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29 Oct

Filming with airplanes is a whole calibre of difficulty that Tom Cruise and I had set up from the beginning. Tom has a real belief - he has way more experience than I do in action - but say my experience on I want to give the audience real experiences.

To make movies that transport you not only to a different place and time, but also put you in the car that Jason Bourne’s racing through the streets of Europe, or for Tom Cruise, the experience of what it’s like to hang off the tallest building in the world.

We’ve been lucky enough to have spoken to director Doug Liman a few times now at Den Of Geek, and we can safely say he’s a constant source of fascinating anecdotes.

Indeed, his delivery of fascinating and sometimes outlandish stories can be so matter-of-fact and deadpan that it sometimes takes us a few seconds to truly appreciate how special they are.) together.

Where other pilots read a book, or listen to the radio. Usually the DP was in the plane with Tom and I was in the helicopter.

Now you have to get a jet, Tom’s Aerostar and the helicopter at the exact same spot in the Gulf of Mexico at the exact same moment to film the chase sequence.

Tom flew himself to set in either his plane or mine.

The airplane got to South American because Tom flew it there.

We’re not actually risking our lives to the extent that it maybe appears on screen, but there’s a level of risk being undertaken by the filmmaker and the stars, and the spectacle of that shows up on screen in a way that a CG sequence in a Marvel film can never replicate.And because it’s set in the 80s - you really could be a cowboy in the 80s.The kind of flying Barry Seal back then just isn’t possible today because of the way the world’s changed. Instead of riding horses they were flying planes, and there’s still an analogue component to that.Anyone who’s a pilot is familiar with the adage that anything that you buy for your car, if you need it for a boat, it’s four times as much.A battery for a car, or a screw, will be four times as much as a battery for a boat.American Made is based on the true story of Barry Seal, a former airline pilot who, at the height of his criminal success in the 1980s, was one of the most prolific drug smugglers in the United States - something he managed to achieve while simultaneously running missions for the Central Intelligence Agency.Liman and Cruise’s passion for flying led to the majority of the aerial sequences being shot for real, which makes for a lively conversation by itself.It has its own pleasures, but it’s fundamentally different.So Tom and I had a commitment to doing the flying for real without maybe understanding how difficult that would be.To be able to make a movie where the flying is in the DNA of making the movie, we’re living and breathing it, you know? What were the practical problems, then, of these aerial shoots? One of our references was The challenge with airplanes is, the one Tom Cruise is flying is in the same vicinity as the one the Drug Enforcement Agency is flying, which could be a jet.We didn’t just share a house when we made the movie - we shared a passion, we shared a hobby. I sometimes fly a flight simulator, like a Nintendo flight simulator, when I’m at cruise in the plane. [A half-second silence.] For people who are committed to flying... It’s supposed to be chasing him, and the helicopter that I’m in, still has to maintain the speed.