JJ Abrams is always on the go. If he isn’t directing a project or penning a new script, then he is most likely producing a project via Bad Robot Productions. It would seem the man never rests. Further proof of this comes from Collider, who reports that JJ Abrams is set to produce a new documentary with IMAX following the top Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron and real-life Top Gun pilots, ‘The Blue Angels.’
Joining IMAX and JJ Abrams in bringing the project to life are Glen Powell (who is set to star in Top Gun: Maverick), Zipper Bros Films and Dolphin Entertainment. They’re working to get the project out for a late 2023 release. The project will be written and directed by Paul Crowder, the former musician turned filmmaker who previously served as an executive producer on a documentary following former FIA President Max Mosely. He also directed another JJ Abrams project, Showtime’s TV Mini-series UFO.
The Blue Angels squadron formed back in 1946 and the synopsis for the film tells us what viewers can expect to see when they show up in the theater. “The Blue Angels will follow the newest class of the storied Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron through intense training and into a season of heart-stopping aerial artistry, and the veterans on the team who, this year, will take their final flights. It will mark the first time the iconic blue and yellow F/A-18 Super Hornets will be featured in IMAX. The film will also capture the globe-spanning spectacle of this travelling air show through key members of the support staff on the ground, as well as from loved ones left at home.”
For those thinking this JJ Abrams project all sounds a bit Top Gun, don’t be surprised. In fact, Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of the original Top Gun told Variety that a tactic used to successfully get Tom Cruise to sign on for the role of Maverick was to have him fly with The Blue Angels Stunt Flying Squadron. “It wasn’t easy. We wanted Tom after we saw Risky Business and he kind of hemmed and hawed. So we arranged for him to fly with the Blue Angels at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California-He landed and he walked over to a phone booth and called me up and said, ‘Jerry. I’m making the movie. I love it.’”
It looks like The Blue Angels again were responsible for encouraging another star’s involvement in a project as Top Gun: Maverick star Glen Powell will be serving as a producer on The Blue Angels documentary. He says that flying with the squadron inspired him to get the documentary made. “I made two naval aviation films back-to-back, lived on bases among our men and women in uniform, and learned firsthand what it takes for them to be the best of the best. After flying with the Blue Angels in an air show, I saw an incredible opportunity to make a world-class documentary.”
Helping JJ Abrams to co capture these Top Gun pilots at their awe-inspiring best is of course IMAX. Abrams is no stranger to working with IMAX as he is a prolific maker of action-packed movies that look great on the larger screens at these theaters. IMAX’s presentation of these iconic pilots is sure to look breathtaking on-screen. If The Blue Angels mark just the beginning of a whole slew of documentaries for IMAX, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better starting point than Top Gun in the real world.
For those who cannot wait until the expected late 2023 release of this documentary to see incredible actions of bravery and skill in the sky, then the long-awaited release of Top Gun: Maverick will surely suffice. Picking up several decades after the first film, Tom Cruise returns as the iconic pilot Maverick, training a new generation of star pilots. After an utterly staggering six delays, that film is finally set to release in cinemas on May 27, 2022. As for JJ Abrams, he is constantly announcing new projects, with one of his latest being a television series adaptation of the iconic Harrison Ford movie Presumed Innocent for Apple TV+. That will surely be another great addition to film and TV by Abrams and it looks like this forthcoming Blue Angels documentary is set to be equally enthralling.