Birth name: Glen Thomas Powell, Jr.
Awards & Nominations
Glen Thomas Powell, Jr. was born in Austin, Texas on October 21, 1988 to Glen and Cyndy Powell. His father is of Polish and Lipka Tatar descent, while his mother is German, English, and Welch. He has two sisters, Lauren and Leslie. Growing up in Austin, Powell found a passion for acting at a young age regularly watching films with his father, including Top Gun. When he wasn’t in and out of hospitals – for “being a bit of a kamikaze” kid, Powell recalls – he grew up tap dancing, playing violin, and was a part of the Broadway Texas Players – an award-winning performance troupe – from 1999-2003. When he was ever on a film set, he would absorb any and everything he could learn by hanging out and simply being curious. Powell graduated from Westwood High School in 2007, where he was an all-state lacrosse player, played football, and was a member of the business club. He attended the University of Texas at Austin majoring in economics, specializing in entertainment finance, and was an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. Powell decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career full-time, initially living with a family in Bel Air in exchange for coaching their son’s basketball and football teams.
Making his feature film debut in 2003, he played the role of the Long-fingered Boy in Spy Kids 3: Game Over with Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara; the film went on to gross $197 million worldwide at the box office. The same year, Powell voiced the character of Urchin for the video game “Deus Ex: Invisible War”. The next year, he appeared alongside Matt Long and Logan Lerman in the pilot episode of the WB series “Jack & Bobby” as Rich Wolf, followed by Jackson Wheeler on the television mini-series “Into The West” and Travis the Paper Boy in The Wendell Baker Story in 2005. 2006 brought film projects Jumping Off Bridges, Fast Food Nation, The Hottest State, and short films The Safe Side: Internet Safety and Hidden Places before his lone film the next year. Powell played the role of Preston Whittington, a Harvard debater, in Denzel Washington’s 2007 biographical drama The Great Debaters. While on set of the film, Washington gave him some encouragement to pursue a career in acting on film, in which Powell decided to do once he was finished with college.
He appeared in an episode of “Without a Trace” in 2008 and an episode of “CSI: Miami” in 2009. A couple years later brought Powell into the role of a school teacher named Johnny in the sci-fi mystery Pig, which follows a young man with amnesia on a journey to learn about his past. Later in the year, he would appear in an episode of the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” as Graham Randall, and Aiden in the short film J.A.W., of which he was also the writer and director. He served as a producer for the short film Brisk in 2-11 as well. 2012 was a busy year for Powell, as he would star in a couple short films – The Vibrator, The Uninvited: A Red River Rivalry Nightmare, and Mother Hen (also serving as the producer) – along with television appearances on “The Lying Game” and “NCIS”. He portrayed Jack in the horror film Barrio Tales, followed by the Good Looking Frat Guy in the romantic comedy Stuck in Love and a trader in the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, The Dark Knight Rises. Continuing on the next year, Powell would be a part of a couple more short films for Funny or Die, Bizarre Bracket Behavior and Starting Over with Brooke Shields, before starring and appearing in countless films. Best Friends Forever came first where he played the role of Nick, followed by starring as Francis Riley in Red Wing, also starring Bill Paxton and Luke Perry, and portrayed Dickie in the horror romantic comedy April Apocalypse. Powell joined an all-star cast for the third installment of The Expendables franchise, playing Thorn. He once said the reason he was cast in the film, coming from Sylvester Stallone, was the “number one skill an Expendable has is they have to have a death wish” and he saw that in him. Also in 2014, he starred alongside Haley Joel Osment as TJ in Sex Ed, a film following a middle school teacher at an inner city middle school finding out his highly pubescent pupils are receiving no form of sexual education.
2015 brought Powell his most notable performance to date, playing Chad Radwell on the horror comedy television series “Scream Queens”. The series follows characters who are continuously terrorized by a serial killer. He also starred alongside Zane Holtz and Kiowa Gordon in the action thriller Wind Walkers as Sonny Childe. The next year, Powell appeared in the crime comedyRide Along 2 as Troy, and starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Next, he portrayed Doug Fields in the crime drama Misconduct, starring Josh Duhamel and Al Pacino, followed by the Richard Linklater comedy Everybody Wants Some!!. He played the role of Finnegan, a member of a college baseball team in the 1980s, who all try to navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Powell stepped into the astronomical shoes of John Glenn for the biographical drama Hidden Figures, the film tells the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. The cast of the film would win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in 2017 and was also nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In 2017, he portrayed Sergeant Dylan Chutsky in the Netflix war drama Sand Castle, starring Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill. Powell would also lend his voice for “All Hail King Julien” and “All Hail King Julien: Exiled” as Trent.
The next year, he portrayed Whit in the comedic drama The Bad Guys, following a budding filmmaker is confronted by the now-grown ensemble of his old hometown friends – none of whom are aware that he intends to make his fortune off the shared childhood trauma that splintered them apart all those years ago. He brought the character of Mark Reynolds to life in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a romantic drama based on the novel by the same name. The film also starred Jessica Brown Findlay, Michiel Huisman, and Lily James. Powell starred opposite Zoey Deutch in the critically-acclaimed romantic comedy Set It Up as Charlie Young, which also starred Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs. The film follows a pair of assistants who set their bosses up with each other. In 2020, he voiced Piston Frank in an episode of “Robot Chicken”, as well as Dave on the Netflix series “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous”. The following year, Powell voiced the character of Danny Miles for “10 Days”, a sports drama Podcast series which follows a basketball player who took a long road to the NBA. 2022 began with with the Richard Linklater animation drama Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood, where he voiced Bostick. The film tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission from a kid’s perspective. Later, the highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 blockbuster would finally be released after being pushed back countless times due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Powell portrayed Lieutenant Jake “Hangman” Seresin in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise and Miles Teller. With the built up anticipation for the film, it made nearly $127 million in its opening weekend; by the end of summer, it grossed $1.4 billion worldwide.
Powell’s upcoming projects include a Korean War story following a pair of U.S. Naval Aviators who would become some of the Navy’s most decorated wingmen. He portrays Lieutenant Tom Hudner opposite Jonathan Majors in Devotion and is expected to be released in theaters on November 23, 2022. He is currently producing a Blue Angels documentary, which will follow both veteran and the newest class of the squadron as they go through intensive flight training. Powell will star opposite Adria Arjona in the action comedy Hitman, a film he wrote with Richard Linklater and will also produce; filming will begin in October 2022. He is set to star and executive produce the film Most Dangerous Game, another rendition of the storyline most recently starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz for a Quibi series, which will also star Zoey Deutch. The film is currently in pre-production. He is even writing and set to produce Captain Planet, a production about the environmentally friendly superhero.