Tom Cruise has described his experience working with Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick as “very special.” During the film’s premiere, Cruise spoke with Entertainment Tonight‘s Nischelle Turner about what it was like to reunite with Kilmer in the sequel to the iconic 1986 film.
“I really rallied hard for him to make the movie. And the kind of talent that he has, and you see that scene, it’s very special. This is very special,” Cruise explained. Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017 and has suffered permanent vocal damage, but the 61-year-old announced in 2021 that he is cancer-free.
Despite receiving mixed critical reviews upon release, the first Top Gun has always endured as an audience favorite. The film had a production budget of $15 million yet grossed nearly $177 million worldwide. It even earned the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Today Top Gun is still referenced in popular culture, and some of the movie’s iconic lines (such as “I feel the need… the need for SPEED!”) are well known even by people who haven’t seen the original film.
Top Gun: Maverick picks up roughly 30 years after the events of the first film. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) continues to feel guilt over the death of his best friend, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, and he is reluctant to take steps to advance his career. However, he must confront his past when he is tasked with training a new generation of fighter pilots.
“This is quite a moment. It’s been 36 years for this film, and fans have been asking for it all around the world, ” said Cruise.
Top Gun: Maverick releases in theaters on May 27.