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Jerry Bruckheimer Weighs in on Tarantino’s ‘Top Gun’ Gay Film Monologue: ‘A Compliment’

Tarantino appears in the 1994 movie "Sleep with Me" to explain why "Top Gun" is really about one man’s struggle with his own homosexuality.

TOP GUN, Tom Cruise, 1986. ph: ©Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

“Top Gun”

©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Top Gun” producer Jerry Bruckheimer celebrated the film’s 35th anniversary this month by reflecting on the movie’s unexpected legacy as a gay film in an interview with Vulture. This reading of the film was immortalized by Quentin Tarantino, who has a single scene in the 1994 movie “Sleep with Me” in which he appears to give a monologue explaining why the Tom Cruise-starring “Top Gun” is really “a story about a man’s struggle with his own homosexuality.”

“You’ve got Maverick, all right?” Tarantino’s character says. “He’s on the edge, man. He’s right on the fucking line, all right? And you’ve got Iceman, and all his crew. They’re gay, they represent the gay man, all right? And they’re saying, go, go the gay way, go the gay way. He could go both ways…Kelly McGillis, she’s heterosexuality. She’s saying: no, no, no, no, no, no, go the normal way, play by the rules, go the normal way. They’re saying no, go the gay way, be the gay way, go for the gay way, all right? That is what’s going on throughout that whole movie.’

Tarantino’s monologue and the blatant homoerotic undertones of the film’s signature oiled-up beach volleyball game have long kept “Top Gun” at least tangentially related to gay cinema. Asked by Vulture what he makes of the homoerotic reading of “Top Gun,” Bruckheimer said he embraces it even if that was not the specific intention of the filmmaking team.

“When you make a movie, people can interpret it in any way they want and see something in it that the filmmakers had no idea they were tapping,” Bruckheimer said. “So we’re surprised every time we hear something talked about, or written about, the films that we make that have no real context for the filmmakers or what the filmmakers wanted to do. And yet there’s a relevance to them, because people believe it.”

And Bruckheimer only views the Tarantino monologue as a good thing, adding, “[Director] Tony [Scott] and Quentin were very good friends. In fact, Quentin came in and helped Tony and myself on ‘Crimson Tide.’ He came in and wrote a couple of scenes for us. So there was a great camaraderie and respect between Quentin and Tony. Coming from Quentin, it’s always a compliment.”

Tarantino loves “Top Gun” so much, he questioned Tom Cruise’s decision to return for a sequel, the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick.” While appearing on the ReelBlend podcast, the “Pulp Fiction” director said he picked Cruise’s brain about why the actor would make another “Top Gun” without Tony Scott, who passed away in 2012. Cruise told Tarantino that the script pushed his character into a new direction that was too appealing to pass up. The film will open in theaters November 19 via Paramount Pictures.

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