Top Gun Maverick: Jennifer Connelly was already in the original film… and you didn’t notice her! – Cinema news

 Top Gun Maverick: Jennifer Connelly was already in the original film... and you didn't notice her!  - Cinema news

Oscar winner in 2002, Jennifer Connelly flew alongside Tom Cruise in “Top Gun Maverick”, currently in the cinema. If his character appears for the first time in this sequel, he was nevertheless mentioned in the original film.

From the first Top Gun in 1986, we obviously remember Kelly McGillis, alias “Charlie” Blackwood, an instructor with Navy pilots who engages in a passionate and torrid affair with Tom “Maverick” Cruise. We also remember a young Meg Ryan, who had not yet upset the romcom with When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle. We forget, however, that a third female character was quickly mentioned twice in Tony Scott’s film.

Summoned to the office of Commander “Stinger” (James Tolkan) at the start of the film, “Goose” and “Maverick” are reprimanded for disobeying orders and escorting their comrade “Cougar” to the aircraft carrier, in the midst of a crisis. panic. “You have been sanctioned. You have been suspended three times as a patrol leader. Punished on the ground twice, and at my request. You also have a history of five passages at very low altitude level with the control towers… and of an admiral’s daughter to boot.”

Paramount Pictures

“Goose” and “Maverick” in “Top Gun”

“Penny Benjamin?” then throws “Goose” (Anthony Edwards) to his flight partner. Later in the film, as they reunite with Carole, “Goose’s” companion (Meg Ryan), in a bar near the military base, she takes pleasure in reminding him of his somersaults with “Admiral’s Daughter” in front of Charlie (Kelly McGillis). “You know, he’s the one who told me how you got into orbit one night with Penny Benjamin… Yes, Goose tells me about all your good luck!”

Paramount Pictures

Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan and Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”

It is therefore this famous Penny Benjamin that Tom Cruise and the production team chose to integrate into the story of Top Gun Maverick. Indeed, according to director Joseph Kosinski, it was never considered to bring back “Charlie” or Carole during the writing process of the sequel, which already includes “Iceman” (Val Kilmer) and the son of “Goose (“Rooster”, camped by Miles Teller). “I didn’t want the film to constantly look back”explains the filmmaker to “It was important to introduce new characters”.

And among them, new pilots… and Penny Benjamin. “He’s a character we’ve heard of but never seen before,” indicates the director*. “It was an incredible opportunity to bring the character of Jennifer Connelly into this film”. Aged 51 and eight years the youngest of Tom Cruisethe actress was 15 years old at the time of the release of Top Gun. Revealed by Once upon a time in America by Sergio Leone, she then became famous with Dario Argento (Phenomena), Jim Henson (Labyrinth), Dennis Hopper (Hot Spot), Joe Johnston (Rocketeer) or Alex Proyas (Dark City), before exploding thanks to Requiem for a Dream and above all An exceptional man which earned him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2002.


Jennifer Connelly and her Oscar in 2002

Married to Paul “Vision” Bettany, she discovered the Marvel universe before him by playing Betty Ross in Ang Lee’s Hulk, before joining the MCU as the voice of Karen in Spider-Man Homecoming. She has also played in the Snowpiercer series and in front of the cameras of Walter Salles (Dark Water), Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond), Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still), Ron Howard (The Dilemma), Darren Aronofsky (Noé), Robert Rodriguez (Alita: Battle Angel) or Joseph Kosinski, who had directed her in the firefighter film Line of Fire in 2017 before finding her on Top Gun Maverick.

Her character of Penny Benjamin, divorced single mother, owner of The Hard Deck bar where Top Gun pilots meet and outstanding navigator in her spare time, is central to the film. “Brilliant, independent and happy”, according to the actress*, she embodies the life and the future that could await Maverick away from the Navy. “Penny and Maverick had a brief romance when they were young and have rekindled their relationship several times over the years. Although things always end amicably, they’ve had enough breakups that she’s determined not to re-engage. But it feels like, for the first time, they may have reappeared in each other’s lives at the right time.”.

Backgrid USA / Bestimage

Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise at the ‘Top Gun Maverick’ premiere on May 4, 2022

Successful and tender, playing in particular on the age of the two characters and their performers and the notion of passing time, the scenes between the two former lovers take them to sea, where Penny takes the helm and directs a neophyte Maverick, then in the air where the latter embarks it in the own P-51 Mustang Red Tail of Tom Cruise… driven by Tom Cruise. At sea or in the skies, it is now accompanied that “Maverick” fixes the horizon.

As for Kelly McGillisinterviewed by EntertainmentTonight in 2019 about the film, she said: “I’m old and I’m fat, I have a normal physique for my age, and I don’t think that’s what the film needs. I’d rather feel good about myself and with my age than give importance to all these other things. (…) Now, I’m not going to rush to the cinema to see the film, nor avoid the cinemas so as not to see it. It’s just that it’s not in my priorities.”