The Action Movies of Joseph Kosinski
Tom Cruise is heading back to the Danger Zone for one of the year's biggest blockbuster events: TOP GUN: MAVERICK. The sequel to the iconic 1986 film reunites Cruise with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and original co-star Val Kilmer for an action-packed return to the world of the Top Gun Naval academy. That school, however, is now a very different place in the modern era of drone warfare.
To help bring this thrilling adventure to the big screen, Cruise enlisted Joseph Kosinski, a director who knows a thing or two about making action movies. Below, we take a closer look at the career of Joseph Kosinski and the action movies that made him the right man for TOP GUN: MAVERICK.
[Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios]
Joseph Kosinski made a name for himself very early in his career when he directed a commercial for the video game "Gears of War." The ad, which debuted in 2006, had a very cinematic style, enhanced by the Gary Jules song "Mad World," a slow and atmospheric track most famously used in the 2001 cult sci-fi film DONNIE DARKO. The ad was a major success, and it earned Kosinski an award for Best Visual Effects at the annual AICP show, which honors artistic achievements in advertising.
It also drew the attention of Disney, which was looking to make a sequel to the classic 1982 sci-fi film TRON. The original movie starred Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who is transported into the digital world inside a computer. It was a major opportunity for Kosinski, who had never directed a feature film, let alone a major, big-budget studio film that also happened to be a sequel to a well-known classic. Naturally, Kosinski signed on to direct TRON: LEGACY, which was released in 2010, 28 years after the original film. The ambitious sci-fi flick drew comparisons to THE MATRIX and it wasn’t long before another offer came Kosinski’s way.
[Image Credit: Universal Pictures]
Before Kosinski directed the award-winning "Gears of War" ad, he had written a treatment for a sci-fi movie called OBLIVION, which was turned into a graphic novel. Although it was never actually published, the work gained enough traction to eventually become a movie headlined by one of the biggest stars in the world: Tom Cruise. `
Released in 2013, OBLIVION is an action-packed post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie that takes place in 2077, when Earth has been taken over and destroyed by a war with aliens. The remaining humans have relocated to one of Saturn’s moons. Cruise plays a technician on a dangerous mission to Earth who finds himself battling both scavengers and aliens alongside the survivor of a spacecraft crash.
Only the Brave
[Image Credit: Columbia Pictures]
Kosinski’s next film was very different from his previous work. In 2017, he directed ONLY THE BRAVE, a drama based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They're a prestigious and extremely courageous group of firefighters in Arizona who lost 19 of their 20 fighters in a tragic 2013 fire. Having directed sci-fi action flicks, Kosinski understood action well, but ONLY THE BRAVE allowed him to show off his more dramatic side through a riveting, intense drama.
Top Gun: Maverick
[Image Credit: Paramount Pictures]
Tom Cruise teased a possible TOP GUN sequel for many years, but it didn’t start coming together until 2017 when a title and director were revealed. Knowing that Cruise likes to circle back to work with a filmmaker more than once, it made sense to learn that TOP GUN: MAVERICK would be directed by Joseph Kosinski.
Kosinski was the perfect guy for the job: His first movie was a sequel to a classic released in the ’80s, like TOP GUN: MAVERICK. Kosinski already had a good working relationship with the star of this film, and he had plenty of experience working with action, drama, and flight sequences. The filmmaker also attracted another key star for TOP GUN: MAVERICK – Miles Teller, who previously appeared in ONLY THE BRAVE. We can't wait to see how the world of TOP GUN has changed when the sequel takes flight.