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Filipino Canadian actor Manny Jacinto talks about intense flight training for 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at May 27 2022 06:08 PM

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When Manny Jacinto booked a role in 'Top Gun: Maverick,' it made him the first Filipino to be part of the most famous cinematic version of the elite fighter pilot team.

The Filipino Canadian said he's excited that the world will finally get to see the film.

"The flight training was really intense. It was great, but once you do that, it's like: Oh, okay, we're not doing any CGI, no special effects, we’re doing it for real. And it was just demanding, but it was the best experience I probably have been through in a movie," Jacinto said.

Jacinto went through intense training together with Tom Cruise and the rest of the actors who played Top Gun pilots. Cruise and the filmmakers decided to shoot the flying scenes live and used the best fighter pilots in the world as their instructors.

When asked how he felt when he first put on the flight suit, Jacinto replied, "You kind of feel like a superhero a little bit, you know. And it's an incredible feeling because even throughout shooting, we were able to meet a good amount of people in the Navy, people in the Air Force, and a good amount of them are Filipino. And to be able to represent that for them and have their face kind of represented, meant a lot."

Though it's not that big of a role, especially one that he got at the beginning of his Hollywood career almost five years ago, Jacinto is grateful to be part of a film destined to be a global blockbuster. He also has more prominent roles coming up, including a still undisclosed project that he's filming in the fall and the upcoming Disney animated series 'Hailey’s On It' where he leads opposite 'Moana' star Auli'i Cravalho.

Meanwhile, although they both have been in Hollywood for quite some time, Jennifer Connelly is starring with Cruise for the first time in 'Top Gun: Maverick.' The Oscar-winning actress said Cruise has become an inspiration because of how hard he worked to make the film. She was also delighted by their onscreen partnership.

"I didn’t know him; I’d never met him before. I went to meet him before making this movie, which in its own right was an amazing experience. That was fun. It was great working with him," Connelly said.

The pair and other cast members have been doing promo tours around the world, most recently at the Cannes Film Festival, London, and Japan. 'Top Gun: Maverick' is scheduled to be released in theaters in North America on May 27.