- Lewis Hamilton revealed Tom Cruise offered him a role as a fighter pilot in Top Gun: Maverick after the Mercedes driver asked to be in the box office hit
- The 37-year-old was a fan of the original film and insisted he would have been happy just being a cleaner in the sequel
- But filming took place during the climax of the F1 season and Hamilton said he could not justify sacrificing preparation to turn up on set
- Top Gun: Maverick supplanted Titanic as the seventh-biggest film ever at the domestic box office last weekend
- The seven-time World Champion had the chance to fly a fighter jet in 2013 when he took to the skied with the Red Arrows ahead of the British Grand Prix
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton revealed he agonizingly had to give up the chance to star alongside Tom Cruise in the Top Gun: Maverick film.
Hamilton, 37, has enjoyed minor forays into Hollywood in the past, making a cameo in Zoolander 2 and lending his voice to Cars 2 and Cars 3 but he almost landed his dream role.
The Brit was a fan of the original Top Gun film as a child, which made him ‘fixated’ on being a fighter pilot.
Although he ended up on the track rather than in the skies, Hamilton revealed he almost had the chance to live out his dream on the big screen.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hamilton said he begged his friend Tom Cruise to let him have a role in the Top Gun sequel.
‘Basically I’m a friend of Tom,’ Hamilton said before adding, ‘Cruise.’
‘One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He invited me to his set years ago when he was doing Edge of Tomorrow and then we just built a friendship over time.’
‘So when I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to ask him,’ he added.
‘I said, “I don’t care what role it is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back.”‘
Cruise reportedly not only said yes but told Hamilton he didn’t have to settle for being a cleaner and could be a fighter pilot.
But then reality struck as the Mercedes driver realized filming would take place during the climax of the Formula One season.
The seven-time World Champion insisted he could not justify sacrificing preparation to turn up on set, claiming he is a ‘perfectionist’.
He was forced to reluctantly contact Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski to turn down the role in what he described as the ‘most upsetting call he has ever had.’
To add to Hamilton’s upset, the actors were in the driving seat for the film as the cast underwent months of flying training in preparation for the role before taking to the sky themselves for the scenes.
But Hamilton can take some consolation in the fact that he beat Cruise to flying a plane.
He swapped his Silver Arrows for the Red Arrows and was treated to the thrilling 30-minute flight at their base in Lincolnshire, UK ahead of the British Grand Prix in 2013.
Although he was used to stunning speeds, he revealed he struggled to hold on to his lunch as the Red Arrows took him through their repertoire at 650mph.
‘I was determined not to puke,’ said Hamilton in 2013.
‘I didn’t but I felt very ill after the first run. We did loops, back turns, tunnel turns and rolls. The next time we went out I felt better but I nearly passed out because of the G-forces. They let me fly for a bit. I was c******* myself, hoping I didn’t crash.’
Through his Top-Gun agony, Hamilton not only missed out on a big screen breakthrough but also a potentially massive payday.
Top Gun: Maverick supplanted Titanic as the seventh-biggest film ever at the domestic box office last weekend having now earned $662 million in ticket sales.
The sequel, now in its eleventh week of release, added $7 million to its total and beats James Cameron’s 1997 tragedy by $3 million, having raked in $659 million.
While Titanic is now in eighth place, Top Gun is now creeping up on sixth placed Avengers: Infinity War at $678 million and Black Panther with box office receipts of $700 million.
Films that have grossed even more including Avatar, Spiderman: No Way Home, Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will likely not be surpassed, however it could well mean Top Gun: Maverick makes it into fifth place.
Top Gun is only the 12th film to ever cross the $600 million mark at the domestic box office.
Internationally, it holds the number three spot for the studio’s highest-grossing titles ever.
Hamilton is no stranger to the small screen, featuring alongside his F1 peers in Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.
The documentary has showcased all the behind-the-scenes drama and is responsible for taking the sport to new audiences. A younger one (average age down from 39 to 37 in 2017) and a more female one (40 per cent, up eight per cent points since 2017)
The US TV audience has also accelerated to 39 per cent beyond the 2018 figure. Silverstone welcomed 401,000 fans over the weekend compared to 345,694 in 2019; Melbourne was 420,000 versus 351,000.
Hamilton’s final-day battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen last season was a particularly gripping story line and undoubtedly contributed to the boom of the drama.