Jennifer Connelly made a rare red carpet appearance with her 24-year-old son Kai Dugan overnight, as they took in the mighty Top Gun: Maverick premiere.

The actress, who shares eldest son Kai with former partner, photographer David Dugan, absolutely shone at the film premiere, as the pair were joined by Jennifer’s husband Paul Bettany.

Jennifer, 51, welcomed Kai during her romance with David two years before meeting Paul, 50, on the set of 2001 film A Beautiful Mind.

Strutting the red carpet as a trio in San Diego on Wednesday, Jennifer wore a resplendent gold Louis Vuitton gown, while Paul was suited and booted and Kai sported a slick leather jacket. Very on Top Gun point, we must say.

Making quite the entrance fitting for a film showcasing military horsepower, the family arrived together on the famed USS Midway aircraft carrier – which was nearly as impressive as lead actor Tom Cruise’s entrance, as he was choppered in on a helicopter.

On this occasion, though, he didn’t fly it himself.



Speaking at the anticipated premiere, Tom said it had been a case of ‘now or never’ when discussing plans for the sequel, which comes 36 years after the release of the 1986 hit film.

Due to be released in cinemas on May 27, Maverick sees the Hollywood star reprise the role of US naval aviator Pete Mitchell, with Jennifer joining, alongside Miles Teller, Monica Barbaro, Jon Hamm and Glen Powell – as well as OG star Val Kilmer.



After touching down and stepping out onto the USS Midway carrier in San Diego, California, the actor thanked fans and praised his fellow cast members.

Speaking to Deadline, he said: ‘This moment right here, getting to see everyone, no masks. This is pretty epic.

‘It was really now or never, it was a moment, we were looking at how to tell this story… I’ve been thinking about it and figuring it out.

‘I thought if we’re going to go in, we have to go in now.’

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He added: ‘Of course (Top Gun) is this great summer experience, and what it became to audiences and generations is something I could never have imagined at the time we were making it.

‘But it’s a drama at its heart and it has that kind of storytelling that I cut my teeth on, that I love seeing with these characters.

‘The movie means a lot to me, a lot to my career, a lot to the studio and a lot to audiences.’

Tom provided his cast members with a rigorous training programme in preparation for the film, including real-life jet plane flying lessons.

He explained: ‘This cast is amazing, they’re unbelievable these guys… they’re a very talented group.’

The feeling was mutual, with the actor praised by his co-stars as a ‘mentor and friend’ who ‘cares that everybody wins’.

Glen told the outlet: ‘Tom Cruise doesn’t half-arse anything.

‘Without Tom on this movie being our flight instructor, our mentor, our friend, there is no way we could pull this off.

‘Tom is Maverick in real life, he’s as cool as it gets.

‘The thing that makes him special is that he cares that everybody wins. You watch this movie and every single character in the movie wins, everyone looks cool.

‘It’s never about him, it’s about the end product.’

Meanwhile Mad Men star Jon, who plays Vice, paid tribute to Tom’s ‘unparalleled work ethic’ and noted he was the ‘first guy on set and the last guy to leave,’ musing he ‘works harder than everybody’.

Maverick was originally due for release in July 2019 but was repeatedly pushed back due to the Covid pandemic.

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