A Navy captain has spoken out about the gruelling training for Top Gun: Maverick, which he said was ‘not fun’.
Captain Brian Ferguson, 53, enjoyed a career as a Navy pilot for 28 years, having been inspired to join after seeing the original Top Gun flick more than three decades ago – even going on to attend Top Gun’s Adversary Training Course.
Now he’s come full circle after serving as the Navy’s technical advisor on the new sequel, which flew into cinemas today (Friday 27 May), more than three decades after the first movie dropped.
Speaking to the New York Post, he admitted he wasn’t initially up for the enviable role.
“It’s funny because they didn’t order me to do it, they asked me to do it. I turned it down several times,” Ferguson said, citing family and work commitments.
“I was indifferent to the job, which I think was attractive to the Navy because there was no worry that I would be taken with Hollywood.”
Ferguson’s wife eventually convinced him to go for it, although he admitted it was no walk in the park.
Actors underwent a course designed by pilot and aerial coordinator Kevin LaRosa II and Tom Cruise, which lasted months, so that they could acclimatise to the G-force and other physical effects of flying in a F-18.
Ferguson, meanwhile, coordinated a Navy survival course, which saw the cast dragged through water, dunked upside down while blindfolded and forced to exit an enclosed space.
He said: “If you have to eject or an airplane goes in the water, we need to know that you can get out safely, and God forbid that happens.”
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film is set 34 years after the original and sees Tom Cruise return as Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell as he mentors a new generation of US Navy fighter pilots.
As the new flight instructor of Top Gun academy, he guides Bradley – the son of Maverick's late wingman, Goose – who wants to follow in the footsteps of his old man to become a pilot.
Ferguson added that the training was ‘very challenging, it’s intimidating and not fun’, saying: “[The cast] did great.”
The pilot had a number of jobs on set, including to ensure the Navy's values, integrity and interested were appropriately represented on screen, that flight sequences were as authentic as possible, that no equipment was damaged and that the cast and crew were safe - especially as they were using 'real airplanes'.
"It’s dynamic and technical,” Ferguson said.
He continued: “It was critical that nothing bad happened during the filming. If we somehow got too aggressive, damaged a taxpayer asset or killed somebody, then all of the things we hoped to have achieved would have been erased in a moment.”
Ferguson said the creative team used 'viable, employable real-world tactics [used] in combat', adding: "The surface-to-air scene, that’s extremely realistic.”
Watch Top Gun: Maverick in cinemas now.
Featured Image Credit: Paramount/Instagram - @fergvfc13
Topics: TV and Film