Top Gun 2 Actress Explains Why She Left Tom Cruise Movie
Thomasin McKenzie, who was set to star in Top Gun: Maverick, explains why she dropped out of the highly anticipated Tom Cruise film. Top Gun stars Tom Cruise as Maverick, a reckless yet charming US Navy pilot who enrolls in the highly competitive TOPGUN flight program. It was the highest-grossing picture of 1986 and a cultural classic. Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, Cruise’s portrayal and director Tony Scott’s execution of the aerial stunts were responsible for the film’s global success, boosting real-life interest in naval recruitment in the process.
After nearly a decade of development, Top Gun: Maverick finally began filming in May 2018, with Cruise reprising his role as the main character. Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, and Jennifer Connelly round out the Top Gun: Maverick roster, which appears to be following the first film’s strategy of selecting the top performers of the moment. McKenzie, who was most known at the time for her critically lauded breakout performance in Leave No Trace, was cast as Connelly’s character’s daughter, but was forced to leave the picture due to scheduling conflicts.
McKenzie spoke with Collider on the difficult decision to leave what is expected to be one of the year’s biggest movies. She added that she had to choose between Top Gun: Maverick and the Netflix thriller Lost Girls, which is based on the true story of a serial killer who preyed on young female sex workers on Long Island. Due to the story it told and the fact that it was a female-driven production, her intuition led her to Lost Girls.
I think I really listen to my team because they’ve been in the industry for a lot longer than I have and so they have a lot more experience than I do. Also it just comes down to instincts. I was very lucky to have the option to do something else. I did Lost Girls instead. I was so honored to have been considered to be a part of Top Gun. That’s bloody amazing! It’s really, really cool. But I think Lost Girls was a story that I was really interested in telling that was a female director, basically the entire cast was female so I really wanted to be a part of that.
McKenzie has risen to become one of the most promising young actors of her generation since that decision three years ago, scooping up accolades and working with one high-profile auteur after another. She was nominated for various critics associations after starring in Taika Waititi’s World War II comedy-drama Jojo Rabbit, which received six Oscar nominations. Her release schedule for 2021 has been her busiest yet, with lead roles in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old and Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, two of the year’s most anticipated horror pictures.
Whether or whether Top Gun: Maverick would have won McKenzie the same kind of acclaim is impossible to say, but there’s no doubt it would have catapulted her to much greater fame. Top Gun 2 has been postponed five times from its intended July 2019 release date by Paramount in an attempt to replicate the original film’s global commercial success. McKenzie’s passions definitely lie in complex storytelling rather than blockbuster potential, but fans will have to wait and see if those two traits collide in Top Gun: Maverick when it finally arrives on May 27, 2022.