When you head to the theater to see Top Gun: Maverick this weekend, it should be pretty clear that most of what you’re seeing was done practically, rather than with digital effects. The cast was really flying in those jets, going through some pretty intense maneuvers–and they had to train for it.
Chances are by now, you’ve heard about the boot camp, of sorts, that star Tom Cruise put together for his castmates. Well, according to the cast of the second Top Gun film, it was an even more intense experience than you might have expected. Cruise wanted to make sure his fellow actors were ready for the experience of flying the high-caliber fighter jets seen in the movie and–if Miles Teller is to be believed–there was definitely some vomiting that happened.
“For some of the actors involved in this, regardless of what they tell you, for some people, they puked on the first day and they puked on the last day,” the actor told GameSpot. “It was never something they really kind of got too comfortable with.” He added, “Out of the six pilots, there’s three of us that never puked, never passed out.”
While he wouldn’t confirm whether he was one of those that got sick during the training and filming, he did say that there was too much to focus on during the filming to actually be scared of the death-defying maneuvers his jet was doing.
“I think when we actually were filming, I was never scared and I never was really nervous because the pilots know what they’re doing but also you’re focusing so much on things like the acting and the camera and making sure your mask didn’t fog up,” he explained. “There’s some real practical things that are taking up a lot of space in your brain. But it was just really intense, man.”
The rest of the cast played mum as well, about whether or not they got sick during the training, though Lewis Pullman does admit that if he’d known what they were going to go through before he signed on for the movie, he might have changed his tune.
“It was really smart when they approached us because they didn’t really go into great depths about what we were going to be having to do,” he said. “I think had they really laid it out, I would have been like, ‘Oh, sorry, I can’t do that.'”
Monica Barbaro, on the other hand, knew up front what was expected of the cast and was game for it. “I was only testing, it wasn’t my role yet. And he was telling me about, ‘You’re gonna go up in jets for real,'” she said. “I got goosebumps all over. I was just so excited. And then I felt horrible, because I was like, ‘What if I don’t get it and I really want it?”
The same goes for co-star Jay Ellis, who grew up in an Air Force family. He was ready to take to the skies, though there was one other problem. I was not excited about the swim test that we had to take,” he admitted.
That swim test included training with the US Olympic Open Water Swimming coach in order to pass a Naval Aviation Survival Training course, according to The Ringer. Essentially, it was done to recreate ejecting from a plane over the sea and surviving it.
“I was most nervous for that,” Barbaro said of the training. “We prepped for a couple of months to swim one day.”
Whatever the case, the cast survived the training (with an unknown level of vomiting among them) and it shows on-screen with the ludicrously entertaining stunts the jets pull off in the film. Now they just have to keep in fighter jet shape long enough to get to a second movie.
Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters Friday.