Lewis Hamilton says that turning down Top Gun role from Tom Cruise was ‘upsetting’
Turning down a role as a fighter pilot in Tom Cruise film Top Gun: Maverick was “the most upsetting call that I think I’ve ever had”, says Lewis Hamilton.
The British seven-time Formula 1 world champion said he accepted a part in the hit sequel to the original 1986 film.
However, he had to pull out because filming took place during the Formula 1 season.
Hamilton says he “built a friendship” with Cruise after the Hollywood star invited him to the set of his 2014 science fiction film, Edge of Tomorrow.
Top Gun made Hamilton determined to become a fighter pilot as a child, and he could not resist asking Cruise if he could be involved in the long-awaited follow-up film.
“When I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have to ask him,'” Hamilton told Vanity Fair, calling Cruise “one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet”.
“I said, ‘I don’t care what role it is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back’.”
In the interview, Hamilton said he had not enjoyed following rules “since I was a kid” and feels F1 governing body the FIA directed its strict approach to drivers wearing jewellery in their cars at him.
“I’m the only one that has jewellery on, really,” the Mercedes driver said.
“I’ve never loved being told what to do. People love to have power and to enforce power.”
Hamilton said that he had bad experiences with authority figures during his childhood.
“When I was at school, I was dyslexic and struggling like hell and one of the only few Black kids in my school, being put in the lowest classes and never given a chance to progress or even helped to progress,” he said.
“Teachers were telling me, ‘You’re never going to be nothing.’ I remember being behind the shed, in tears, like, ‘I’m not going to be anything’ – and believing it for a split second.
“I don’t actually hold any grudge against those people, because they fuelled me up.”
Hamilton considered his F1 future after the controversial end to the 2021 season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December, when Star Wars creator George Lucas was among his friends supporting him in person at the race.
Currently sixth in the 2022 driver standings, Hamilton has earned podium finishes in his past five races and hinted he could stay with Mercedes beyond the end of his existing deal in 2023.
“I’ll be lying if I said that I hadn’t thought about extending,” he said.
“I’m still on the mission, I’m still loving driving, I’m still being challenged by it. So I don’t really feel like I have to give it up any time soon.”