F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton on Turning Down ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Role, Praise From ‘Yoda’s Dad’

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he had to turn down a fighter pilot’s role in Tom Cruise hit “Top Gun: Maverick,” directed by Joseph Kosinski.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hamilton, who is a friend of Cruise, says that he saw “Top Gun” as a child and fixated on being a fighter pilot. “So when I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to ask him [Cruise],’ ” Hamilton told Vanity Fair. “I said, ‘I don’t care what role it is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back.’ ” In the event, Cruise agreed and the role wasn’t that of a cleaner but a fighter pilot.

However, the film’s schedule clashed with the finale of the Formula 1 season and Hamilton could not take up the role. He informed Cruise and Kosinski, describing the conversation as “the most upsetting call that I think I’ve ever had.”

Hamilton will have another shot at the silver screen in the form of the as yet untitled Formula 1 film featuring Brad Pitt and to be directed by Kosinski, where he is one of the producers. In the project, which is at Apple, Pitt is playing a driver who comes out of retirement to compete alongside a rookie driver and the titans of the sport.

Hamilton arranged for Pitt to tour the factories in the U.K. where this year’s Formula 1 car for Mercedes was created. Hamilton has also served as a script consultant, telling Vanity Fair: “To hear the B.S. that’s in the script because the Americans that are writing it are just getting newly accustomed to Formula 1.”

The champion driver is also thankful to George Lucas who elevated Hamilton to “hero status” after a rare blip in Abu Dhabi in 2021. “It’s one of the greatest compliments you could receive,” Hamilton said. “It is very, very surreal to grow up watching ‘Star Wars’ and have Yoda’s dad say positive things about you.”