Lewis Hamilton's busy Formula One schedule meant he had to turn down a role in the upcoming movie Top Gun: Maverick, but the five-time world champion says he still harbours Hollywood ambitions.
Hamilton is no stranger to the movie industry and in recent years played cameo roles in the Cars franchise as well as Zoolander 2. The role in the Top Gun sequel promised to be bigger than his previous appearances, but he was forced to turn it down due to a lack of free time in his hectic schedule.
"I was trying to get in Top Gun because I'm a massive fan of Top Gun, but I didn't have time to do any filming," he said in an interview with ESPN. "But I had an opportunity to do it and I couldn't do it."
Since the start of 2018, Hamilton has explored a parallel career as a fashion designer with Tommy Hilfiger and was also an executive producer on The Game Changers -- a documentary film about vegan athletes starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hamilton revealed that he has an agent working for him in the movie business, and that he has even sent out audition tapes to try to land roles in recent years.
"I do want to do it," he said. "I auditioned for a movie a while ago and it took one day to learn the role. I had a fashion show in Paris, and I probably had maybe four or five shows to go to, so in between I quickly changed and saw this [acting] coach, and I saw her for 20 minutes and we quickly went through one part and then I went to a show and came back and went through another part. By the end of the day I had to record a video to send it to Los Angeles -- it was so cool!
"But I didn't get the part -- it was a big part! There was no way I was going to get this part, I think. Someone like Kurt Russell got it -- well, not Kurt Russell, but someone who works alongside him. I knew I wasn't going to get it!"
With a schedule of 21 race weekends per year (set to increase to 22 in 2020), preseason testing, sponsor appearances and his own personal commitments, Hamilton admits it is unlikely he would be able to balance a role in a movie with his F1 career.
"I definitely don't have time for movies [right now]," he said. "I would take up my whole winter, so I wouldn't get a break, so that's the difficult thing that I'm struggling with right now.
"If you saw my calendar ... it's super heavy-loaded and I'm trying to take days out to give myself some time back, so I can be the best that I can be here [in F1]. So it is just trying to find a balance.
"At the end of the year, you really want to soak up the relaxation. I have all these things I want to do: I want to design that, work on my music -- but that means time away from family and time away from training and all these different things.
"You have always got to keep an eye on the most important thing and the ultimate goal and that's being the best in this job, because that enables all the other things to happen. If I am not winning here, then all the other things just get squidgy."
After dedicating his life to Formula One, Hamilton is also wary of the level of training he would need to reach a level he is happy with as an actor.
"I don't know if I'm going to be good at acting," he added. "I don't know if I am ever going to be good at movies, but I'll give it a try. You look at a lot of people that do it and they are not really good ... and I know how hard it is for any craft, because it's taken me years to master what I do.
"I know in anything, whatever it may be, to master a craft it takes so much time and effort. But because I have experienced it in Formula One, I understand that and appreciate that. So I know if I do movies, I have to put so much work in and have so much ground to cover. I don't know if I will ever have time for that because the fashion stuff is also going to take a lot of my time."