F1 Star Lewis Hamilton Turned Down A Role In Top Gun: Maverick, And The Actor Who Ended Up Playing That Character Thanked Him In The Best Way

 Lewis Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton.

Top Gun: Maverick was not only the biggest movie in its year of release but one of the most successful films ever made. Not bad for a sequel that took decades to produce. The stars of the movie are certainly in very different places in their careers than they likely would be had they not been part of the film, and one has F1 racer Lewis Hamilton to thank for his role because Hamilton turned down the part first.

Lewis Hamilton, like many athletes, has broadened his career into other avenues and is currently involved in film production, but he very nearly had his first job in front of the camera in Top Gun: Maverick. The star recently told GQ that he had been offered the role of one of Maverick’s pilot students, but circumstances forced him to say no. Here’s what happened.

How Lewis Hamilton Was Offered A Role In Top Gun: Maverick

The story of Lewis Hamilton and Top Gun: Maverick starts years before the movie was ever a real possibility. Hamilton met Tom Cruise back in 2015 during the production of Edge of Tomorrow when the movie star invited the racing star to the set. Hamilton and Cruise became friends and during dinner one night, and during a discussion of Top Gun, Hamilton mentioned that if a sequel ever happened he would love to be a part of it.

Cut to years later and when Top Gun: Maverick is now a real project, Cruise remembers what Hamilton said and calls him up. The problem, as is often the case, becomes one of scheduling. The Maverick shoot is happening near the end of the F1 season, one where Hamilton is competitive. On top of that, it sounds like the racer wasn’t sure about his abilities in front of the camera, considering the only film role he’d had previously was a voice role in two of the Cars movies. He explained…

Firstly, I hadn’t even had, like, an acting lesson. And I don’t want to be the one that lets this movie down. And then secondly, I just really didn’t have the time to dedicate to it. I remember having to tell Joe and Tom—and it broke my heart. And then I regretted it, naturally, when they show me the movie and it’s: It could’ve been me! Oh, God, I’m still…

One can imagine just how disappointing it was to have to say no to a role in a big Tom Cruise movie, never mind the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun. The opportunity did have its benefits. Hamilton is now producing a movie set in the world of Formula One that will be directed by Top Gun: Maverick’s Joseph Kosinki, but the racer is clearly still frustrated. One person who is not sad Hamilton said no, however, is the guy who got the role.

How Danny Ramirez Responded When He Met Hamilton

The role that Lewis Hamilton would have played was the pilot called Fanboy, which Danny Ramirez ultimately played. In response to Lewis Hamilton’s recent comments, making the role he almost had public, the actor revealed that the two had met and Ramirez had learned how close he came to not being cast. Ramirez posted to Twitter, saying…

When Joe Kosinski introduced us and said that Lewis’ role was gonna be Fanboy, I thanked him for saying no haha Appreciate the assist [Lewis Hamilton].

Hamilton responded to the tweet, saying he was happy for Ramirez getting the role. The two appear to have become friends over their shared connection. It’s quite sweet. Lewis Hamilton may have missed out on a chance to be in Top Gun: Maverick, but the word is that Top Gun 3 is in development, so perhaps there’s a chance for him to appear in the franchise after all. Maybe he and Fanboy can become friends on screen too.