The pilots of “Top Gun: Maverick” are ready to take flight.
Actors Danny Ramirez, Jay Ellis, and Glen Powell are on the new cover of Men’s Health magazine and inside, discuss their roles in the blockbuster sequel.
“I love being uncomfortable. There’s so much growth in there. I love exploring, and that is what acting is for me. I get to explore myself and parts of me I didn’t know existed,” Ellis says of his role as Lieutenant Reuben “Payback” Fitch in the film.
The role was also very physically demanding, as Ellis explains, “I’m six foot four, 215 pounds, played college basketball. I’m excited I can use my body and be physical in a way I haven’t got to be with some of my other work.”
On top of that, Ellis also had to work closely with his pilot, who took him up in a real fighter jet for the film’s many flying sequences.
“You’re telling the pilot, ‘I need the sun at six o’clock.’ You’re also telling the pilot where to position the plane and what manoeuvres we need to fly for the film,” he says. “There are scenes where many of my castmates and I are truly pulling seven Gs in the back of an F-18, cameras rolling, and we’re acting through it.”
As for working with star Tom Cruise, the actor said, “Tom was very clear: ‘You guys are movie stars, and you’re action stars. I can show you how I’ve done this and built this in my career.’”
Powell’s journey for his role as trainee Lieutenant Jake “Hangman” Seresin began after losing out on the role of Rooster to co-star Miles Teller.
“I felt like I really delivered, and when I didn’t get it, I was absolutely heartbroken. I got the news on July 3rd, and on July 4th, which is pretty much my favourite holiday—I’m a very patriotic dude from a very patriotic family—I was basically in the fetal position the entire day,” he recalls.
He also recalls reciting a line from the original “Top Gun” to Cruise over the phone, when he got the news he’d be a part of the film after all.
“’Tom, man, I’m feeling the need,'” Powell told Cruise. “He was like, ‘F**k yeah,’ It’s just a great moment when Tom gets excited about anything. It’s pretty hard not to be excited.”
Talking about the film’s shirtless football montage, Powell says, “In the days leading up, there was more male insecurity than you’ve ever seen on any set ever. And probably more coconut oil than even on ‘Magic Mike’.”
Ramirez recalls being in a Cessna plane piloted by Powell.
“Glen is all smiles, more smiles in a minute than you’ve had the whole week,” he says. “The next thing I know, he’s pushing the throttle forward and we’re up in the sky. It’s bigger than a trust fall. Way bigger.”
The actor also talks about the difficulties of finding his place in Hollywood when the roles have been predominantly meant for white actors.
“The auditions that were coming across my plate at that point were all ‘the pool boy’ or ‘the gangbanger.’ The things that were happening [in Hollywood] at that moment were just not inclusive of where I could fit in,” he says. “That’s why I started writing. If these roles don’t exist and I’m not trying to help create them, then all I can do is shout at the screen when no one who looks like me is on it.”