If the Navy chooses to accept it, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) could get its big screen debut in Tom Cruise’s next “Mission Impossible” movie.
Cruise, who starred in the Oscar-nominated “Top Gun: Maverick” spent three days aboard the aircraft carrier at the beginning of the month, MI franchise director Christopher McQuarrie said in an Instagram post.
“On behalf of the entire Mission team, I’d like to extend our deepest gratitude for what has been an extraordinary three days with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group,” he wrote.
“The short time we spent with you left us all with a newfound appreciation of the sacrifices you make in the name of security and prosperity and we thank you for your service.”
Bush is currently in the Adriatic Sea as part of the U.S. response to the Russo-Ukraine War.
Cruise, along with British actress Hannah Waddingham, known for playing Rebecca Welton, the owner of the Richmond Football Club in “Ted Lasso” and McQuarrie were featured in photos released on Friday from the ship.
Last week, entertainment trade publication Variety quoted the head of the Apulia Film Commission Antonio Parente that Cruise was aboard the carrier filming scenes for “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part Two.”
“We are proud that [the] Apulia [region] has been chosen as the operational base for this rather complex shoot,” Parente told the paper.
It is unclear what brings Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt to an aircraft carrier in the film, which is expected to be the last in the “Mission Impossible” series. In the most recent Mission Impossible film, Cruise’s Hunt stopped an organization of rogue spies and ex-government agents from harming a major water supply.
“Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning” is being split into two parts with the first going to theaters in July. The trailer for the action film shows scenes of Cruise in Italy, including Venice, which may be connected to George H.W. Bush’s appearance in the second film. It is unclear if “Mission Impossible” will call the aircraft by a different name or have it in a different location in the film.
McQuarrie announced Waddingham was joining the cast via an Instagram post from the carrier that featured her on the flight deck of Bush wearing a Carrier Strike Group 10 ball cap.
It’s unclear the time between the two films as Cruise’s hair in Navy-released photos from his time aboard the aircraft carrier is longer than in the trailer for the first Dead Reckoning film.
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While aboard George H.W. Bush, Cruise and Waddingham took pictures with the crew and hosted a screening of “Top Gun: Maverick,” according to the Friday Navy release.
“Every minute they spent with the crew of our mighty warship paid dividends toward our crew’s morale from the top-down,” Bush commanding officer Capt. Dave Pollard said in the release. “It buoys my spirits to know that the leading entertainers and filmmakers of our day not only conceptually know what we do, but they can relate to what our nation’s warriors do on a daily basis through their personal experiences aboard USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77).”
Pollard, who attended the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, also known as Top Gun, called the first “Top Gun” a Navy classic, although he also had praise for “Maverick.”
The Navy has hailed “Top Gun” as a recruiting instrument that encouraged more to enlist in the Navy. When “Maverick” was in theaters, the Navy put recruiters in theaters, USNI News previously reported. But while the Navy may believe Top Gun is a recruiting tool, history shows less of an effect. A 1993 recruiting survey found 24 percent of recruits had seen “Top Gun,” and found brochures were the most successful recruiting tool.