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12 Little Known Facts About Glen Powell

With his square jaw and symmetrical smile, his seemingly endless charisma, and his genuine acting chops, it's no wonder that Glen Powell is knocking on the A-list door in Hollywood. He's been having a real moment over the past few years, but the Austin, Texas native is no bright-eyed newcomer to Tinseltown. Like most people who make it in Hollywood, he paid his dues: Before his turn as Hangman in "Top Gun: Maverick" put him on the map, he did the grind as an intern for a renowned producer and took any role that came his way, no matter the size.

Powell's persistence paid off big time. He followed in the footsteps of another famous Texan actor in Matthew McConaughey, making a name for himself in romantic comedies while also reminding everyone that he's more than a one trick pony with roles in serious projects like the hit biopic "Hidden Figures" and the war drama "Sand Castle." If you want to know more about Hollywood's latest heartthrob, you're in the right place. Here are a dozen little-known facts about Glen Powell.

Tom Cruise paid for Glen Powell to become a real pilot

In "Top Gun: Maverick," Glen Powell plays Lieutenant Jake "Hangman" Seresin. Cocky and allergic to the concept of being a team player, Hangman becomes an antagonistic character and the foil to Miles Teller's Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. However, Hangman sees the light before it's too late, assisting both Rooster and Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) in the dramatic finale. While fans are well aware of Cruise's need for speed and how many of his unbelievable movie stunts are totally real, Powell witnessed the adventurous spirit of his co-star firsthand, and it inspired him.

In a March 2020 Instagram post, Powell explained how he would watch Cruise fly aircrafts for real after filming wrapped for the day, and this made him develop an appreciation for aviation. As a result, Cruise offered Powell the gift of letting him experience the thrill of flying for himself. "For Christmas, Tom bought me an iPad with my flight school downloaded and prepaid," Powell posted alongside a video of himself after his first solo flight, adding that he was now "the real deal." "Top Gun 3" is in the works with Tom Cruise and more returning stars, so perhaps the pair will be able to jump into their respective cockpits and head for the skies after a day of filming next time around.

His own personal favorite movie of his is a 2016 teen comedy

Glen Powell has an impressive filmography. On top of "Top Gun: Maverick," he's been in the likes of "Anyone But You" and "Hidden Figures," to name but a few. You would think that it would be tough for him to pick a favorite performance out of this ever-growing list, but Powell didn't need to think too hard about this in a December 2023 interview with Vogue. As it turns out, he adores one specific film he was a part of in 2016.

"I think 'Everybody Wants Some!!' will be my favorite movie I've ever made in my whole life," he said. "There's not going to be a more charmed, lovely experience. When that movie ended, I sobbed as I was shaving off my thin mustache." Powell added that he loves making films where he gets an opportunity to be silly and self-deprecating, since it's reminiscent of his family life and how he is on a personal level.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, the teen comedy sees Powell portray the utterly hilarious Walt "Finn" Finnegan in a story set in 1980s Texas. While "Everybody Wants Some!!" failed to make a splash at the box office, only making $5.4 million from a $10 million budget, it proved to be a critical hit with an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

He got his foot in the Hollywood door interning for famed rom-com producer Lynda Obst

Every famous actor has a story about an early job in showbiz. After all, not many of them start out in front of the cameras. It's common for aspiring actors to take roles behind the scenes to cut their teeth in the industry and get a foot in the door. Glen Powell is no different, as he interned for esteemed producer Lynda Obst, who is known for producing beloved romantic comedy classics like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." Powell grabbed this chance with both hands and elevated himself to become a script reader for Obst, which would come in rather handy later in his career.

Speaking to Vogue, Powell praised Obst for her achievements in the industry. He's very grateful for being afforded the opportunity to develop his knowledge under her watch, as he studied what made good romantic comedies so successful and timeless in Hollywood. "You don't want a rom-com to completely reinvent the wheel, because then it stops being comforting," he said. "You have to honor the tropes to a degree. So, reading these scripts and seeing how people played within that sandbox, that was really satisfying. I really got a chance to understand how she saw the genre and to get a world-class education in producing."

Glen Powell actually auditioned for a totally different role in Top Gun: Maverick

Glen Powell plays the part of Jake "Hangman" Seresin so well that it's almost impossible to think of anybody else in the role. However, that was almost the case, as Powell initially auditioned to play Rooster. Speaking to Variety in November 2022, Powell explained how he had a good feeling about landing the role of Rooster before director Joseph Kosinski delivered the news that Miles Teller had won the part. Disappointed but still trying to be upbeat about it, Powell posted a joke on X (formerly known as Twitter) about taking down the Tom Cruise posters on his bedroom wall. "Then the sadness hit the next day, so I'm really glad I got that tweet out before that," Powell said.

The universe must have a good sense of humor, though, since Powell's fortunes soon changed — out of the blue, he received an offer to play Hangman, instead. "Then the experience of Tom Cruise calling me and pitching me this whole other thing and the back and forth with him and Jerry Bruckheimer and Joe Kosinski and Chris McQuarrie happened," he said, adding that perhaps they saw his tweet and decided to give him the Hangman role. "You never know! In hindsight it's weird when you think back on what little things you were unaware of if that changed the course of your life."

The role that turned him into a bankable leading man wasn't Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick

"Top Gun: Maverick" scored an astronomical $1.496 billion dollars during its theatrical run. Naturally, it's a good look for everyone who's a part of the film, presenting the cast as legitimate box office draws. For Glen Powell, his career's trajectory took an upward turn after the movie and it shows no signs of slowing down. However, while the "Top Gun" sequel might have brought him household recognition, it wasn't the film that raised his stock in Hollywood: His role as Ben in "Anyone But You" is the one that convinced the industry that he's bankable as a leading man and resulted in more offers flooding his agent's inbox.

The 2023 romantic comedy, which also stars Sydney Sweeney, received a mixed response from critics, but it made a mark where it matters most to studios: The box office. "He's the complete package," Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said of Powell (via The Hollywood Reporter), just one of many execs who have come to recognize the actor's A-list potential. The figures speak for themselves: "Anyone But You" cost a reported $25 million to make but raked in close to $220 million across the globe. It's a feat that put it in the top 30 highest-grossing films of 2023, above more expensively produced blockbusters such as "The Marvels" and "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves."

A real-life helicopter emergency almost derailed everything in Anyone But You

After "Anyone But You" blew everyone away at the box office, execs must have been over the moon. It could have been a very different story, though, after a real-life incident almost turned tragic. The majority of the story takes place in Sydney, Australia. During a filming day, Glen Powell and others were transported in a helicopter ride above Sydney Harbour. The flight took a nervous turn when the helicopter experienced a malfunction soaring above the water.

"The helicopter had serious mechanical issues, and we had to emergency land in a field nearby," Glen Powell explained to Rolling Stone. "If we crashed, we would've been history. There would've been nothing left of us." Hilariously, he added: "I didn't survive 'Top Gun: Maverick' only to die in a rom-com." As if the idea of crashing alone wasn't terrifying enough, the waters of Sydney Harbour can be filled with white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks at various times of the year, though shark attacks here are thankfully quite rare.

He auditioned to be Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Having worked in Hollywood for a considerable amount of time now, Glen Powell knows the audition game all too well. Like the majority of actors, he's read for a number of parts that he didn't get. One major role he went for was that of Han Solo in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which was ultimately given to Alden Ehrenreich. Speaking about the audition process to Entertainment Tonight in October 2020, Powell explained how strange the experience was as it called for him to have a conversation with Chewbacca.

"Part of the audition is talking to Chewie, so in the audition they play a dog sound as Chewie," Powell said. "You have to interact with this dog sound... There's just a casting director with a dog button." The odd process clearly threw Powell off his stride. In a separate interview with GQ UK in May 2024, the actor discussed just how close he came to getting the part, saying: "I can joke about it now, [but] I blew that final audition." He hasn't given up on playing Han Solo, however. During his chat with Entertainment Tonight, he said: "It would be a really fun role to occupy at some point."

Security threw him out of a VIP party for The Expendables 3

Back when he was still climbing up the ranks in Hollywood, Glen Powell was given the opportunity to share the screen with an all-star cast of legends in 2014's "The Expendables 3." Powell played the hacker and drone pilot Thorn alongside powerhouse action heroes like Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Wesley Snipes. He even appeared on some of the film's posters, standing right next to Snipes. However, not everyone was aware of Powell's inclusion in the movie.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Powell recalled how he was at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the movie with the other cast members when he was forcefully evicted from a party. "It actually got kind of physical," he said. "There was a large bouncer that was convinced that I shouldn't be in the VIP section, so it kind of turned into a physical altercation where I got hit in the face at the 'Expendables 3' party because no one recognized me even though there was a banner in the party of my face."

He was physically sick the first time he saw Hidden Figures

Glen Powell had a supporting but pivotal role as astronaut John Glenn in the hit film "Hidden Figures," the story of three female African American mathematicians who aided NASA during the Space Race. Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are played brilliantly by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe. They were so good that Glen Powell thought he ruined "Hidden Figures" the first time he saw the movie on the Fox lot. "This was before all the effects were done, the music was in, the sound design," he said on the "Therapuss with Jake Shane" podcast, adding, "I literally left the movie and I puked in the bushes."

Powell went on to explain that he was so shaken because he felt as though "Hidden Figures" was such an important film and he didn't want to be the one to derail it. "I thought I ruined this movie," he said. "I was like, 'All these women put in these great performances and it's like the legacy of these women.' I was like, 'I literally ruined this movie.'" In the end, Powell's concerns proved to be for nothing, as "Hidden Figures" scored a 93% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and raked in a whopping $236 million from a $25 million budget, making it a huge success.

He worked as a real assistant to prepare for Set It Up

Before he became the next big thing in romantic comedies with "Anyone But You," Glen Powell garnered somewhat of a cult status among rom-com fans thanks to Netflix's 2018 film "Set It Up." In the movie, he plays a guy named Charlie, an assistant who teams up with another assistant, Harper (Zoey Deutch), to orchestrate a romance between their bosses in an effort to lighten their own workloads. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Charlie and Harper end up falling in love. You can see it coming a mile off, but it's still sweet to watch their relationship develop.

To prepare for the part, Powell decided to take a deep dive into the lives of real assistants. "For research for this movie, I went to my agency and I kind of treated all the assistants to lunch, and I just listened to them tell horrible-boss stories," he told Vanity Fair. "Then I worked the phones for my agent for like, three days, and then I went to this venture-capitalist firm here in New York, just to see what that world was like." Powell's haircut in the film is also a result of the people he met during his research period, many of whom boasted this very 'do. "I went to this V.C. firm, and every dude had the same haircut," he said. "I was like, 'Oh, this haircut is horrible.'"

He isn't interested in making Marvel movies, but he has a soft spot for one DC superhero

Nowadays, as soon as an actor hits the big time, the first question that follows is: Which character should they play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? However, the MCU legion might be disappointed with Glen Powell's answer: He told The Hollywood Reporter that he isn't interested in joining forces with the Avengers anytime soon. This may come as a surprise to those who know that Powell auditioned for the part of Captain America before it went to Chris Evans, but he's in a very different place now.

Discussing his career choices with the Hollywood trade, Powell mentioned how he has become picky over his roles and has learned not to accept anything and everything that comes his way, regardless of how big the property may be. For instance, he has turned down parts in the "Bourne" and "Jurassic Park" franchises. That being said, there is one superhero role that could tickle Powell's fancy and implore him to step into a cape and cowl at some point: Batman.

"I would have a wild take on Batman," he told GQ UK as he discussed his love for the Dark Knight. "It definitely would not be like a Matt Reeves tone — it'd probably be closer to Keaton." What you may not know is that Powell has already been in a Batman movie. "I get my head smashed in by Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises,'" he said, clearly proud of his small role in Christopher Nolan's classic.

He came up with the idea for Hit Man after reading an article in Texas Monthly

While Richard Linklater and Glen Powell might not be among the best director-actor pairs in movie history yet, their collaborations so far have proven to be entertaining. In 2023, the Texan pair teamed up for the critically acclaimed action-comedy "Hit Man," which Linklater directed, co-produced, and co-wrote with Powell. The film sees Powell portray the role of college professor Gary Johnson, who becomes an undercover operative and poses as a fake hit man. The script is based on a bizarre true story that the actor read about in "Texas Monthly" and sent to Linklater.

"This was a COVID baby of ours, and it wasn't like we set out to make a movie," Powell told Rolling Stone. "But any conversation with Richard Linklater is going to lead to something profound, I've found." With the world shut down and everyone else making banana bread and binging "Tiger King," they had time on their hands. So, the pair bounced around ideas, trying to think of how to turn it into a story that would work well on the big screen. "This movie, it's like his brain and my brain completely melded together," Powell added. "I think it utilizes what makes him special as a director to its fullest."