Paramount Pictures announced this week that it will shoot most of “Top Gun 2” this summer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
The movie, a sequel to the 1986 blockbuster “Top Gun,” will again star actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, not in roles as pilots “Maverick” and “Iceman,” but instead as rival flight instructors at VAQ-129.
Although NAS Whidbey isn’t home to fighter jets such as the F-14 Tomcats used in the original movie, the island’s scenic beauty won over the heart of the film’s director.
He said that such details in fiction don’t always have to add up to reality.
“Do you see a naval officer candidate school in Port Townsend?” the director asked, referring to the shooting location of the 1982 film, “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
The announcement that Oak Harbor and Anacortes will be featured prominently during three weeks of shooting this summer was warmly received by chamber of commerce directors in both cities.
“Top Gun” was shot mostly around San Diego and Fallon, Nev. But the film’s director and producer wanted a new, more tranquil setting for the sequel, focusing on the twilight years of the former hot-shot pilots as they adjust to middle-age life.
The once embattled pair join the same bowling team, which starts the competitive fire all over again.
The Oak Bowl will be the site for those scenes, the director confirmed.
Frank’s Place will serve as the location where Maverick finds his new love interest, the director said.
The film’s production company got permission for one of Maverick’s understudies, a Growler pilot played by actor Taylor Lautner, to do multiple flybys at Ault Field, each time rattling an air traffic controller.
Wanting to give the film an authentic Whidbey flavor, the base’s public affairs officer Mike Welding has been cast to play the role of the unnerved, coffee drinker in the tower.
Tom Skerritt, who lives in Seattle, will make a cameo appearance in the film.