This Iconic ‘80s Actress Says She Wasn’t Asked to Return For ‘Top Gun 2,’ Because Ageism

Top Gun

"Top Gun" // Paramount Pictures

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In this Year of Our Lord 2019, it’s now apparently cool to like Tom Cruise again, which is why it’s little surprise the internet went into a frenzy over our first glimpse of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

The trailer shows Cruise, who’s reprising his role of Maverick from the iconic ‘80s film, going Very Fast in a fighter jet and on a motorcycle. He’ll be joined by rival Iceman (Val Kilmer) — also a big fan of speed! — as the now decades-older pair navigates a new era of drone warfare. And, like in the original movie, Russian interference is expected. 

What isn’t expected? An appearance from Kelly McGillis’ Charlie Blackwood, the astrophysicist and Top Gun instructor who functioned as Cruise’s love interest in the 1986 blockbuster. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, McGillis shared that she hadn’t been asked to make a return in the Cruise-produced sequel, and she was pretty frank as to why.

“I’m old and I’m fat and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about,” the 62-year-old actress and Golden Globe nominee said. “I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age, as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff.”

Based on her response to this interviewer, at least, it sounds like McGillis isn’t attributing too much significance to whether a 57-year-old former coworker sees her as a befitting on-screen love interest nowadays. But the fact she wasn’t even extended the option of making a cameo still makes us sting a little on her behalf. 

After all, actors like Cruise (and Daniel Craig, and Christian Bale, and Jason Statham, and Idris Elba, and Pacino, and OK, this would be a longer list than I actually care to write) are fully permitted to continue being seen as grizzled, action-centric stars as they age. It’s a fact Cruise himself even seems to nod to in “Maverick’s” trailer, when he’s questioned by an (also aging, also grizzled) Ed Harris.

“The end is inevitable, Maverick,” Harris says. “Your kind is headed for extinction.” To which Cruise replies: “Maybe so, sir, but not today.”

Apparently, seeing a middle-aged woman who looks like a middle-aged woman act opposite the likes of Cruise will have to wait until another day, too.


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