[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick.] 

Top Gun: Maverick aerial coordinator Kevin LaRosa let loose such a loud yell when he received the cellphone name providing him the legacy sequel, he scared his household.

Originally employed to be the movie’s digital camera pilot, the veteran aerial cinematographer shortly impressed the producers, who in flip promoted him to the coordinator function, which included main briefs earlier than footage flights.

Having labored on a number of Marvel movies in assorted aerial manufacturing roles, LaRosa isn’t any stranger to huge-price range tentpoles. And but, the Top Gun: Maverick expertise was one way or the other extra magnificent than any of these epics. Why? Two phrases: Tom Cruise.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, LaRosa talked about what went into the intense coaching for the solid and defined why it was very important. LaRosa additionally shared his favourite Cruise reminiscence and made clear why there was zero probability Top Gun: Maverick would land wherever however film theaters.

How did you grow to be concerned with the movie?

I received a cellphone name from the government producer saying, “We’re finally doing this thing. And you are one of the best camera jet pilots in the world. And we want you to do camera jet flying on Top Gun: Maverick.” We had a pleasant little speak and, after I hung up the cellphone, I’m fairly certain I yelled at the prime of my lungs in the yard with pleasure. It undoubtedly startled my household. My function developed. I began as the digital camera jet pilot and as the producers noticed my expertise, they expanded on my function, and I turned the aerial coordinator for the whole film.

Kevin LaRosa at the San Diego Top Gun: Maverick premiere.
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

How do you clarify your job to of us who don’t know something about the movie business? 

My job is to supervise the plan and assist facilitate all of the aerial cinematography all through the film. Things like the security of the flights and the logistics of working hand-in-hand with the United States Navy for the knowledge belongings. My job was to guide the briefs for them to go fly the F-18s. My job was to additionally lead the debriefs after we had been watching our footage with Tom [Cruise] and Joseph [Kosinski] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] and our artistic staff. I helped prepare the actors on how you can fly and took them by this coaching program that we designed by Tom.

Safe to imagine the job was much more intense, given this was a serious Tom Cruise legacy endeavor? 

Absolutely! Vastly totally different from any mission I’d ever been on earlier than! Tom Cruise gave us a really motivational speech that I feel set the bar for the whole solid and crew, permitting us to dive into this mission very centered on what our main mission was. In this speech, he stated, “We’re making a sequel to a very iconic and historic film, and we couldn’t make this film until there was a story to be told. And we couldn’t make this film until there was technology available to help us tell this incredible story. And here we are: The story is incredible, and now we have this technology. Our primary mission is to reach a level of excellence in cinematography that had never been seen on the big screen. We want to obtain a level of perfection that has not been seen before.” That speech resonated deeply with myself and the whole crew, and I feel it actually set the tempo for the whole group.

Why was it instrumental that the actors had been in the jets, and how would you clarify the g-pressure they skilled? 

[Director] Joseph Kosinski and Tom Cruise knew that this footage and the performances needed to be sensible, needed to be actual. There’s no method to act and present that sort of distortion in a single’s face if you’re not feeling [g-force]. So all of the solid flew in these aircrafts. Most individuals will know the feeling of g-pressure from a curler coaster — after we really feel our physique being pressed into the seat. You’re feeling some g’s, however nowhere close to to the extent the solid felt in an F-18. You is likely to be feeling two g’s, however if you had been in these F-18s, they had been pulling as much as 7.5 g’s. That’s one thing like 1,700 kilos of pressure on your shoulders and your head in your chest. And it’s attempting to empty all of the blood out of your higher physique, and you’ve got to combat to maintain that blood in your higher physique, otherwise you merely fall asleep. You have to coach your physique to have the ability to stand up to these deep forces, and you need to perceive the physiological results of what they’re doing and how you can overcome them.

Fair to say Tom was extra hardcore than anybody about each second wanting actual, as a result of each second was actual? 

It’s not solely truthful to say — it’s the reality. Nobody did something that Tom hadn’t already tried. He does that as a result of one of his finest qualities is that of instructing and serving to others, giving tricks to higher perceive aviation and the physiological results to assist excellent the efficiency. Tom is the hardest on himself, not solely as a result of he needs excellence, however he helps others round him variety of obtain that standing, together with myself. He’s extraordinarily motivating. When I work with him, I get this heavy degree of motivation to attempt to obtain the identical degree of excellence.

Everyone I’ve talked to concerned in the mission has a favourite Tom second. Mind sharing yours? 

The one which resonates with me most is a day early in manufacturing when Tom was first going out in the F-18 to begin performing some of his cockpit footage. We had simply completed a two-hour mission transient. And outcomes Tom, and as he’s strolling out in direction of me, I received prompt chills. He regarded completely unimaginable, and watching him stroll up the ladder on the facet of the jet and get in was a second that I’ll always remember. I felt prefer it was historical past in the making. We may undoubtedly really feel the gravity of what we had been doing.

Of all the phenomenal aerial moments, which was your favourite to shoot? 

When we received to the last sequence of the film, it was some of the most energetic and dynamic flying that we had completed. And I feel that performs on the huge display if you watch the last sequence. The vitality that you just’re seeing in the last sequence was completely what we had been feeling after we had been on the market. When I used to be flying, it was very visceral, it was very surreal. What we had been doing in these F-18s was in all probability the pinnacle of my profession. It is a few of the wildest and most lovely aerial cinematography that I’ve ever seen. So the last sequence is basically my favourite half of the film.

It is crystal clear to audiences now that this movie needed to be skilled in the theater. Was there ever any doubt that may occur, given the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic? 

There was no approach that was going to occur. It’s so essential that this can be a theatrical expertise. When you’re sitting in a movie show, watching it on this huge display, and you’ll be able to really feel the sound in your chest when a Hornet and F-18 tremendous Hornet is beginning up — that’s the expertise of this film. It’s the solely approach you’re going to get that visceral thrill trip, and that’s what individuals deserve once they watch this film as a result of that’s what it’s constructed for.

Interview edited for size and readability.

Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters now.