I must admit, Top Gun never really crossed my mind as a candidate to be redone in 3D, but next year the movie will return in all of its newfound 3D glory.
With some thought, though, it actually makes sense. The movies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his late partner Don Simpson were always big, loud and over the top, and Top Gun was one of the best examples of their slick, popcorn picture style.
As Hollywood Reporter and Foxnews report, Rob Hummel of Legend 3D, who is doing the 3D transfer and will share the profits with Paramount, said, “I think Top Gun lends itself to 3D due to the aerial flight.”
Although many theatergoers are clearly tiring of 3D, Hummel added, “We think there is a great potential for catalog titles in 3D, but studios have had trouble justifying the expense.”
Top Gun came from a time when magazine articles were being adapted into movies, and the movie was inspired by an article in California magazine. The screenwriting team of Jim Cash, and Jack Epps Jr. were hired, and as Epps recalled in the book How I Broke Into Hollywood, originally the story was, “These guys were modern-day warriors, battling the clouds at 28,000 feet.”
Epps rode in a jet, which was “one of the most grueling, rigorous, physically demanding events one could experience. The G-forces alone were almost unbearable. I called Jim after the flight, still reeling, and I told him, ‘This is not what we thought it was. These guys are athletes.”
Epps thought of Tom Cruise for the lead role because Maverick was “cocky, immature, and in your face. He had to be played by someone very likable. If Sean Penn had taken the role, it would have been a completely different movie.” Simpson read the script, and gave Cash and Epps the words they were praying for: “I will kill to get this movie made.”
The rest is history, because Top Gun was the #1 movie of 1986. “We had written the slickest, most commercial movie we could think of,” said Epps. “We had written the perfect Saturday night movie.”
Top Gun also started the ’90’s game of looking for hidden gay subtext in films. Quentin Tarantino did a whole routine about this in the movie Sleep With Me, but the theory was really created by his former writing partner Roger Avary, and when I interviewed Avary for Creative Screenwriting years ago, he broke out a copy of Top Gun on laserdisc and showed me how he came up with all of this.
In one scene, an officer is lecturing the recruits in class and one of them says, “This gives me a hard-on!” Several scenes later, one of the recruits says, “Don’t tease me!” Then there’s a volleyball game that looks like something out of a gay porno, with Kenny Loggins singing, “Playin’ with the boys…” Avary shot me a look that said, “Hel-lo?”
Avary then explained, “Okay, now what do they do at the end of every flight? They buzz the tower! Listen to this line coming up…” In the next scene, a superior officer is furious his tower got buzzed, and he begins screaming, “Two of your snot-nosed jockeys did a fly-by around my tower at over four hundred knots! I want somebody’s butt! I want it now! I’ve had it! I WANT SOME BUTTS!!!”