Par eyes 2nd ‘Gun’

While there has been speculation about “Top Gun” sequel almost since its 1986 release, Paramount Pictures has moved a step closer to getting the project off the ground with the hiring of screenwriter Jack Epps Jr. to develop “Top Gun II.”

Epps and Jim Cash wrote the original film, which grossed more than $ 176 million domestically.

Epps, who is in the early stages of writing the sequel, will serve as exec producer and might direct.

Paramount sources also said that the film’s original producers, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, will not be involved.

Tom Cruise, who starred in the original, and his producing partner, Paula Wagner, weren’t available for comment. However, sources said that the film is being developed by their Par-based company and he is expected to star in the sequel.

Studio sources insist there is little more than an idea at this point, but the sequel reportedly revolves around one of the first women pilots to attend the Top Gun school. Epps has been researching the project and reportedly will travel to various locations, including Fallon Naval Air Station, the site of the original film, and Alameda Naval Air Station.

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