San Diego

Local ‘Top Gun: Maverick' Extra Recalls Brush With Tom Cruise on Original Film

Kymri Wilt worked as a background actor on the original film and was invited back for "Top Gun: Maverick"

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After 36 years and two years of pandemic postponements, the long-anticipated sequel to "Top Gun" hits theaters this Memorial Day weekend and it's bringing up fond memories of the original for San Diegans.

For Kymri Wilt, the nostalgia is a little stronger than most. Wilt worked as a background actor on the original film and was invited back for "Top Gun: Maverick."

"It’s really pretty special," Wilt said. "My earliest memories in Coronado are going down to the beach and the big military jets would take off from North Island and fly right over the beach."

Wilt was cast as a military wife background actor and was on set for one day. You can spot her when Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan) deplanes to meet Goose (Anthony Edwards).

"That was my big moment. You can hear my footsteps. You might be able to hear (me say) 'taxi,'" she said.

Wilt's other "big moment" was meeting the star of the movie, Tom Cruise, though she wouldn't realize her brush with fame for another year.

Tom Cruise is back in San Diego for a red carpet event on the USS Midway for the premiere of 'Top Gun: Maverick!

"I remember at the tables, there was this cute guy sitting there all alone, kinda far off from other people. So I went through the craft services line, got my meal and I went over and sat down at the table by him," Wilt said. "I noticed he was left-handed, we said something about being left-handed and talked about having birthdays in July or whatever. Very nice. Very cute. He went his way, I went mine."

A year later, when she watched the film in theaters, Wilt made the connection.

"I had no clue until the movie came out that I was actually talking to Tom Cruise."

Wilt was invited back to work on "Top Gun: Maverick," but a non-disclosure agreement kept her from giving away too many details.

"Let’s just say, I had the great honor of working alongside some very highly decorated military officials."

Wilt's first time on screen was in "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," which was also shot in San Diego County. Her father was an extra in "Some Like It Hot" starring Marilyn Monroe, which was famously filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado.

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