear, just floats. He just reaches back and the helmet disappears. He walks in the room. His hair is absolutely perfect. It’s like a beautiful, beautiful California sky behind them, orange sky. And he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m Tom. Nice to meet you.’ And everyone’s like…
Danny: He walked right into a handshake.
Jay: Didn’t break a stride. It was the most amazing thing. And I think at that point, we were all like, yeah, we definitely know you’re Tom Cruise.
Danny: And at that same table read, we were sitting on that same row, right? And then he was just across. He had to get like a Top Gun script, but seeing it right there with your name on a little nametag and then looking up. You’re like what? It was nuts.
Oh, I bet it was. And also I’ve got to ask about that beach scene. But how much baby oil is too much baby oil?
Greg: There’s never enough!
Danny: At the end of the scene, we try to say goodbye and hug each other. We just slipped out.
Jay: There was a lot of oil. There was avocado oil, baby oil, canola oil, vegetable oil. I mean, it was a lot of oils.
It was a whole meal!
Greg: Was it worth it though?
I think it works! I’m just a bit worried that you could have gone up in flames
Greg: It was a good thing it was on a beach near the water.
Top Gun. I’m born in the early 90s, but still Top Gun is such a rite of passage. Was it for you guys? Had you seen it?
Greg: Yeah, definitely seen it. So when I was younger, with the bang, bang explosions, the guns, shoot them up, chase scenes and then be able to see it…
Danny: Sorry, that’s a bit from the previous interview, I could see the confusion on your face!
We’ll just roll with it!
Greg: No, no, other action films and then to see this action film take place in the sky. But that was really, really cool to see that it’s done. And I would have never thought that I would have the chance of being in an F-18 and here we are, so many years later, and I am a pilot, all of us are pilots, which was pretty cool.
What, you got your licence?
Greg: Oh, no, in the film.
Jay: No. But since, a lot of people have gone back and worked on it. I’m a few hours short of mine. Danny wants to get his.
Danny: I’ve got to do my ground school. And then yeah, I’ll do it.
Was there anything that ever went wrong when you were up in the air? I assume no one did shoot up in the sky.
Danny: I think what could have been technically wrong is sometimes not keeping our breakfast down. This is a great skill I learned which is puking and rallying. In college, I would never be able to rally. So like if I ever got sick, you couldn’t find me until the next day or the day after that. But here, we had two hours to get what we had to get, the footage. So it was like if you felt sick, you had to persevere. You had to clean yourself up. You had to make sure your makeup was right. You had to make sure that everything was still in place. And then you had to continue forward with the mission. So it was one of those things that I never thought would be possible.
Jay: Life long lessons.
Danny: And I think I honestly have maybe put those to use
Yeah, I believe the Brits call it a strategic chunder.
Danny: Yeah, but it gives you second legs and I was just never able to do it. But now I can.
Jay: We had a few people who had strategic chunders while in flight. I did not have that issue. I peed every flight, which was an entirely different thing to even try to figure out. Usually about three or four minutes into a flight I would have to go and I would not drink water for like sometimes 12 hours the day before, I would stop drinking water like 12 hours the day before a flight. So I was thinking that I would dehydrate myself and not have to go and literally, every single time I got in the plane, I had to go
Danny: Was it nerves?
Jay: I think it was my nervous reaction. I really don’t get nervous. It’s not my thing.
Top Gun: Maverick is exclusively in cinemas May 25, in 4DX and IMAX