The US Navy wasn't keen on actually putting the superstar actor in the cockpit of the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Credit: Handout.

Tom Cruise can do almost anything — fly a P-51 Mustang, fly a helicopter, even cling to the side of an Airbus 400.

But the US Navy said he absolutely could not fly a US$70 million dollar Navy fighter jet, not a chance, no way, according to a report by Jared Keller in Task & Purpose.

In a new interview with Empire magazine ahead of the release of Top Gun: Maverick this summer, film producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that despite Cruise’s piloting prowess, the Navy wasn’t keen on actually putting the superstar actor in the cockpit of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the report said.

 “The Navy wouldn’t let [Tom] fly an F-18, but he flies a P-51 in the movie, and he flies helicopters,” Bruckheimer told Empire, per “He can do just about anything in an airplane.”

According to Empire, both Cruise and Bruckheimer put a premium on authenticity when it came to the return of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the highly-anticipated sequel.

“We just started talking,” Cruise told the magazine. “And I realized that there were things that we could accomplish cinematically. And I started getting excited about this big challenge of, ‘How do we do it?’ So I said to Jerry, ‘I’ll do it if …’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff.”

For a guy who once clung to the side of an Airbus 400 to execute a mind-numbing opening stunt for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Cruise’s devotion to total realism isn’t unsurprising, the report said.

But while that didn’t translate to letting Cruise putter around in a Super Hornet, it did yield some g-force-heavy sequences of Cruise and his co-stars getting rocked around by naval aviators, the report said.

What’s different about this movie is that [in Top Gun] we put the actors in the F-14s and we couldn’t use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up,” Bruckheimer told Empire.

“It’s hysterical to see their eyes roll back in their heads. So everything was done on a gimbal. But in this movie, Tom wanted to make sure the actors could actually be in the F-18s.”

Directed by Joseph Kosinksi and staring Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer, Top Gun: Maverick finally hits theaters on June 24, 2020.