Joseph Kosinski on ‘Only the Brave’, ‘Top Gun 2’, and How Jeff Bridges Changed his Life

     October 27, 2017

With Only the Brave now playing in theaters, a few days ago I sat down with director Joseph Kosinski for an extended video interview. During the wide-ranging conversation he talked about why he wanted to make Only the Brave, the genesis of the project, what it was like working outside of the studio system, and what they learned from test screenings. Plus, deleted scenes, the importance of casting, filming the Josh Brolin/Jennifer Connelly car sequence, and so much more. In addition, with Kosinski hard at work on Top Gun 2, he talked about where they are in pre-production, how he’s been visiting Naval bases and doing a ton of research, if he’s thinking about filming in IMAX, and getting to work with Jerry Bruckheimer. Finally, we also reminisce about the Tron: Legacy screening we did recently in IMAX laser projection and how Jeff Bridges agreeing to be in his Tron trailer back in 2008 changed his life.


Photo by Richard Foreman

If you haven’t seen the Only the Brave trailers, the film is based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who battled the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which blazed through Arizona in June 2013. Josh Brolin plays the guy at the top, superintendent Eric Marsh, and Miles Teller plays his new recruit, Brendan McDonaugh. As the film unfolds, we watch as a group of local firefighters fight to become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the nation. It’s an extremely well-made film that shows the determination and sacrifice of these brave men and women. Only the Brave also stars James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, and Jeff Bridges.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is what we talked about and the official synopsis.

Joseph Kosinski:

  • We reminisce about the Tron: Legacy screening we did a few months ago in laser 3D projection.
  • What laser projection does for a movie.
  • The buzz for more Tron.
  • How much was he trying to not make a science fiction movie after Tron: Legacy and Oblivion?
  • Why he wanted to make Only the Brave.
  • only-the-brave-movie-image-josh-brolin

    Image via Columbia Pictures

    Talks about how he first got involved in Only the Brave and meeting with the producers to pitch them on his take on the material.

  • How he first got the cast on the project and making the film outside of the studio system.
  • Why he doesn’t believe he is making a new movie till the second week of filming.
  • Where was the line between fact and fiction on the film? Talks about why they changed the order of how things happened in real life.
  • Talks about filming the Josh Brolin / Jennifer Connelly car sequence.
  • What cameras did he use and why?
  • Talks about filming the fire sequences and what was real and what was CGI.
  • How long was his first cut versus the finished film?
  • Talks about deleted scenes and what he had to cut to get the film to a PG-13.
  • Will they be releasing an extended cut on Blu-ray or just deleted scenes?
  • What did they learn from test screenings?
  • Talks about how they added a bit of information at the end because people wanted to know what happened.
  • What surprised him about the making of Only the Brave? Talks about the importance of casting.
  • Who came up with the idea of the cast doing a boot camp?
  • Talks about the baby sequence and where the idea came from.
  • What sequence was cut out at the last moment before locking picture?
  • The hours hotshots are expected to work.
  • Talks about how he got Jeff Bridges in the film.
  • only-the-brave-jeff-bridges-josh-brolin

    Image via Sony Pictures

    Talks about how Jeff Bridges started his career with that cool trailer for Tron back in 2008.

  • How people went crazy when they showed that Tron trailer in 2008 at Comic-Con.
  • How did he get involved in Top Gun 2?
  • How he’s currently working on the script with Eric Warren Singer.
  • How much has changed since the first Top Gun. Talks about how he’s been visiting Naval bases and doing a ton of research.
  • How the original Top Gun led to a big jump in Navy recruiting.
  • How he wants the film to be realistic.
  • Talks about getting to work with Jerry Bruckheimer.
  • When will he be shooting the sequel? Says in the spring.
  • Is he already thinking about using IMAX or what kind of cameras will he use?
  • Has he thought about rating?
  • How much has meeting with the Navy led to script changes?
  • Does he know where he might be filming the sequel?

Image via Columbia Pictures

Here’s the official synopsis for Only the Brave:

It’s not what stands in front of you… it’s who stands beside you. Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the nation.  As most of us run from danger, they run toward it – they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.

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