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Top Gun Producer Flattered By Tarantino’s Monologue About The Film’s Gay Subtext


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Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer says he’s flattered by Quentin Tarantino’s famous monologue about the film’s gay subtext. The original Tom Cruise action movie was a smash hit in 1986, grossing $356 million worldwide. Later in 2021, Cruise will return as the iconic Navy pilot with a need for speed for the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick.

Of course to many people the original Top Gun was more than just a blockbuster movie about macho men flying planes. A gay subtext was indeed being read into the movie almost from the very beginning, something that was easy to do given scenes like the famous shirtless beach volleyball game. Filmmaker Tarantino then took things to the next level when he performed a monologue for the 1994 indie movie Sleep With Me in which his character spells out in detail just how much of a secret gay film Top Gun really is.

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RELATED: Everything We Know About Top Gun: Maverick

With Top Gun: Maverick set to bring Cruise back to the big screen along with a new generation of hot shot Navy pilots, the original movie is naturally being revisited (indeed it was recently given a 35th Anniversary re-release in theaters). Producer Bruckheimer was the latest to be asked for his recollections about Top Gun, and he in fact addressed the gay reading of the movie and specifically Tarantino’s monologue. “When you make a movie, people can interpret it in any way they want and see something in it that the filmmakers had no idea they were tapping,” he somewhat diplomatically told Vulture. He went on to talk about Tarantino’s connection to himself and Top Gun director Tony Scott:

Tony and Quentin were very good friends. In fact, Quentin came in and helped Tony and myself on Crimson Tide. He came in and wrote a couple of scenes for us. So there was a great camaraderie and respect between Quentin and Tony. Coming from Quentin, it’s always a compliment.

Tarantino’s “complimentary” Sleep With Me monologue is delivered by the character of Sid, played by Tarantino himself, during a party where he’s cornered the character of Duane played by Todd Field. Briefly, Sid’s argument is that the character of Maverick is conflicted about his sexuality, and that the entire story of Top Gun is a symbolic tug of war between Val Kilmer’s Iceman (who represents what Sid calls “the gay way”) and Kelly McGillis’ Charlie (who represents “heterosexuality”). Sid points out that at one point Maverick outright rejects Charlie’s sexual advances, and in order to win him, Charlie must dress like Iceman and bring Maverick “back from the gay way.” Sid then recalls that the movie ends with “the gay way” winning as Maverick and Iceman exchange double-entendres about “riding each other’s tails.”

Tarantino of course is famous for peppering his movies with such offbeat pop culture breakdowns. Reservoir Dogs famously begins with a whole breakfast scene where the characters argue about the meaning of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” There’s another big monologue in Kill Bill Vol. 2 where Bill explains that nebbishy Clark Kent is actually Superman’s critique of humanity. In Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino jazzes up an already tense scene with a game of “Who Am I?” that includes a commentary on the racist subtext of King Kong.

It’s of course not exactly revolutionary to suggest Top Gun is secretly a gay film, but Tarantino takes the argument all the way, which makes for an entertaining (if crudely-worded) monologue. It will be interesting to see if the director has any similar thoughts about the subtext lurking within Top Gun: Maverick when it finally arrives in theaters.

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