Jay Ellis Was Floored by the ‘Discipline and Detail’ Required for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Role

Jay Ellis at Top Gun Maverick Premiere (Credit: Shutterstock)

Former Insecure actor Jay Ellis is sharing behind the scenes details about his new role as a pilot in Top Gun: Maverick.

Ellis plays Lieutenant Reuben “Payback” Fitch, alongside Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and Jon Hamm. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ellis talked about his experience making the movie.

“This whole thing was about discipline and detail,” he said. “Not only did we have to be so specific in portraying pilots, but we also then got up in the air. We obviously had to film in jets, so we’re talking about a very serious situation. We had to go through safety protocols three or four times a day.”

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[Ellis is shown above at the premiere for the film in San Diego]

The actor also talked to ET about what it was like working with actor Tom Cruise on the blockbuster.

“He was so hyper-focused on each one of us in every single thing we did, whether it was our flights, whether it was, you know, while we were on the ground shooting stuff in the hanger,” he said. “You really start to see how Tom builds his movies, and also why they are so good and there’s rarely any incidents.”

Ellis is no stranger to discipline. He spent most of his childhood traveling with his military family. His father completed over 15 years of service in the Air Force, according to his IMDb page.

Top Gun: Maverick centers on Tom Cruise’s character Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. After thirty years of service, Maverick now teaches at the Top Gun school training young fighter pilots who will take on a specialized mission that no living pilot has ever seen.

The original 1986 film starred Cruise and focused on a young ‘Maverick’ aboard an aircraft. The film was a hit grossing $356 million worldwide.

Top Gun: Maverick soars into theaters on Friday, May 27. Watch the trailer below.