Glen Powell has spoken several times about how hard he and the rest of the cast of Top Gun: Maverick worked to get in shape for the iconic beach football scene. The pressure was on to replicate the sweaty shirtless volleyball scene from the first movie, so everyone had to look their best. And director Joseph Kosinski has said that Powell took things so seriously, that he injured himself on the first play that they filmed.
Speaking to IndieWire on the red carpet at the Critics Choice Awards, Kosinski said; “One (scene) that I get asked about a lot, which was a very memorable day, was when we shot the beach football scene.”
“The actors were in a very kind of stressed out state, they’d all been working so hard to get ready for that scene. They were under the pressure, the weight of the original scene being so iconic. I remember Glen went out 110 percent on the first play and hurt himself, but he was able to recover quickly and we were able to get a great version of it.”
Speaking to Men’s Journal about the scene, Powell said; “I don’t think anyone in the cast of the first Top Gun imagined that volleyball montage becoming as iconic as it is…this time around, the cast for Top Gun: Maverick knew it was going to be a big deal. The bar had been set really high with the original.”
“So, I have to admit that knowing that added an additional incentive when it came to prepping for this physically. There was no doubt in our minds that hundreds of millions of people were going to be watching this footage of us shirtless—and critiquing. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with that information, but as Tom likes to say, ‘Pressure is a privilege.’ That’s true. It’s a privilege to be doing our version of such an iconic scene.”
Powell says actually filming the scene wasn’t a picnic either; “It was one of the first things we filmed. That was a great move, because you spend all this time getting into shape and it can be hard to maintain while you’re on set working these long shooting days. The tough thing was that we didn’t realize the filming demands of the montage, which was a lot of camera angles and long lenses.”
“So after we’d filmed for an entire day on the beach with Tom, playing our hardest and looking our best, we thought we were done and went out that night to celebrate – drinking and eating wings and tater tots. The next morning, we found out they were only getting Tom’s angles and would be shooting the rest of us the following week. We were like, ‘What?!’ Then we ran back to the gym.”
It’s become a beloved scene in Top Gun: Maverick, partly thanks to the One Republic song used for it. Check out our guide to the best sports movies.