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Why Lewis Hamilton Turned Down Tom Cruise's Offer To Join Top Gun: Maverick

"Top Gun: Maverick" could have featured racing royalty. One of the most celebrated films of the last decade — and the project that solidified Tom Cruise's status as Hollywood's last great action star – the long-gestating sequel was worth the wait. With so much clout, it's no wonder that racing maverick Lewis Hamilton is bummed that he didn't get to star in the flick. In an interview with GQ, Hamilton opened up about his friendship with Cruise, and how he eventually gained the confidence to ask the actor to put him in "Top Gun 2" if it ever happened. When "Maverick" was finally greenlit, Cruise reached out to Hamilton and offered him the role of a lifetime as one of the film's many pilots. 

Unfortunately for Hamilton, the call to "Top Gun" coincided with his 2018 rivalry with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Arguably one of the most important years of his career, Hamilton had to choose between "Top Gun" and preparing for his races. "Firstly, I hadn't even had, like, an acting lesson," Hamilton explained. "And I don't want to be the one that lets this movie down. And then secondly, I just really didn't have the time to dedicate to it. I remember having to tell [director Joseph Kosinski] and Tom — and it broke my heart," the racer said. 

Hamilton went on to make waves that year and cement his status as one of the greats on racing's Mt. Rushmore, but he still thinks he made the wrong choice. "And then I regretted it, naturally, when they show me the movie and it's: It could've been me!" Hamilton exclaimed. 

Lewis Hamilton is making his own racing movie

It's easy to imagine the suave and confident Lewis Hamilton stepping into the shoes of one of the pilots in "Top Gun: Maverick." But ultimately, the racer never got the opportunity to cement his friendship with Tom Cruise on the big screen. Those initial chats about starring in "Maverick," however, seemed to help Hamilton secure his next gig. 

He'll be starring in and producing Joseph Kosinski and Brad Pitt's untitled racing film for Apple TV+. Set in the world of Formula One racing, the film reunites "Top Gun: Maverick" director Kosinski with franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The duo asked Hamilton to join the film and help ensure its authenticity, something that excites the driver. "I felt my job really has been to try to call BS [...] Just giving them advice about what racing is really about and what, as a racing fan, would appeal and what would not," he told GQ. While he missed out on Cruise's flick, Hamilton could potentially be responsible for another cinematic classic. Details are slim but hopefully, the film can make box office history like "Top Gun: Maverick." 

Seeing as Hamilton already has a working relationship with Kosinski and Bruckheimer and a friendship with Cruise, it's possible that he could still have a shot at the upcoming "Top Gun 3," which is in the works at Paramount