Louis Pullman on the importance of a quiet character, Bob – The Hollywood Reporter

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick.]

There was a fleeting moment when Louis Pullman thought he might be over his head.

The Top Gun: Maverick The actor could never have imagined how intense training and his fears would be for the highly anticipated sequel to 1986 Basic classic. but it was Tom Cruisethe film’s lead both on and off screen, who got Pullman right where he needed to be for a masterful performance.

In Top Gun: MaverickPullman plays Lieutenant Robert “Bob” Floyd, Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) to Mission Lead Lieutenant Colonel Natasha “Phoenix” Trace (Monica Barbaro), shy and reserved (but highly capable).

Talking to The Hollywood ReporterPullman explained that he was very proud to play “Quiet Burning Ember” Bob, as his modesty and humility was reflected in many of the actual pilots of the United States Fighter Tactics Training Program (TOPGUN) the actor met while working on the film.

During that same THR In the chat, Pullman also discussed how much he values ​​his relationship with his flight partner Barbaro and how much he admires Cruise’s dedication, not just to the image as a whole, but to every pilot actor. In addition to this, Pullman also shares the kismet advice he received from his famous Hollywood father, Independence Day star Bill Pullman.

Have you wondered what problem you got during rigorous training?

(Laugh.) Yes man. I mean, it kind of crept up on me, the fact of what we were actually doing. The only real competition for Tom Cruise is himself. So, every time he goes to a movie, it doesn’t feel like he’s looking around to see if anyone else is trying to do the same thing – because no one else is. (Laugh.) It just comes down to whether he can top the last thing he did – and he always does!

Tom was very generous with his time and energy. And, as you know, he created the entire training regiment for us. He designed it in a way that really crept into us. At first, this was a peak I didn’t know if I could reach. It’s just crazy. But it gave us a very gradual slope, so by the time we were actually pulling the 8.5g – it was there before we knew it. He understood the mission and what we would need in order to be confident and do well in these [F/A-18 Super Hornets] While pulling the g and doing these dangerous acrobatic maneuvers.

lazy picture loaded

Louis Pullman as Lieutenant Robert “Bob” Floyd in Top Gun: Maverick.
Courtesy of Scott Garfield / © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

I have no doubts that Bob will be a crowd favorite. In a way, it reminded me of Miles Miller from Bad times in El Royal. Do you enjoy more of these characters, the quiet guys who can take care of business when the time is right?

(Laugh.) It’s all about writing, but it’s a pleasure to be the ship. I really enjoyed playing Bob. I wanted to make sure there was a pilot – because I was a very shy kid – maybe he wasn’t the most conceited or the most confident. He is more of a quiet burning ember and knows he can catch fire at any moment. His only real need was to perform at a sky-high level. This was an honor because many of the TOPGUN pilots I’ve met are geniuses, badass – but also incredibly humble. So, I just wanted to make sure it was captured somehow.

Did you and Monica spend extra time together training? How did you manage to build that bonding and trust in the characters you have to convey on screen?

We were doing all that flight and flight training, and Monaco was one of the biggest enemies of any of us! She seemed to have no issues with what was going on, while I was suffering from fear or motion sickness. So it was very easy to get that dynamic on screen because we lifted each other up so much. She gave me a lot of advice and encouragement, and vice versa. Because we knew what their relationship was like early on, we spent a lot of time hanging out. She’s exceptional in this movie, and she’s an exceptional character.

How would you describe the force of acceleration you experienced to someone who had no idea what this kind of stress would look like on the human body?

(Laugh.) I’m trying to think of how I would describe this to myself three years ago before we started training because it’s out of anything normal. It’s like you’re a doll and all your strings are pulled to the center of the earth. It’s like a very A heavy animal is sitting on top of you. It’s wild, man. And the fact that we got a chance to make it look like it was natural, so that we wouldn’t be overtaken by a biological transformation, was a great opportunity.

We’re going to make these trip summaries, where we’ll fill out these forms about how many g’s we pulled and what hardships we encountered. Then we emailed them and thought they were just going out into the ether, but then you’ll meet Tom Cruise the next day. And he would come to you and say, “I read your brief, and I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do.” And if you say you want to try new things and move on, you do it the next day. For the busiest guy I’ve ever met in person, he’s been fantastic spending the time in such a generous and caring way to make sure we were confident and had all the resources at our disposal.

lazy picture loaded

Danny Ramirez, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, director Joseph Kosinski and Louis Pullman, on set, in Top Gun: Maverick.
Scott Garfield / © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Everyone seems to have an amazing Tom Cruise story from this movie. Would you mind sharing one with me other than what I just said?

On the F/A-18s, we didn’t have screens that could go back to base camp, and they couldn’t watch what we were doing. So they built this little wooden cockpit called “The Buck.” Before each flight, we would go to training and go through safety procedures. And there was this amazing moment, in fact, it happened a few times, when I was sitting in The Buck, and Tom Cruise was sitting in a chair giving me advice and direction on how to make the scene as dynamic as it should be. I was like, “This is as good as it gets, here.”

Because of the pandemic, the film has been pushed back several times. Can you share the feelings you feel right now, knowing the moment Top Gun: Maverick she has finally receipt?

It is very overwhelming. I don’t really know how to recognize some of the feelings I’m feeling. But it’s really comforting to know that people who are wondering why it’s taking so long to get out, why not put it live – there’s no need to answer that question now. All they have to do is sit in the theater, and it will all be clarified. This has all the ingredients for a theatrical experience Need That you have, members of the public Wants to have. So, I’m so upset we didn’t put it on stream – and I think everyone will.

lazy picture loaded

Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore on Independence Day (1996).
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film / Everett Collection

Finally, since I had the pleasure of interviewing him several times, I must ask: Has my father seen the film yet, and has he given any advice from his anti-alien fighter pilot days in Independence Day?

(Laugh.) He hasn’t seen it yet, but I can’t wait to see it. He’s working on a play now, and doing rehearsals. I always run everything by him before I start work, and he always hands me gold. Use the green screen in Independence Day, but he gave good advice for movement, to really express the physicality of what is happening. Essentially, he offered to make sure this character feels real and grounded and absorbs everything from real Top Gun pilots, so I can do justice to what they do.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Top Gun: Maverick In theaters now.