Thanks to Kenny Loggins, Tom Cruise made a grand entrance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday. Loggins performed "Highway to the Danger Zone" from the Top Gun soundtrack as the actor walked onstage. "Tonight is the first time that we met each other," Tom told Jimmy Kimmel "I love his music," he added, rattling off Kenny's other popular songs. "It's just amazing. I heard [the hit song] before it was in the film, and right when he did it. I heard both. It was incredible."
Jimmy had plenty of Top Gun questions at the ready. "Have you seen it recently?" he asked.
"I watch it every day," Tom joked. "Every morning."
It's been 30 years since Top Gun hit theaters. "Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of Top Gun, was here a few months ago, and he was telling a story of how he persuaded you to do the movie by sending you to fly with the Blue Angels," Jimmy said. "He said that you didn't want to do the movie, and then you got there and you flew with them, and then you were all in. Is that true?"
Tom flashed his famous megawatt smile and replied, "OK, this is really funny. Jerry, I've never told you this story. The truth is that after the first meeting, I met with [director Tony Scott], Jerry and Paramount Pictures. I got in the car and I was flying to New York. I told my agent, 'I'm going to make this movie, but don't tell Jerry I want to make this movie, because I want to fly with the Blue Angels.' You've got work these things, you know? I'm a businessman. Also, I said, 'I want to fly the F-14. I've got to have at least three flights in the F-14. I want all the training.'"
The actor had a feeling his plan would work. "He's such a brilliant producer; I was able to be in every single meeting while we working and developing the script so I could learn from him, to learn more about movies," he said. "He's obviously one of the greatest producers of our time."
"And yet you bamboozled him!" Jimmy joked.
"Yeah, I did," Tom admitted. "I love telling that story."
"Sorry, Jerry," he added. "I forgot you and I never really had that conversation."
Tom was thrilled his plan had worked. But before long, the old adage "be careful what you wish for" to proved true. "He also said you threw up in the plane," Jimmy told Tom. "Is that correct?"
"Yeah, I did," Tom said. "I vomited with the Blue Angels."
"I've always wanted to fly airplanes my whole life," said Tom, who is now licensed to pilot commercial flights. "I traveled around and I had two pictures: a picture of P-51 and a Spitfire."
"Anyway, we did all the training, and then came the day that we've got to fly," he said. "We set up the cameras, and it wasn't like today. It was really challenging—quite brilliant of Tony Scott, how he figured out how to do it. But the guy who flew me in the first flight, his name was Bozo. The pilot's name was Bozo! So, I'm strapping in, we're getting in there, and you just see the helmet go on that says 'Bozo.' I'm like, 'Bozo?'" As Bozo was going through the check sheet, Cruise noticed the emergency lights were on—"and we were about to take off!" he recalled. "I remember saying, 'Bozo, these lights...There's a lot of red lights.' He's like, 'Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.' He starts turning them off. I'm like, 'OK.' He's like, 'They don't call me Bozo for nothing.'"
Bozo and Tom did some "very specific maneuvers" while they were "very low over the deck." Once that was out of the way, they were able to "go up and play for whatever fuel we had left."
"I remember, the first flight in the morning, we were going really hard and were moving around, and we did like nine and half Gs—very hard on my body—and I had the vomit bag [by my legs]," Tom said. "In between takes, I just quickly leaned down to quickly empty my guts into this bag. There was an A-4 over here, and an F-14, and the second I did that, he pulls up."
The pressure was too much for Tom. "My head was on the ground! I was pressed on the floor holding my vomit. I'm trying to press the talk button; it was on the foot. I kept going, 'Bozo! Bozo! Bozo!' I was choking, and he just kept pulling up and up and up," he said. "Finally, he released and we were going straight ahead. I said, 'Bozo, what's the matter with you, man? Didn't you see? You pulled up and my head was hitting the floor.'" But Bozo wasn't bothered. According to the actor, Bozo responded, "'Well, I told you they don't call me Bozo for nothing.'"
Holding his puke bag afterward was "a point of pride," Tom joked. "I had two more flights after that day. We got incredible footage and flew twice the speed of sound. It was really incredible."
"That sounds like my nightmare day," Jimmy said. "It really does."
As for whether there will ever be a sequel to Top Gun, as Jerry had previously indicated, Tom played coy. "Kenny and I were talking about it," he revealed. "It's just got to be right. That's all."