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Tom Cruise is ‘a much better producer than I’ll ever be,’ Jerry Bruckheimer says

Famed TV and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer praises Tom Cruise's dedication and work ethic during Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit.

Video Transcript

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: I want to start with "Top Gun: Maverick."

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Really? I'm wonder why we start with that?

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: Did you ever think it would be such a smash?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: I always hope for the best, expect the worst. So it worked out really well for all of us.

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: Why do you think it was so big? It really created a moment when I think people needed it the most. And people hadn't been in theaters in a long time too.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: It's a big entertaining movie with great cast, great people behind the camera. Joe Kosinski, Tom Cruise is a force. Chris McQuarrie, who worked with us as a producer and a writer. And the rest of our writers. And it was just a great experience across the board. Tom is the hardest working person you'll ever meet. He cares, he loves to be on a set, first of all. He cares about every single moment, about every single performance, not only his. He's all over everything. And he's a much better producer than I'll ever be.

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: Really? And your relationship with Tom goes back a really long time too.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: He was like 20 years old when first started with him.

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: I remember hearing a story about how he was actually one of the only people in the original "Top Gun" who could deliver lines from the cockpit.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Well, that's what he, that's how he learned to make "Top Gun: Maverick" a lot better, because he decided that we have to train all the actors for three or four months prior to filming to get 'em used to the G-forces. So we started 'em in a prop plane, very easy, then an aerobatic prop, and we put 'em in a jet. And finally in the F-18. So they were accustomed to taking seven, eight G's, which when you see the movie, you see the look on their face. That's all, they're not acting.

But the hardest thing for these actors, including Tom, you only see a third of their face. So all their acting comes from their eyes. So it's fascinating, they got such great performances. And it was so difficult for all of them, because we'd shoot them for, they'd stay up there for about two hours. We couldn't see what they were doing.

They'd come down, we'd look at the footage, and then we had to send them right back up again if it didn't work. And they had to turn the camera on themselves. They had to know where the sun was, because we had to match other aerial stuff that we did. So it was really an exhilarating and scary proposition. And they were beat up, let me tell you. Dealing with those G-forces, it's really, really difficult.

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: Well, and kind of to that end, in a theater, it really plays particularly well. Right? Like the intimacy of those shots where you really see their eyes. Do you think that's part of why people were so excited to see it in theaters?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Absolutely. I think the fact that we did it for real, obviously, the explosions some other things we couldn't do for real, but what's really the reason that people have gone back multiple times is the emotion. It's about the emotion and following these characters and watching Tom's arc through the movie.

A guy who starts out very lonely, at the end of the movie he finds a family that he can be with. So that is the emotional core. And then you have Iceman in there, Val Kilmer. And Tom said, I'm not doing this movie unless Val is in it.

ALEXANDRA GARFINKLE: This is one of the most moving scenes in the movie. Was that logistically complicated and a logistically complicated shoot?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: The logistics weren't hard, just to get the performances. And what journalists and everybody don't really understand, is how good Tom's performance is and Val's performance. But Tom, through the whole movie, his understated performance, is just absolutely brilliant.

And the fact that we had the best technicians in the business, from the cinematographers and production designers, editor, I mean, Eddie Hamilton edited the movie. He had 814 hours of aerial footage to go through. He had 26 hours of just carrier footage. And he, all he cared about was finding the very best shot.

In all the footage, can you just imagine when those dailies come in how much time he had to put into editing the movie? But again, it comes down to the writing, performances, and the emotion. It's always about the emotion. A lot of people can shoot great action, but if you don't have the emotion, you don't have a great movie.