Back in 1986, Kelly McGillis took our breath away as a sexy instructor and lover to aspiring Navy fighter pilot Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Twenty-seven years later, the out actress remains breathtaking, and with the movie being released today in 3-D on Blu-ray, audiences will have a whole new way to view one of her career highlights.
Actually, McGillis, who came out in 2009 in an interview on The Advocate’s sister site SheWired, has had plenty of highlights in her estimable career. Her films include hits such as 1985’s Witness and 1988’s The Accused. She has acted frequently onstage— for instance, as Mrs. Robinson in the 2004 national tour of the Broadway production of The Graduate — and on television, with a notable 2008 role in The L Word. She says, however, that she owes much of her success to Top Gun.
“I think that it made me a household name in a lot of ways,” she says. “It gave me the opportunity to take time off and go do theater.”
The film, directed by Tony Scott, intersperses steamy love scenes with airborne action; in addition to the encounters between McGillis’s Charlie and Cruise’s Maverick, there’s a palpable homoerotic tension between Maverick and rival Iceman, played by Val Kilmer. Viewers can also enjoy seeing Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, and Tim Robbins on their way to stardom.
McGillis says she has nothing but good memories of making Top Gun. “I had a very good time with everyone on the film,” she says. “There was a lot of really good camaraderie on the set.” Of Scott, who committed suicide last year, she says, “It’s such a tremendous loss. He had such a visual gift.”
She predicts that seeing the film in 3-D will be a visual treat and “very different from the original movie,” but she’s not sure she’ll watch it. “I don’t love watching myself,” she explains.
McGillis, who is no longer with longtime partner Melanie Leis, apparently doesn’t love talking about herself much either. When asked about the impact of her coming-out on her career, she is noncommittal. Also, she has nothing to say about Accused costar Jodie Foster’s coming-out speech at this year’s Golden Globe ceremony. “No comment,” McGillis says. “None of my business.”
McGillis continues to express herself through her acting, though. Her recent film appearances include roles as the kindly neighbor of a sinister family in the thriller We Are What We Are, which screened at Sundance this year, and as a social worker in the family comedy-drama Tio Papi. And she intends to stay busy with her career. Asked what the future holds, she says, “I will still be doing what I’m doing.” Undoubtedly that will include many breathtaking performances.
The 3-D Blu-ray edition of Top Gun, which includes the film remastered in high definition plus a making-of documentary, interviews, music videos, and other extras, is available today from Paramount Home Media Distribution. View clips below.