Top Gun 2 filming in IWV

Top Gun 2 filming in IWVTom Cruise, in his iconic appearance in “Top Gun,” allegedly comes to the Indian Wells Valley for the sequel to the popular ’80s movie — Courtesy still

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By REBECCA NEIPP

News Review Staff Writer

Tom Cruise was speeding down Brown Road, driving a convertible, in Inyokern on Tuesday. The rumor spread like wildfire and was corroborated by countless “witnesses” who may or may not have seen the iconic celebrity in person.

But even though official sources declined to comment on his reported appearance here, the fact that Top Gun 2 is filming some scenes for the upcoming sequel in the Indian Wells Valley has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the valley.

Renee Hatcher, director of corporate communications for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, acknowledged in a written statement that Paramount Pictures have filmed scenes and/or coordinated preproduction at numerous sites throughout California, including China Lake.

“Paramount and the Navy are working together to coordinate ongoing productions at various additional locations, including several Navy bases,” said Hatcher.

Like many other local officials, she stated that some details relating to the current and future roles of providing filming support cannot be disclosed because of agreements signed by Paramount and Department of Defense.

Paramount, whose crew peaks at almost 300 during a two-week stay in the valley, has been scattered across hotel rooms around Ridgecrest this week. Several roads in and around Inyokern were blocked off during the obvious (if unconfirmed) film shoot earlier this week. However, the main star is reportedly flying in and out of IYK and not staying at any local properties.

“Productions of this size come here about once every five to 10 years,” said Dan Spurgeon, manager of the SpringHill Suites.

“This is a real feather in the cap of the film commission, and it’s why we have a film commission — to help facilitate opportunities like this.”

Spurgeon said that he signed a nondisclosure agreement, which prohibits him from discussing specific details of the project, but he did confirm the tremendous economic benefit of the number of room nights being sold by local hospitality institutions and the associated business that many visitors bring with them.

The anticipated revenue for hotels is about $300,000 — which means about $30,000 in transient occupancy taxes for the city and another $9,000 to the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Using the standard market multiplier, that means those guests are spending another $600,000 on food, fuel, car rentals and other services and amenities.

“This is a big deal. If I said we will see a million-dollar boost to our economy, I would not be overstating it.”

Officials at Inyokern Airport and China Lake — two of the reported sites of filming — declined to comment on the project.

But according to Spurgeon, no matter who is staying here and why they came, “the economics alone make it a great thing for our community.”

Story First Published: 2018-09-28