The Navy Deleted Photos From “Top Gun: Maverick” Director Joseph Kosinski’s Camera

As for what he saw, it's a mystery

Joseph Kosinski
Joseph Kosinski attends the AFI Awards Luncheon at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 13, 2023.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Among this year’s 10 Oscar nominees for Best Picture was Top Gun: Maverick, which makes sense — the film was, after all, a huge critical and commercial success. However things go on the night of the ceremony, though, it seems likely that Maverick will hold one distinction above and beyond the other nine nominated films: it’s the only one where a branch of the U.S. military deleted its director’s camera at some point during production.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new article in Task & Purpose. The article puts the spotlight on comments made by Maverick director Joseph Kosinski in a recent interview with Deadline in which he spoke about the “quest for authenticity” that informed his approach to the film.

“When you’re directing the film, you kind of get to become a ‘subject matter expert’, which is the Navy term—the SME—on any subject you want,” Kosinski told Deadline. “So, I got to live that dream of being in the Navy for a couple years.”

This took him to places most civilians wouldn’t be able to access — which led to one especially fraught moment. “I had my camera confiscated at one point. Wiped clean,” he recalled. “I took some pictures and maybe captured something I wasn’t supposed to capture, and my camera was quickly returned to me without any photos on it.”

As Task & Purpose notes, it’s not clear what exactly Kosinski saw — but it does seem very likely that he was the only director of an Oscar-nominated film this year to have that experience. Though who knows — maybe there was a whole subplot about nuclear submarines cut from Tár or something like that.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.