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Tom Cruise returned to the big screen this week as Maverick in the sequel to Top Gun. Despite the fact the film is hitting cinemas almost 40 years after the original 1986 film, it has brought back most of the original cast to continue the story of the Top Gun flying school.

Jennifer Connelly is one of the few new characters to grace the screen, and it sounds like a lot is riding on her involvement.

Connelly plays Maverick’s new love interest, Penelope “Penny” Benjamin – the daughter of the former admiral of the series. She replaces Cruise’s previous on-screen love interest, Kelly McGillis, who was axed from the series. Director Joseph Kosinski said he didn’t want to retread old ground, but McGillis herself said it’s because she’s “old and fat”.

Regardless, Connelly is now the main attraction for Cruise. But, when she signed up for the incredible sequel, she refused to tell Cruise – who is also the film’s producer – that she was “terrified” of flying.

Connelly recently revealed: “I’m not a big fan of flying and I actually went through a stage when I was incredibly bad at flying. It was very traumatic for me and anyone near me on an aeroplane.”

With this secret well-kept, Connelly was then asked to join Cruise on a flight before they started filming. “We were just supposed to be sitting on the tarmac and he starts talking to me about this plane,” she recalled. “It’s a P51, it’s a vintage plane.”

Before long, Cruise invited Connelly to take a spin with him – at 40,000 feet.

READ MORE: Tom Cruise: Top Gun 2 surprise original film cameos and shock death

Connelly said: “It was dawn and we were in the desert and it was kind of beautiful.” She also revealed Cruise shot a wonderful scene on a boat but was not happy with it.

Before long, he decided to change everything about it and reshoot the scenes in an entirely different location.

She explained: “We filmed first time outside of San Diego and it was very beautiful and lovely shots and there were dolphins even swimming beside us.”

But Cruise was not happy. He told Connelly: “Yeah, this isn’t fast enough.” “So,” Connelly recalled. “We redid the scene and went to San Francisco, for the rough weather, for the wind.”

Top Gun Maverick is in cinemas now.