Lewis Hamilton Turned Down Top Gun: Maverick In 'Most Upsetting Call' Of His Life

The Formula One star begged friend Tom Cruise to be cast in the box office smash only to have to turn it down.
Lewis Hamilton, right, reluctantly turned down the role of a fighter pilot in "Top Gun: Maverick."
Lewis Hamilton, right, reluctantly turned down the role of a fighter pilot in "Top Gun: Maverick."
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton says his need for speed nearly landed him a role in Top Gun: Maverick.

The Formula One champion told Vanity Fair in an interview that his friend Tom Cruise agreed to cast him in the sequel to 1986’s Top Gun ― but that he reluctantly had to turn down the opportunity.

“When I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ I have to ask’” Tom to be cast in the film, Lewis said. “I don’t care what the role is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back.”

The racing champ said he and Tom “built a friendship over time” after the movie star invited him to the set of Edge Of Tomorrow. So when Lewis asked, Tom agreed to cast him as a fighter pilot in the summer blockbuster. But ultimately, film production coincided with his racing season and he had to turn it down.

Lewis remembers that conversation as “the most upsetting call that I think I’ve ever had.”

The seven-time world champion is nonetheless broadening his horizons, however, and told Vanity Fair he’s working with “planet-friendly startups.” Lewis is also a new Hollywood player and producing Maverick director Joseph Kosinski’s new film, Formula One.

The 37-year-old is also vetting that script as a consultant “because the Americans that are writing it are just getting newly accustomed to Formula 1.” He’s already met with Brad Pitt, who stars as an ageing driver who abandons retirement to challenge rookie racers.

Lewis and Brad have since agreed to tour the factories in the UK where Mercedes-Benz is manufacturing this season’s Formula One cars, according to Deadline.

Meanwhile, Tom spent his 60th birthday supporting Lewis at the British Grand Prix.

“He’s a great friend of mine,” Tom said at the time, according to Deadline. “I hope he has a great day.”

While Lewis came in third place behind Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz Jr. that day, Top Gun: Maverick saw Tom win his first $100 million box office opening when the film hit cinemas in May. It has since grossed more than $1.35 billion at the global box office.


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