33 things I learned from Danger Zone, the making of Top Gun

Top Gun

1.) Top Gun, the movie, was based on an article called “Top Guns” discovered by Producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
2.) Jeffrey Katzenberg originally approved the writing of the movie for the studio.
3.) The writers signed on mainly so they could have a chance to fly in a jet fighter plane.
4.) The writers visited the actual Top Gun school and discovered Naval pilots have ‘their own language’.
5.) RIO = Radar Intercept Officer
6.) The writers approached the film as a sports movie, so a trophy was added for the pilots to win. There is no actual trophy in the real school.
7.) The locker room and volleyball scenes were added in so Tom Cruise, paid $1mil for the movie, would show ‘some skin’.
8.) The script was originally titled “Top Guns” after the article.
9.) The accident when Goose dies was supposed to be a collision – but the Navy didn’t want that.
10.) The jetwash incident actual happened to the technical adviser’s friend. In the event of a flat spin, the RIO actually needs to wait before ejecting himself for the canopy to clear the low pressure zone. This is why Goose dies.
11.) Paramount originally didn’t like the movie. Executives wanted the movie to be more about learning how to fly the plane.
12.) Don Simpson actually begged Eisner and Katzenberg not to change the script.
13.) The movie was shelved until new management was brought into Paramount.
14.) Bruckheimer got a greenlight with a budget projecting of $14mil.
15.) Tony Scott was offered Top Gun because he had done a Saab commercial featuring a jet.
16.) The music inspired Tony Scott to go for a more “Rock n Roll in the sky” feel.
17.) The writer, Jack Epps, actually suggest Tom Cruise be cast — and wrote the script with him in mind.
18.) Tom Cruise, with a pony tail, took at test ride in a Blue Angels plane to get convinced to take the role.
19.) Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise had the same agent, and that’s how he heard of the movie.
20.) Tony Scott had to chase Val Kilmer down after the audition to get him to take the role of Ice Man.
21.) Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise did not talk to each other much off camera. Kilmer says it was to prime them both for the subtext tension and conflict between their characters.
22.) Ice Man’s coughed “bull shit”, when Maverick is explaining his maneuver, was not in the script.
23.) Michael Ironsides was unsure about his ability to pull off playing an officer, until a real Navy pilot mistook for one while on location.
24.) “Mom and Pop in Oklahoma” was an expression used for the everyday person who wouldn’t care if things weren’t detailed 100% to actual Navy specifications.
25.) The carrier scenes were shot on a real aircraft carrier, The U.S.S. Enterprise, while in service. 6,000 crewman were on board during the shooting.
26.) The real crew had been out to sea for 180 days.
27.) Director Tony Scott wrote a personal check of $25,000 so he could get the carrier’s course to change for 5 minutes to get the right lighting angle from the sun for one shot.
28.) ACM = Air Combat Maneuvering
29.) Most of the shots of the Navy planes in the sky were taken from a camera on board a Leer jet.
30.) The control tower fly by was real, and while many Navy pilots always wanted to do it, they had to draw straws to see who would get to do it.
31.) Anthony Edwards was the only actor not to get sick during the flight scenes.
32. Tony Scott’s commercial experience paid off when flipping the camera 360 degrees to capture some of the flying sequences.
33.) The film is dedicated to Art Sholl, an acclaimed stunt flier, who actually died shooting one of the flat spin sequences. Neither his plane nor his body were ever recovered.

For more Top Gun trivia, visit IMDB.
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