NORFOLK -- The highway to the danger zone will run through Hampton Roads.
The sequel to the 1986 Hollywood blockbuster "Top Gun" is filming aboard the Norfolk-based USS Abraham Lincoln this week, according to the Navy. The original film inspired an entire generation of fighter pilots and served as a recruiting bonanza for the Navy.
The much-anticipated sequel began shooting on May 31, according to a photo on Tom Cruise's Instagram account. The photo featured him in a flight suit near a fighter jet with the same helmet he wore in the original film and referenced an oft-quoted line from the original movie: "I feel the need, the need for speed."
The first day of shooting took place at Naval Air Station North Island in California, the Navy said.
Few details about what the film will be about have been released, but Cruise revealed in an interview with "Access Hollywood" last year that it would be called "Top Gun: Maverick."
"Stylistically it'll be the same," Cruise said in the interview. "We'll have big, fast machines. ... It's going to be a competition film like the first one and it's going to be in the same vein, the same tone as the first one, but a progression for Maverick."
A 15-person crew from Paramount Pictures and Bruckheimer Films went aboard the Lincoln on Sunday and will remain through Saturday, said Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht. He said no actors are aboard and that the crew is shooting footage on the flight deck of air operations, which include F/A-18 Super Hornets from Virginia Beach-based Carrier Air Wing Seven taking off and landing as part of their carrier qualifications.
"This opportunity is one of many aircraft carrier embarks planned pierside and at sea on both coasts coordinated by the Commander, Naval Air Forces," Hecht said in an email from aboard the Lincoln.
"Top Gun inspired countless men and women to volunteer to protect and defend our country as Naval aviators and the crew of USS Abraham Lincoln are excited to play a small role in bringing this story back to the silver screen and inspiring another generation to serve in the world's finest Navy."
Michael Singer, a publicist with Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television, declined to provide any details about the production in an email to The Virginian-Pilot.
In July, Variety reported that "Only the Brave" star Miles Teller was tapped to play the son of "Goose" and is Cruise's new protege in the sequel. In the original film, Goose was played by Anthony Edwards and served as Cruise's radar intercept officer in the F-14 before his character died during a training accident.
Cruise also said on the "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" last month that Val Kilmer, who played Cruise's rival, "Iceman," in the original film, would be returning for the sequel.
Musician Kenny Loggins, who wrote the hit song "Danger Zone" for the original "Top Gun" soundtrack, told TMZ that he's spoken with Cruise and is interested in remaking the song for a sequel.
"I'm hoping to do it maybe as a duet with a young act," Loggins said. "We have some feelers out to some pretty cool rock acts. ... Maybe do it his way or their way, depending on if it's a band or a soloist. So we'll reinvent the song to a point."
The sequel is set to debut on July 12, 2019, according to Paramount. ___
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