The success of Top Gun: Maverick has led many to look back on the original 1986 blockbuster film. While the iconic volleyball scene is stuff of pop culture legend now, at the time, it almost got late director Tony Scott fired.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, editor Chris Lebenzon said, “That scene was scripted as a real game. Remember they kept score and everything, and Tony shot it like a commercial and they were angry.”
Billy Weber, who was also an editor on Top Gun, concured saying, “The studio was so pissed off. The head of production, Charlie McGuire, he said, ‘I’m gonna fire him,’ meaning Tony, because he spent a whole day shooting this scene. And then of course it turns out it’s one of the most famous scenes in the movie.”
Lebenzon added, “We didn’t expect it. And it was interesting to edit. I had never done a commercial before, or a music video. And that was Tony’s forte.”
So, what did we learn? Sometimes, a film studio doesn’t know everything, and a mildly erotic scene of men playing volleyball helps take a film from great to legendary. Turns out one of life’s simple joys really is the boys.