Top Gun: Maverick is finally here, just 36 short years after Tom Cruise first took viewers to the danger zone in 1986’s Top Gun. With an entire generation or two having come of age between the first movie and this one, Maverick functions both as a sequel and as a soft reboot, meaning several key moments get remixed and reiterated here.
The most obvious example? Top Gun: Maverick pays homage to the infamous beach volleyball scene of the original (set to ‘Playing With the Boys’ by Kenny Loggins) with a shirtless touch football sequence, with new stars Jay Ellis, Glen Powell, and Danny Ramirez filling in for Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.
But one actor was relieved to not have to be a part of the thirst-provoking, borderline homoerotic moment: Jon Hamm, who plays Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson.
“I was very, very happy to leave the shirtless parts to the younger generation,” Hamm told Esquire in a recent interview, adding that he was also glad to not have to go through the physically arduous pilot training that the other actors did.
Hamm went on to share his thoughts about the differing sensibilities of the two movies; while still set in the same military world, he plays a more restrained, realistic kind of stuffed shirt than a yelling-in-your-face drill sergeant, for instance. And sure, this is still an unabashedly action-heavy popcorn movie about trigger-happy flyboys, but he thinks there is more emotional range than in the original.
“The world is growing up… I think we’re seeing a much less macho iteration of [masculinity] in this film,” Hamm continued. “There’s female aviators. Jennifer Connelly’s character has agency and has her own thing going on, and she calls Maverick out on a lot of stuff… I think there’s a lot more nuance to it. Because we live in a more nuanced age – I mean, it’s not 1986 anymore. The cultural conversation has certainly shifted, as it should… We’re stumbling towards some goal.”
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