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Tom Cruise Advised Glen Powell To 'Lean Into The D-Baggery Of It All' On Top Gun: Maverick

Hangman is one of the newest characters to join the "Top Gun" fraternity, and he is expertly portrayed in "Top Gun: Maverick" by actor Glen Powell. Hangman exuded the cool, arrogant, bad-boy vibes consistent with another adept fighter pilot who was featured in Tony Scott's original "Top Gun," Iceman (Val Kilmer). But in this sequel, Hangman is not a rival for Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) to scorch the skies against. Rather, Hangman is one of a handful of hand-picked students Pete, aka Maverick, must prepare for a do-or-die mission eerily similar to the trench run made against the Death Star in "Star Wars."

Ever dedicated to his acting craft, Powell trained intensively not only to become the egotistical character of Hangman inwardly, but the thespian also prepared by giving the brash aviator an imposing, chiseled physique outwardly as well. "He [Powell] is a very dopamine-driven guy that loves high-energy, hard, all-out exercise," Powell's trainer and bodybuilder, Nick Mitchell, said during an interview with Men's Health UK.

"What you're looking for with someone like Glen and a movie like that is what is going to pop [on screen]," Mitchell explained in the same interview. "What imagery do we want him to kind of push out? So, in other words, what poses, what stances, what positions does he look his best in." Both Hangman's imposing hubris and physicality clearly come across in "Top Gun: Maverick," and that is thanks to Glen's commitment and preparation for the role. However, did you know it was Tom Cruise himself who insisted that Powell play Hangman like a douchebag?

Cruise advised Powell to be a douchebag in Top Gun: Maverick

Hangman didn't lack confidence in "Top Gun: Maverick," but while the character comes across as a real douchebag for the majority of the film, Glen Powell wasn't keen on playing the part that way. However, Powell's eventual decision to embrace Hangman in such an arrogant manner makes his rescue of Maverick (Cruise) and Rooster (Miles Teller) all the more compelling and emotional in the film's third act. And it was Tom Cruise who urged Powell to embrace Hangman's egotism.

"Sometimes you can fall into the trap of wanting to be liked on camera," Powell said in an interview with Variety. "And in a movie like this, where you know there's going to be a lot of eyes on it, you don't want to be Draco Malfoy. But Tom gave me this advice: 'For the ending to work, you have to completely lean into that. Everybody else in the movie is questioning their own ability. You're the only guy that's not questioning it. So, if there's any sort of apology in anything you say, the movie doesn't work. Lean into the douchebaggery of it all.'"

During the climactic sequence, which finds Maverick and Rooster trying to escape from the superior power of next-generation enemy planes, Hangman is ordered not to launch from the aircraft carrier in order to assist them. The utter frustration Hangman feels creeps across his face, thanks to Powell's acting ability, and it's in that moment that the "douchebaggery" pays off. Hangman's humanity is revealed, and audiences catch a glimpse of just how important his teammates have become to him, which leads to Hangman saving the day.