Maverick ‘throwing shirts, makes sense for the dogfight football scene

By on May 31, 2022 0

SAN DIEGO – In a moment of reflection, “Top Gun: Maverick” Star Glen Powell reflects on the action movie’s moist, sandy diversion, the already famous dogfight football scene.

“I played football growing up in Texas,” Powell says. “And I don’t understand the rules of dogfight football. They make absolutely no sense.”

He’s right: the first rule of film dogfight football is that it doesn’t make sense. It is not so much a game used by Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Tom Cruise’s flight instructor, but an oiled excuse to show off the fine physical specimens that make up the cast of “Top Gun: Maverick.” Not a criticism, a thank you.

The muscle show is a direct call to the legendary beach volleyball game from the original film, featuring a buff Cruise, Val Kilmer and Rick Rossovich vying for Top Guns in best flex (Anthony Edwards wore a shirt).

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Director Joseph Kosinski knew he had to bring some sort of sweaty nod to the sequel.

“When anyone and everyone found out I was doing this movie, they were like, ‘You know, you gotta have a volleyball scene. It’s not a ‘Top Gun’ movie without it,” Kosinski says. “But it can’t just be a random edit. We have to move the story forward.”

Kosinski credits screenwriter Ehren Kruger with creating Maverick’s on-screen team-building exercise. There are real rules: two balls in play, attack and defense at the same time, lots of runs and touchdowns. “For me, it was a brilliant solution,” says Kosinski.

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Glen Powell and Monica Barbaro play their game in

Rossovitch, who believes he has won the first body contest, told USA TODAY how well the original “Top Gun” stars competed (“We were all trying to get an edge”). But the late “Top Gun” director Tony Scott surprised them all with the filming date, throwing in a sand truck and telling the actors to play.

Kosinski allowed his cast to focus on the big day.

“Everyone had their calendar circled, with ‘It’s dogfight football day. Get out the coconut oil and the spray tan, let’s do this!’ ” said Kosinski. “And I knew I just had to shoot it.”

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Greg Davis, who plays the Coyote pilot, remembers his intense workouts, which took place before and after strenuous days on set.

“All of us went crazy. We had all seen the original ‘Top Gun’ scene,” he says. “I was eating more grass than a rabbit and protein bars. I was at my peak. It was like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ “

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Tom Cruise still has it, throwing a pass in aerial combat football.

Only Cruise, 59, insists he didn’t work any different to prepare for the big game. “I just did,” he said.

Powell remembers the night before the football scene as a muscle pandemonium in the hotel gym, with all the actors working out furiously – except for Monica Barbaro. “She was like, ‘I’m fine,'” Powell says.

“There was a lot of male insecurity, guys were eating protein paste,” says Powell, who recalls the prep work continuing until game time. “Everyone had resistance bands and weights on the beach, trying to get one last pump before playing football.”

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Kosinski enjoyed an epic fall day on the beach in Coronado, California. Former professional football quarterback Matt Moore worked as a choreography consultant to help achieve the best physical effect on screen.

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Was anyone keeping score in football dogfight?

“At first it was like, ‘How does this game work?’ said Danny Ramirez, who plays the Fanboy pilot. The former pro football hopeful was recruited to throw epic 60-yard bombs in front of the camera. “We found some fluidity and were able to set up some classic moments.”

Powell threw the best group celebration on the scene “biting the end of the soccer ball and throwing it behind me so it kind of exploded,” he says. “I was most proud of it because it included everyone in what I hope will become an iconic moment.”

Cruise repeated his infamous volleyball fashion choice: shirtless with blue jeans. “Maverick wears jeans, that’s what he does,” Kosinski says.

But Cruise still managed to outrun the kids, according to Davis, who threw a scoring pass to Cruise. “Tom runs off, burning in front of everyone,” Davis says. “I felt like Tom Brady.”

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At the end of the day, the cast donned shirts and celebrated at Bubs Bar with plenty of fattening tater tots.

“We partied,” Powell says. “Then we get a call right after dinner. It was like, ‘We’ve got the vibe, but we need more. We’re going to have to shoot again in a few weeks.’ “

The group still continued to celebrate, Powell says. “At that time, we slaughtered more tater tots than a human has ever eaten.”

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