SAN DIEGO — It’s a movie premiere a long-time coming.
Not only have we waited 36 years since the last “Top Gun” film but three years since the trailer came out. But this month, “Top Gun: Maverick” is being released.
FOX 5 anchor Andrew Luria got a sneak peek of the film over the weekend and talked with the stars about the history, the anticipation and the follow-up to one of the most iconic San Diego movies ever made.
There might not be a movie that is more San Diego than “Top Gun.”
“I can’t imagine shooting this anywhere else,” director Joe Kosinski said. “It just feels like San Diego is ‘Top Gun.'”
But there certainly has not been a movie with as much anticipation as “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster that helped put Tom Cruise, Miramar and some now-iconic San Diego spots on the map.
“They’ll recognize a lot of the locations for sure, but we shot predominately on North Island naval base — on Coronado — and as a base, it’s a pretty impressive place,” actor Jon Hamm said. “There’s beaches; it’s a nice piece of property. Good job, Uncle Sam, way to go!”
No movie has ever had a three-year gap between trailer release and movie release, but COVID and other factors pushed back a mid-2019 release four times in all. The premiere is now set for Memorial Day weekend.
“The delay only served to titillate me to wait to see what this reaction was ’cause I knew it was going to be good,” Charles Parnell said. “And also I wasn’t worried about the delay because of the aerial scenes. They will never be done again. They’ve never been done before. It needs to be seen on a really big screen. And so I knew it would be fine whenever the date was. It’s like a great bottle of wine.”
No matter how it got here, it’s here. And the new technology that’s developed — both in the fighter jets and in the filmmaking process — make “Top Gun: Maverick” worth the generational gap between films.
“‘Top Gun’ is something that we all cared about and wanted to do another one, but it was such an iconic movie,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said. “You have to do something really good if you’re going to follow up ‘Top Gun.'”
It’s a story that puts Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell back in the Top Gun program, this time as an instructor for a very 21st-century mission, using very 21st-century technology. But he’s not just on the ground — he’s right up there in the sky with the rest of the best pilots in the world, in a movie full of incredible shots that were very-much real and very-much trained for.
“‘Top Gun’ is one of the reasons I became an actor. Tom Cruise is my hero,” actor Glenn Powell said. “People are obsessed with the original ‘Top Gun.’ To recreate that, Tom always said it’s hitting a bullet with a bullet. The target is impossible, and the chances that we were going to pull it off is small, so we all had to come together and focus to pull this thing off. And when you see the movie, there’s nothing like it.”
The movie stars some huge names: not only Tom Cruise, but Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer, featuring music from Kenny Loggins himself to boot. They’re all going to be here — in town — for Wednesday’s premiere and red carpet event on the deck of the USS Midway.
It’s a movie that, in part, defined a generation, highlighted by quotable lines and iconic moments that’s also, in part, identified must-visit spots in San Diego, like the Graves House in Oceanside, where Cruise visited Kelly McGillis in the first movie. The home was recently moved down the block, and is now a dessert bar across from the pier. There’s also Kansas City Barbeque that still, three and a half decades later, hasn’t lost that lovin’ feeling.
“‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,’ that’s on the juke box,” said Mike Hill, manager at the barbeque restaurant on Harbor Drive. “‘Danger Zone’ and ‘Take My Breath Away.’ There’s probably five or six songs that we hear every day and tourists want to hear it, so we keep playing it.”
The movie is available for everyone to see in theaters on May 27.