Luca Guadagnino: We Need More Surprising Sequels Like Top Gun: Maverick

Luca Guadagnino has no problem with sequels coming decades after their original predecessors.

The “Bones and All” and “Call Me By Your Name” director mused about the success of “Top Gun: Maverick” more than 35 years after the Tom Cruise-led first movie.

“‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ which is a movie that trades very deeply with nostalgia and repetition, comes with the novelty of happening 25 years later,” Guadagnino told Deadline. “The idea that a sequel comes after a quarter of a century is, in its way, a very smart, intelligent, and thoughtful way of doing business. Because now, even if the movie holds very deep nostalgia in the audience — the nostalgic gaze of Tony Scott and the idea of the world in the way it was in 1986 — you are there for the ride of Tom Cruise’s Maverick being a man now, not a boy. So, I would say there are always ways to create something that is surprising and interesting.”

Guadagnino added, “You have to make prototypes because you have to recreate again and again the possibility of excitement in the investment of an audience toward something truly new. Every-size-fits-all is Walmart. Every-size-fits-all is an artificial concept that belongs to the practices of capitalism, and the execution of a dull idea of capital. A smart idea of capital comes with the notion of prototype; it comes with the idea of finding new territory in order to expand even more.”

The director clarified that the “business” of filmmaking relies on remolding certain consistent qualities in a proper way.

“The reiteration of something that has been set in stone and repeated and repeated over and over again is a bad practice because it’s pollution,” he added. “It’s the pollution of imageries, of the world, and it makes the environment less livable, and thus less consumable. It’s a strange contradiction. We’re not working on parameters that are set in stone, like chemistry or physics or mathematics. We are working with something that deals with the unconscious, and we have to allow that to be cunning. If we trade in the unconscious for the algorithm of it all—whether it’s the algorithm itself or the expectations that come from it—that is where you fail. ‘You can’t do that because our data tells us the audience wants this.’ Well, that way you would never have had ‘The Godfather.’ You would never have had ‘GoodFellas.’ You’d never even have had ‘Mission: Impossible,’ the first movie by Brian De Palma.”

Guadagnino shared, “We have to see what happens and how things morph, and not be too disheartened by the present because there are new ways to find and be excited about.”

While filming “Bones and All,” an ’80s-set cannibal love story, Guadagnino scouted locations in the Midwest and “saw a country that was hanging so desperately onto a set of values visually that was reflected in the pictures of the ’80s.”

Fittingly, “Top Gun: Maverick” also achieved unprecedented success at the summer blockbuster box office.

“So, in a way, even if the internet arrived and everything changed, I still believe America is bathing in a nostalgic sense of self that makes it the country that is the most forward-thinking and also the country that is the most frozen,” Guadagnino concluded. “That’s how I saw the ’80s in a way.”

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