Lewis Hamilton, right, reluctantly turned down the role of a fighter pilot in "Top Gun: Maverick." (Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Formula One champion told Vanity Fair in an interview published Monday that his friend Tom Cruise agreed to cast him in the sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” ― but that he reluctantly had to turn down the opportunity.
“When I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ I have to ask’” Cruise to be cast in the film, Hamilton said. “I don’t care what the role is. I’ll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back.”
The racing champ said he and Cruise “built a friendship over time” after the movie star invited him to the set of “Edge of Tomorrow.” So when Hamilton asked, Cruise agreed to cast him as a fighter pilot in the summer blockbuster. But ultimately, film production coincided with his racing season and he had to turn it down.
Hamilton remembers that conversation as “the most upsetting call that I think I’ve ever had.”
The seven-time world champion is nonetheless broadening his horizons, however, and told Vanity Fair he’s working with “planet-friendly startups.” Hamilton is also a new Hollywood player and producing “Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski’s new film, “Formula One.”
The 37-year-old is also vetting that script as a consultant “because the Americans that are writing it are just getting newly accustomed to Formula 1.” He’s already met with Brad Pitt, who stars as an aging driver who abandons retirement to challenge rookie racers.
Hamilton and Pitt have since agreed to tour the factories in Britain where Mercedes-Benz is manufacturing this season’s Formula One cars, according to Deadline.
Meanwhile, Cruise spent his 60th birthday supporting Hamilton at the British Grand Prix.
“He’s a great friend of mine,” Cruise said at the time, according to Deadline. “I hope he has a great day.”
While Hamilton came in third place behind Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz Jr. that day, “Top Gun: Maverick” saw Cruise win his first $100 million box office opening when the film hit theaters in May. It has since grossed more than $1.35 billion at the global box office.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.