Northern Nevadans have always shown particular interest in Tom Cruise’s 1986 blockbuster motion picture “Top Gun” because parts of it were filmed at and in the skies above Naval Air Station Fallon.
Since the movie’s release 28 years ago, supposedly-accurate statements from Cruise, other leading actors in the film and its director and producer have hinted that a “Top Gun 2” was in the works.
I’ve carried some of these statements in this space over the years, beginning with a column I wrote in 1993 that said a “Top Gun” sequel was in the works which was to feature Cruise returning as Top Gun’s commanding officer and that his love interest would be a female lieutenant, one of the first women to attend the Top Gun school at NAS Fallon.
My source at the time was Tony Scott, director of the original “Top Gun” movie, who told me by telephone that the new film was “definitely in the works.” My story was picked up by the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press and sent around the world.
But “Top Gun 2” was not made. As they say in Hollywood, it was “put on the shelf’ and I felt like an idiot for writing about something that didn’t happen.
Two years ago, I stuck my neck out for a second time when I wrote that, once again, there was serious talk about producing “Top Gun 2.”
My evidence? Reports that Cruise, Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first “Top Gun” film, had traveled by private plane to NAS Fallon to look the place over and scout locations for the movie’s sequel.
But the movie again was placed on hold after Scott leaped to his death from a bridge spanning Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors just three days after his trip to NAS Fallon.
Today, I’m going out on a limb once more to report that the “Top Gun 2” project might be resuscitated. But please don’t hold me to this! All I know is what I read in the Hollywood trade papers and several respected newspapers.
Details of this alleged resuscitation are sketchy, but the new plot line has it that Cruise will return as a Top Gun instructor pilot who is pressed into service as a fighter jock during combat over either North Korea or someplace in the Middle East.
There is no word on who Cruise’s love interest would be in the new motion picture. Cruise, who is 51, still looks pretty good.
But his girlfriend in the 1986 movie, Kelly McGillis, is 56 today and I have read that she is beginning to show her age.
Cruise and Bruckheimer were quoted recently in several newspaper articles as stating a new script was being written for the sequel and that they are “optimistic” a “Top Gun 2” will be made.
A New York Daily News story, for example, said the sequel “will almost certainly take flight.” Bruckheimer was quoted as saying, “We’re excited about it, we’ve been excited for nearly 30 years to make the movie, but we’ve never had a story that everybody signed off on until now.”
Bruckheimer also was quoted in the London Guardian newspaper as saying, “Paramount wants to make a sequel. Tom wants to make a sequel.”
Val Kilmer, who played the pilot “Iceman” in the original film also has said, “I think it wouldn’t be that difficult to maintain the spirit of it” (the 1986 movie) when questioned on television by talk-show host Larry King.
So there you have it. If a sequel isn’t made, I apologize for getting readers’ hopes up. I’m just reporting what I hear and read.
I also have two other interesting tid-bits relating to the original “Top Gun” movie.
Do you remember the cute little seaside bungalow in the film where McGillis lived and was romanced by Tom Cruise?
I’ve just learned that the Queen Anne Victorian house, built in 1887 and located in Oceanside north of San Diego, is still standing and will be rehabbed and moved two blocks away to serve as a gift shop and “Top Gun” tourist attraction on the grounds of a $290 million luxury hotel resort. During the filming of “Top Gun,” McGillis actually lived in the 900-square-foot house. For the last several years, it has deteriorated and currently is empty and surrounded by a chain-link fence.
And do you remember the Kansas City barbecue restaurant in San Diego’s harbor district where Cruise, McGillis, Kilmer and other actors in the film gathered around a piano in the bar and sang “Great Balls of Fire?”
Well, the restaurant burned down in 2008, but was rebuilt and today is a featured “Top Gun” eatery at San Diego’s Seaport Village.
Its “Top Gun” bar and piano used in the movie were saved from the fire, and are visited by thousands of tourists and locals annually who loved the movie and hope, as I do, that a sequel will be made.
David C. Henley is Emeritus Publisher of the LVN.