Few movies had as big a hand in making Tom Cruise the biggest star in the world as 19986's Top Gun, about a hotshot group of naval aviators. Directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of the time, and cemented its place in pop culture thanks to its stylish flying scenes and Kenny Loggins' unforgettable contribution to the sound track, "Danger Zone". In a section for the Top Gun DVD commentary, the late, great director Tony Scott revealed that his desire to shoot the film in an artistic manner went against Paramount Studio's more "commercial" expectations, leading to Scott getting fired from the project.
"[I] shot it in slow motion with graduated filters and that was sort of artsy and dark and again esoteric, and Paramount saw these dailies when I was still on the aircraft carrier and they panicked and forbade me to shoot another foot of slow-motion footage, So I was vey deceptive. I shot one roll of normal footage and continued to shoot all the rest of it in slow motion, because I had a vision about how the beginning should look. Unfortunately they sent the wrong rolls back - they sent the slow-motion rolls back. So I was fired. My contract was terminated. But we were stuck on the aircraft carrier and couldn't get back because the weather sucked, so I just kept shooting."
The fact that Scott was brought on board to direct Tom Cruise in Top Gun was considered an unusual choice within the industry. Before helming Top Gun, Scott was best known for 1983's The Hunger, which was an erotic vampire film that opened to divisive reviews, and middling box-office returns.
But apart from The Hunger, Tony Scott was also an established director of commercials, where his work was less experimental, and more mainstream. One commercial that Scott made for SAAB featured a fighter jet. "I think that was the only bit of footage they could find that was contemporary that involved jets," the filmmaker explained. "So that's how I got into running for Top Gun."
After getting fired due to the opening sequence, Scott was eventually re-hired as director for Top Gun, with the producers hoping he would toe the line this time around. But that did not happen, as Scott reveals he got fired not once but two more times.
"The second [firing] was with Kelly McGillis. I made her look beautiful in a sort of - what's the word? Whorish way, I suppose. And the studio took away my nine-inch pumps and they took away my makeup lady, in an effort to actually get Kelly looking a little more down to earth. The third firing was when I pulled the visors down on the helmets for the guys flying in the jets. I wanted to see the sky and everything around. But obviously it obscured our lead actors a little bit."
At long last, and after multiple firings, Scott finally completed the movie, and the rest is history. The legacy of Top Gun has endured for more than three decades, and Scott went on to have an extensive career in Hollywood as a writer, director, and producer. This news originated at MovieMaker.com