Miles Teller on joining Top Gun Maverick: ‘If Tom Cruise thinks I’m right guy’

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Actor Miles Teller says he was nervous to be a part of Top Gun: Maverick as he had “big shoes” to fill when superstar Tom Cruise picked him up to play the son of a beloved character in the franchise. (Also read: Top Gun Maverick trailer: Tom Cruise zooms in a fighter jet to May 27 release date. Watch)

Maverick is a much-awaited follow-up to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun, which changed Cruise’s life and career, making him an overnight Hollywood heartthrob for his performance as suave and daring US Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

The sequel features Teller, known for some of the recent hits like The Spectacular Now, Whiplash, Bleed for This and Only The Brave, as Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, a character that was played by Anthony Edwards in the original.

Tom Cruise, left, and Miles Teller, attend a red carpet event for the movie Top Gun: Maverick, in Mexico City.(AP)

Teller, 35, said he was “apprehensive” about joining the sequel, which was mounted on a big scale as he has always focused on doing “smaller scale things” in his career.

“I was a little apprehensive about stepping into something that was kind of set up to be this huge thing. I’ve been in a couple of big movies, but for the most part I’ve tended to do some smaller scale things. So, I was nervous about kind of lending myself to that world, but it’s something that I also was just incredibly proud and really honoured to be a part of.

“I mean, when Tom Cruise handpicks you to be his co-star in a movie and to play the son of Goose, those are big shoes to fill. So I just felt like if Tom thinks I’m the right guy, then I think I’m the right guy too,” Teller told PTI in a Zoom interview.

The action spectacle is set over 30 years after the events of Tony Scott-directed Top Gun and sees Maverick training a group of Top Gun graduates, including Rooster, for a specialised mission.

Teller said he was inspired by the superstar’s “work ethic” and relentless pursuit of achieving perfection.

“Tom just never stops working and he’s never really even satisfied with good or great. He puts so much time into these movies that you see him in. And so his work ethic was something that I found really inspiring,” he added.

For Teller, Top Gun: Maverick is yet another movie where he could push the envelope with his character, something that he previously did in movies like Whiplash, Bleed for This and Only The Brave.

“I think in my life I’m pretty chill. So, these movies and certain performances, give me an opportunity to kind of go to the extreme that you’re not able to go to in life. You’re able to do some things through these scenes that if you were to do in real life, people would say, ‘Oh my God! This guy is so dramatic or this guy is too intense’.

“So I do tend to gravitate towards those roles. I love when the stakes are high, I really enjoy movies that aren’t afraid to kind of push the envelope a little bit,” Teller added.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie and David Ellison.

The film also features Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis with Ed Harris and Val Kilmer.

The Paramount Pictures movie is exclusively distributed in India by Viacom18 Studios and will release in theatres on May 27.

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