The Top Gun: Maverick Cast All Busted Their Bums To Prepare For That Shirtless Beach Scene, Except For Tom Cruise

Film News

Minor spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick can be found in this piece. As if you didn’t know there’d be a beach scene though. 

Top Gun: Maverick has earned massive hit status, thanks to a killer Memorial Day weekend at the box office. The Tom Cruise legacy-quel delivered the actor his best opening weekend ever, breaking other milestone records for the holiday in the process. Part of that success came from the hard work put in by Maverick’s cast, especially for the film’s memorable shirtless beach scene. Cruise, on the other hand, apparently didn’t have to break a sweat outside of that sunny California shoot. 

Speaking with the cast of Top Gun: Maverick, USA Today (opens in new tab) gained further insight into the “dogfight football” scene in the huge movie, which operates as huge callback to volleyball’s role in the 1986 original (currently available to Paramount+ subscribers). It also further cements the story in the movie and most of the cast spent a huge amount of time prepping, even “eating grass” as Coyote actor Greg Davis put it (more later).

Not Cruise, though, apparently the actor was able to, ahem, cruise through the scene, telling the outlet he didn’t do anything outside the norm, noting, 

I just did it.

This is Tom Cruise we’re talking about here. When has the man ever not been in peak shape? That’s probably what inspired Maverick cast members like Glen Powell (call sign “Hangman”) and co. to work extra hard at any given moment. While he and his fellow actors may not have understood the rules  to the game itself, that didn’t stop them from playing like champs. That intimidation was very much present on set, as evidenced by Powell’s remarks below: 

There was a lot of male insecurity, guys were eating protein paste. Everybody had resistance bands and weights on the beach, trying to get one last pump before we played football.

Looking at Tom Cruise’s figure and form during dogfight football, working with the Top Gun star certainly had its intense side. Stories of Cruise’s tough boot camp experience made that pretty clear to begin with, with even further testimonials digging into how the Mission: Impossible star is a very “go-go-go” personality. Seeing as he was seemingly in tip-top shape before making Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise probably just needed to maintain on that highway back to the Danger Zone. 

Meanwhile, actors like Greg ‘Tarzan’ Davis (call sign “Coyote”) were panicking about keeping themselves at the height of their shape. It’s not every day you get the call to soar among the clouds with Maverick himself, and dogfight football must have seemed like the cherry on the top of the experience. Davis shared his viewpoint on the madness, and the resulting euphoria that came with it, as follows: 

Each of us went crazy. We’d all seen the original ‘Top Gun’ scene. I was eating more grass than a bunny rabbit, and protein bars. I was in peak form. It was like, ‘Oh, yes.’

The hard work and rabbit food paid off beautifully, doubly so after Top Gun: Maverick’s aviators lobbied to keep the football scene shirtless after director Joseph Kosinski tried to make it shirts vs. skins. One could even argue this moment was just as important as the actual dogfights filmed with  F/18s, as both are examples of how practical approaches led to what could be another landmark in Top Gun history.

Audiences can marvel at the amazing physiques of Tom Cruise and his Top Gun: Maverick cast, as the film is currently playing in theaters. For other upcoming movies heading into the world throughout 2022, the full rundown of films to come is available with great ease.

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