Jennifer Connelly Describes Her 'Magical' Experience Flying With Tom Cruise (Exclusive)

Jennifer Connelly at TCAs 2020
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The 'Top Gun: Maverick' actress opened up to ET on Tuesday about her high-flying adventures with her pilot co-star.

Jennifer Connelly's experience shooting Top Gun: Maverick was filled with some high-flying adventure -- even if she didn't initially know it was going to be.

ET's Nischelle Turner sat down with Connelly during a press event on Tuesday, on board the famed USS Midway aircraft carrier, and the celebrated actress recalled how co-star Tom Cruise took her on a totally unexpected aerial thrill ride.

"Originally, I wasn't supposed to fly in the movie, because my character is not an aviator," explained Connelly, 51, who played Penny Benjamin, a single mother, bar owner and love interest to Cruise' titular Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. "So I had no scenes, no scripted scenes, in an airplane."

However, things changed when Connelly was "in the plane with him shooting a scene" that was originally supposed to take place on the tarmac.

"He said, 'So Jen, have you ever been in a P51 before?' And I said, 'No, I haven't. It just hasn't come up for me.' And he said, 'Have you ever done any aerobatic flying at all?' And I said, 'No, why? Is this going somewhere?'" Connelly recalled with a laugh. "He said, 'Well, it's just going to be very gentle, we're gonna do some gentle rolls,' and so that's how he broke it to be that we're going to be flying in that plane."

"But it was really the most extraordinary experience," she added. "He's an incredible pilot and it was pretty magical getting to do that."

As Maverick's romantic interest in the long-awaited sequel, Connelly and Cruise also share a scene on the back of a motorcycle that is a visual callback to one of the most famous images from the original film, featuring Cruise and Kelly McGillis.

"It was so much fun. It was, for me, one of those moments from the original movie that you remember, them by the beach, the beautiful light, and then there we were kind of paying homage to that sequence in our own version," Connelly reflected. "It was really fun and, again, just not something that comes up in my daily life, riding a motorcycle with Tom Cruise."

Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters May 27.