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06th Dec 2023

Casting director explains why Tom Cruise rejected Austin Butler for Top Gun: Maverick

Simon Kelly

Not a master of the air just yet.

Looking back on Top Gun: Maverick, you might think in hindsight that Austin Butler would perfectly fit in to any role in the follow up to the 1986 classic, especially since he is starring in another upcoming air-based action production.

As it turns out, he was very much in the running for the Top Gun role that eventually went to Miles Teller in the 2022 flick.

However, according to the casting director for the film, the decision to go with Teller over the Elvis star was a very close call and eventually came down to star of the movie, Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise rejected Austin Butler for Top Gun: Maverick role

Speaking on The Ringer podcast, casting director Denise Chamian spoke about the common misconceptions of her role, which led her to explaining the process involving casting for the Top Gun sequel.

“The biggest misconception is that actors magically appear in front of producers and directors,” she explained. “We take a lot of time, we have a huge history with a lot of actors who read for us when they are very young.

“That’s exactly what happened with Austin Butler. I knew him early on, he read for me for the Maze Runner trilogy… Several years later he read for Top Gun – for Miles Teller’s role – there was a huge search for the son [of Goose].

“He came in and he was phenomenal, he had changed so much, he had matured. His acting talent had strengthened.

“When I showed him to Tom, he agreed that he was going to be a big star but that he was just too young.

“So when Elvis came up, which was very soon after Top Gun, it was just obvious to me that he was going to be a big contender for it, he was so right for it.”

Despite not bagging the role in the blockbuster sequel, Butler is still doing well enough for himself, it’s fair to say.

His starring role in Elvis has platformed him as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars and is set to feature in a number of upcoming productions, including Masters of the Air and Dune: Part Two.

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