Kelly McGillis stood tall in 'Top Gun'

Statuesque actress Kelly McGillis had to make herself small around Tom Cruise.
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Published: February 8, 2013
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His hot shot jet pilot character may have soared thousands of feet in the air on-screen, but in reality Tom Cruise's “Top Gun” leading lady towered over him on the ground.

Kelly McGillis — who played “Charlie,” the beautiful civilian flight instructor opposite Cruise's cocky but talented Navy flyer nicknamed “Maverick” — stood a good three inches taller than her male co-star.

Cruise is reportedly 5 feet, 7 inches tall. McGillis says she stands at 5 feet, 10 inches in her stocking feet. And that's how she had to play her character in “Top Gun.”

“Well first off, Tom and (director) Tony (Scott) and I really weren't bothered by the height difference, but apparently Paramount was, so I acted the whole time in my stocking feet,” McGillis said in a phone interview Monday from her home in Edneyville, N.C.

“And when I see the film now I see myself trying to shrink, you know? I see myself as the film goes on trying to reduce myself.”

A remastered IMAX 3-D version of the 1986 action-drama opens in theaters nationwide Friday for a six-day engagement and is set for release as a Blu-ray 3-D/Blu-ray combo package on Feb. 19.

“It doesn't seem that long,” said McGillis, 55, who was just shy of 30 when “Top Gun” was originally released.

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