Actor Tom Cruise attends a premiere ceremony of the film "The Mummy" in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, May 25, 2017. (Xinhua)
by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, May 27 (Xinhua) -- American film star Tom Cruise has just confirmed his intention to film "Top Gun 2," the long-awaited sequel to his iconic classic "Top Gun."
He made the announcement while on a recent promotional junket to Australia for his latest movie, The Mummy, co-starring Australian-native Russell Crow and French-Algerian Sophia Boutella.
Plans for the sequel have been years in the making, and Joseph Kosinki, who directed Cruise in his 2013 sci-fi epic "Oblivion," is rumored to be on the short list to direct "Top Gun 2." Kosinski also helmed "Tron: Legacy" reboot and the upcoming heroic firefighting drama "Granite Mountain."
Tom Cruise's starring performance as "Maverick", the rebellious young pilot in "Top Gun", which was filmed in 1986, established him as a major new Hollywood star and helped launch his career into the stratosphere.
Speculation on casting is also running high in Hollywood, including rumors that Val Kilmer might be called upon to reprise his role as Iceman, Maverick's rival for the "Top Gun" spot. Kilmer had a recent, serious bout with cancer, but is purportedly recovering well.
The film will be produced by industry giant, Jerry Bruckheimer and David Ellison. Ellison is a young, savvy, Hollywood producer and the son of Larry Ellison, Founder and CEO of the computer industry giant, Oracle.
Though the original "Top Gun" movie met with moderate critical press reviews, it went on to become a spectacular financial and popular success around the world. It cost a mere 15 million U.S. dollars to produce, but has grossed over 350 million U.S. dollars worldwide to date, plus raked in hundreds of millions more in video and DVD sales. Not bad for a modestly-budgeted movie whose success took everyone by surprise.
"Top Gun" inspired legions of fans who responded to the universal tale of youth striving to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the best and to find it in themselves to be all that they could be.
Whether one is a fighter pilot, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a government official, or an Olympian, that irresistible drive to rise to the top and strive to become the best is an essential part of growing up and finding one's place in the world. And "Top Gun" is one of the iconic films that inspire people to do that.
One quote from the film states, "You're not going to be happy unless you're going Mach 2 with your hair on fire!" That sums up what it means for many to feel they have the whole world before them to win or fail on their own terms.
The film has become a timeless classic about the rights of passage from a cocky, irresponsible boy to a young man who has weathered the trials and tribulations that come with maturing enough to learn from one's mistakes. Maverick's rocky journey shows viewers that it takes both individual excellence and excellent teamwork to make the dream a reality.
"Top Gun" enjoys immense popularity in China as well, where it has been viewed by millions online and via video and DVD.
Tom Cruise said: "It's always about the stories for me. I am drawn to great, classic storytelling and want to make the best films possible."
Clearly, this story still resonates with Tom Cruise. As one of the most successful producer-stars in the world, at 54, Cruise is still famous for his boundless energy and boyish smile. He has never stopped challenging himself and questing for new heights to conquer.
Like Jackie Chan, Cruise is one of the few stars in the world that routinely does his own dangerous stunts. Not content to fake it, Cruise's daring escapades have included dangling upside down 1,700 feet up the air from the famed Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol;" nearly getting beheaded in "The Last Samurai" when a real swordfight went wrong; and cabling himself to one of France's A400 Airbuses in "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" to take a dramatic stroll across its wing while in sub-sonic flight.
It will be interesting to see what nuanced themes an older, more mature Cruise chose to convey in the highly anticipated "Top Gun" sequel.