Joe Kosinski discusses Top Gun Maverick

Director Joseph Kosinski discusses Top Gun: Maverick

June 4, 2022 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

A veteran naval aviator must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears in Director Joseph Kosinski’s action drama, Top Gun: Maverick.

Kosinski’s film takes us back on that highway to the danger zone as pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise), who has spent than more than thirty years dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him, is called upon to use his skills to train a detachment of graduates for a perilous special assignment.

On June 4, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Kosinski discussed the making of Top Gun: Maverick during a Q&A moderated by Director Jason Reitman (Ghostbusters: Afterlife).

During the conversation, Kosinski spoke about adapting his visual aesthetic to a film with roots in the 1980s.

“My cinematographer that I’ve done five movies with now — Claudio Miranda — I think he did three movies with [Top Gun Director] Tony Scott as a gaffer, so he knew some of the tricks of the Top Gun lighting style. We knew what that Top Gun look was and I was approaching it more as the Top Gun universe rather than trying to mimic. It’s like this world where it's always sunset. It's San Diego and it's always 6:30 and everyone is always sweaty. It was a lot of scheduling conversations about shooting exteriors the first two hours of the day, going into the hanger or going into the admiral's office or going into the interior of the carrier and shooting all your interior scenes in the middle of the day and then at 4:00 o'clock outside getting those exterior shots again. We were adamant to never shoot anything outside between 9:00 and 4:30, which you know drives line producers crazy. But I think it's better than what Tony used to do. Jerry [Bruckheimer] told me the stories that Tony would just kind of fiddle with lights and go around the set and just stall for like hours until the light was perfect and then he’d be ready to shoot.”

In addition to Top Gun: Maverick, Kosinski’s other directorial credits include the feature films Spiderhead, Only the Brave, Oblivion and TRON: Legacy. Kosinski has been a DGA member since 2007.

You can listen to Kosinski's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber – Print courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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