‘Top Gun: Maverick’ star says Tom Cruise changed their life forever

top gun maverick
via Paramount

Love him or hate him, there’s no doubt that Tom Cruise has firmly cemented himself as a fixture of the entertainment world. The 59-year-old movie star has been a Hollywood headliner for decades now, and his dedication to his craft is second to none. He went so far as to train the cast of Top Gun: Maverick in the art of aviation to capture the film’s outstanding practical effects. Regardless of your personal feelings toward him, the man is a machine.

There’s a certain contagiousness to the way Cruise approaches his art, as Monica Barbaro touched on in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The actress, who plays Lieutenant Natasha “Phoenix” Trace in the film, spoke enthusiastically about working with Cruise, and how being around him changed how she and many others approach film.

“Oh yeah! I really had no idea what to expect, but everything about this movie was just a huge gift. We’ve been talking all day in these interviews, and it’s sort of dawning on everybody that he’s changed our lives forever. He’s also changed the way we approach every project we take from here on out, for the better, because we just see film and what we’re doing in a completely different way.”

She went on to give an example of such an influence in the way she’s currently approaching one of her upcoming roles.

“I’m working on a boxing scene for something else right now, and we have already tackled the training in just a very different way than I would have four years ago. We’re doing things in stages, and I expect to know the choreography well before the date. I want to be over-prepared if anything, and Tom teaches you to be really mindful of safety and specifics so that no stone is left unturned. And that applies to boxing in ways such as where your foot is pointed or how exactly you move your elbow.”

She’s not the first to speak up on the Cruise effect. We previously reported on similar praise for the actor’s presence by the film’s aerial coordinator, Kevin LaRose.

Top Gun: Maverick is currently playing in theaters.