The Glen Powell Network

16 May

The Rise, Rise, Rise of Glen Powell

Photoshoots > Outtakes > Session 041

VANITY FAIRBetween Anyone but You, Hit Man, and Twisters, he’s seen all kinds of action.
When he was 19, Glen Powell made a bad decision straight out of an ’80s teen comedy: He threw a party in somebody else’s house in Beverly Hills without asking permission. Denzel Washington had recently cast him as Harvard Debater Number One in The Great Debaters and told him he had promise, so Powell had left the University of Texas at Austin and moved into a Los Angeles pool house belonging to a college friend’s mom. Powell was mannying for cash and self-taping auditions. Occasionally he’d land a guest spot on a CSI or Rizzoli & Isles thanks to the support of Washington’s late agent, Ed Limato, who used to say Powell was a cross between William Hurt and Richard Gere. Otherwise, Powell didn’t have much going for him—except access to a house in 90210. “I came from that college-party mentality where there are no boundaries,” he says. “Nobody gives a fuck about you in Hollywood if you can’t offer them something. I made a mistake and offered the house.”

You’ve seen enough movies to know what happened next. Seventy-five uninvited strangers flooded the party, the pool, and the main house. Then his friend’s younger sister came home. She evicted Powell on the spot, adding, in her fury, that he’d never make it in Hollywood. “She laid into me that night and rightfully so,” Powell says. “But I’ve probably been told, ‘You’ll never make it in this town’ more than any individual alive. The odds are so slim that people hand that quote out like candy.” Powell had to relocate out by the airport in hot, gusty Van Nuys. “I was like, ‘You know what? This is where you deserve to be, you piece of shit.’ It was like the worst hangover ever. But every major turning point in my time out here has always come from a hit in the face.”

Fifteen years later, Powell is reportedly the second most bankable young actor in the business, thanks to Top Gun: Maverick and the romantic comedy Anyone but You, with Sydney Sweeney, which TikTok turned into a $219 million global smash. This puts him behind only Timothée Chalamet. While Chalamet zigs with bilingual allure and boyish androgyny, Powell zags with all-American brawn, leavening it with goofball energy and southern charisma. This month, he nails a sly, chameleonic turn in Richard Linklater’s action comedy Hit Man on Netflix. And in July, he will recklessly court danger in Universal’s disaster movie Twisters. Powell recently had dinner with executives from the major theater chains. Like his flight instructor Tom Cruise, he’s got an old-fashioned conviction about putting bodies in seats, and the chains need him as much as he needs them.

Early one Sunday, Powell picks me up at home in a “big ol’ honkin’ truck” that a studio hooked him up with while he’s in LA. At the height of his career, Powell has actually moved back to Austin to be with family and friends. His parents are on the speakerphone when I get in the truck. They tell me they’re “just over the moon” that their son is based in Texas again, even if he’s invariably on some far-flung set anyway.

We stop by a flea market to look for furniture for his new place. Powell came here for years, but life is different lately: Even in a ball cap and blue jeans, everyone recognizes him. Before the move back to Austin, an Uber driver had turned into a stalker, a woman who’d never looked his way was now aggressively interested, and friends he’d known forever suddenly had scripts they needed him to read. “I literally felt like a commodity for the first time,” Powell says. “I started to think, This may be a problem.”

Powell got his first taste of attention overload while shooting Anyone but You in Australia, when paparazzi photos of him and Sweeney on the set were taken out of context to stoke rumors of an affair. It didn’t help that Powell had just broken up with his long-term girlfriend. Sweeney’s fiancé was a producer on the film—and present for the entire shoot—but the tabloids and social media ran with the story they wanted to hear. Powell tries to make sense of it all, even as he is stopped, almost comically often, by fans for selfies. “I went straight from Australia to Oklahoma”—to film Twisters—“and all that social media attention started happening as soon as I landed,” he says. “When you’re in Oklahoma, all that stuff feels louder because you’re away from your people. All you’re left with is your thoughts.”

“Excuse me,” says a young woman. “Can I get a picture?”

Powell happily agrees, and when she’s moved on, he continues: “At the end of the day, I don’t give a fuck anymore. At the time, I did give a fuck. I gave a lot of fucks. And it felt shitty and personal. I don’t think people realize that I am very sensitive because I am a guy that jokes about stuff. The gamification of this gig is that you basically have to—”

“Mr. Powell,” says a teenager in a golf shirt.

“Yeah?”

“Oh my gosh. You’re in Maverick, right?

“Yeah.”

“Can I have a selfie?”

“Yeah, of course. Nice meeting you, man.”

The boy’s mom tells Powell that they’re in LA for college tours.

“Where are you touring?” Powell asks.

“We’re touring USC tomorrow, and UCLA,” the boy says.

“Oh, that’s awesome, man,” Powell says. “Well, good luck at college. You’ve chosen the right state for it.” Then, to me, without skipping a beat: “It’s almost like creating a wrestler alter ego. It’s like you’re Bruce Wayne and Batman. Nobody has the full picture, so you have to be okay with them not having a full picture. It’s entertainment. I’m okay now with my personal life being part of the entertainment.”

When Anyone but You came out this past Christmas, it initially bombed. But over the holidays, the social media buzz ramped up. Videos of fans singing Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” (the movie’s theme song) as they left theaters became a trend. Plus, the affair rumors resurfaced. “So we leaned in,” Powell says. In March, he even popped up on SNL when Sweeney was hosting to lampoon the speculation. “We leaned into the chemistry, we leaned into the fun, we leaned into all of it—and the movie benefited. The fun part with Syd was figuring out what’s going to be noisy and sticky. People talk about TikTok as a thing that is cannibalizing the theaters, and what we saw is that they feed into each other: It becomes more eventized and more fun. Glen, the person, would not have been comfortable with that a year and a half ago. Now I can put myself in a different place and be a character.” Audiences have loudly requested an Anyone but You sequel, and ideas are being batted around.

As we navigate the flea market, Powell tells me not to let him near anyone selling candles. He’s a sucker for them, particularly high-concept ones like Goop’s iconic This Smells Like My Vagina and the Saltburn keepsake known as Jacob Elordi’s Bathwater.

So we steer clear of candles. Instead, Powell buys some David Sedaris books to read on set, and we head off to brunch. The restaurant is filled with women in bandage dresses and high heels having bachelorette parties and baby showers. Soon iPhones start coyly popping up as people try to capture a movie star in the wild. This is why dating in the era of Deuxmoi is taxing. The week before we met, Powell left a comedy show and was walking next to someone he’d never even heard of. The internet immediately insisted they were dating. “People are creating constellations,” he says. “You look at the stars and you draw lines and create a picture. In the past I would’ve been like, ‘That’s not the right constellation. That’s not Orion’s Belt!’ And now you’re sort of like, ‘Oh, that’s fine. Let them connect the dots however they want.’ ”

Professionally, Powell’s life is at high tide. He’s heading to Cape Town to star in a revenge thriller called Huntington for A24, then there’s Edgar Wright’s remake of The Running Man for Paramount. Powell will presumably be in the mix for Top Gun 3, which is reportedly in the works, and is set to do a sports comedy series for Hulu in which he will play Chad Powers, an undercover superstar quarterback that Eli Manning created when he tried out for Penn State in a wig and prosthetics. After Powell collaborated with J.J. Abrams on the documentary The Blue Angels, there’s buzz that the pair will be reteaming for Abrams’s next movie, this time with Powell onscreen. With all these projects, I ask Powell how he finds time for himself—or for a relationship that isn’t a tabloid creation. “I don’t want to be that guy that wakes up 50 years old and didn’t let anybody along for the ride,” he says. “I don’t think it’ll ever be me because I look at my parents—and I want kids. I really want that. So I don’t think that’ll happen, but I understand how it could happen.”

Powell isn’t looking to emulate any particular actor’s career, though he’s grateful to have Cruise and Matthew McConaughey as mentors, and admires the way Matt Damon has handled family and privacy. Until then, he’s happy to be living close to his parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In May, he’ll be presented with an award from the Texas Film Hall of Fame by his fellow Austinite, Linklater. “I got a plus-45,” Powell says. “The squad rolls deep. It’s going to be a party.” This time at his own house.

25 Jul

Glen Powell Covers Nobleman

Photoshoots > Outtakes > Session 037

Order your print copy of the issue for the entire article at the Nobleman Magazine website.

NOBLEMAN – With a sharp grin and a sense of humor as dry as the air in this beautiful Bel Air mansion, Glen Powell enters the room. He is contained, but yet still abounding with life. The Texas-born Powell has been steadily climbing into the screens since 2016. But as of late, he has solidified his stake in our hearts with his role as “Hangman” in Top Gun: Maverick, the resurrection sequel to the iconic 80’s film Top Gun.

Glen Powell showed up to the shoot looking the best out of all of us. “Style is deliberate”, he would later tell us. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. How I dress shows how much I care about it.” This is one of the many glimpses of his humility and thoughtfulness. He shows immense intentionality in all he does. Glen is more than just one thing, he truly is a Renaissance man. He can put on any hat and have you admire how seamless the transition would be.

The beautiful Bel Air estate we found ourselves sharing moments with was a perfect reflection of Powell himself. The subtle and strong mix of modern architecture swirled together with the nostalgic whispers of the past. The hand-in-hand combination of complexity and comfort. You can feel the same way when you meet with Glen, taken back by how he commands a room but also how he makes you feel like the only one in it.

As we sat with him, he held nothing back in his answers. Made thoughtful and authentic quips, and was genuinely excited to be with us like we were a part of the Powell family sitting by a fire at his family’s ranch. Powell tells us behind-the-scenes stories from Top Gun: Maverick, as well as gives a look into what’s coming next for him. All mixed with reminiscing about his family and travels.

How would you define a NOBLEMAN?
Glen Powell: I’ve always been attracted to people that are kind of unapologetically passionate about everything. When they like something, whether it’s traveling, cars, watches, or even sports. If you’re passionate about it, it’s cool. I always find that passionate people are always the most interesting. Their passion usually results in having the most style, and being wise because they’re curious about the world.

Has there been someone in your life that had that passion in a field that helped inspire you to be where you are now?
I instantly think about my parents. They were always supportive and let me be a little lost in life. Growing up, I always had an interest in all sorts of different things. If I wanted to play a sport, or if I wanted to play an instrument, or whatever, they let me follow my passions. I feel like it resulted in becoming good at a lot of different things and knowing a little about a lot. You just become more curious about the world and nothing seems scary. I remember my parents would put me in a room with people who are really accomplished. Just so that I would be able to converse with them.

One of my favorite things my parents did growing up is they would book the beginning of a trip and the end of a trip, and everything in the middle was an adventure. Our vacations were all about discovering new places and cuisines. It was all about chasing whatever you wanted to chase. You wouldn’t get locked into an itinerary, like during the trip you would actually find what was the most interesting thing to you throughout that trip and it made the world so much more exciting. You were getting dragged around by your parents in some random city. But you were empowered to chase it rather than just experience it.

It’s good to keep it a little loose. It did feel a little crazy sometimes, sleeping in cars or a barn, but some of those times are the parts of the trip that you remember the most. Leaving room for adventure is important.

Give me a snapshot of your career, what have the last twenty years looked like?
It’s been a wild adventure, to say the least. I mean this whole thing has been something I desired since I was ten years old. I did like the sound of music when I was like, I dunno, thirteen years old. My parents showed up for every single performance. It was like 30 performances of that. They didn’t miss a single one. It’s been so cool bringing my parents to film sets and having them be a part of the journey. It’s a really special time in life.

Also, the fact that I’m getting to act alongside some of my heroes and be a part of movies that I adored growing up, is just beyond words. For example, I’m getting to make Twister right now, which was one of my favorite movies growing up. It’s just so surreal. Or even with Top Gun: Maverick, I almost didn’t do it. But it has changed my life in every way. So it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if I had turned this roll down like I originally did.

Posted by jen under Gallery, Glen Powell, Photoshoots, Press
24 Sep

Up Close and Personal with Glen Powell

Home > Photoshoots > Portraits > Session 013

INTERVIEW MAGAZINEWhere are you from?
Austin, Texas.

What are you reading right now?
I can’t remember the title, but it’s basically about body movement. It’s for this movie I’m prepping for right now, Hitman with Richard Linklater.

What was your big break?
Expendables 3, back in the day. Didn’t have a lot going on, and Expendables 3 saved the day.

What would you cook for someone on a first date?
Spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes with cinnamon, and salmon.

What’s a secret you’re comfortable sharing with the world?
I can tap dance. I’m not proud of it, but I can do it.

Who’s your favorite photographer to work with?
My mom. We call her “mamarazzi.”

07 Jul

Longhorn Glen Powell Is Finally Getting His Turn as a Leading Man

ALCADE – Glen Powell is a rare Hollywood type: the kind of guy who shows up early and stays late, with an easy grin and no complaints. Or at least, that’s how he is with me when we meet in March.

Despite it being the beginning of South by Southwest (and the festival’s resultant traffic), the actor is more than 30 minutes early to our interview, politely waiting in the car until (I presume) he sees me lurking at the front of the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, our arranged meeting spot. Powell steps out of the car in a well-coordinated getup, featuring an orange and brown patterned jacket, Longhorn hat, and a vintage “TEXAS” long-sleeved shirt scored at a shop on South Congress with his family just the day before.

“Oh man, I haven’t been in here in a while,” he says, walking in and looking around.

When I suggest we take a walk around campus to chat, he lights up. Between that and his UT-inspired outfit, one thing is immediately clear: This man loves this university, even if he was a student here for only a year before jetting off to Hollywood.

Powell, ’11, wouldn’t be offended if you failed to recognize him. Right now he’s able to stride down Austin’s streets largely unnoticed, as we soon find out strolling through the Forty Acres. But that will probably change—and soon. This summer, he’ll be one of the stars of the likely blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, in a role tailored to him: the daring-but-cocky pilot Lt. Jake Seresin, callsign “Hangman.” It’s a moment 20 years in the making for Powell, who has spent the past two decades acting alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names, with roles such as “Trader #1” from The Dark Knight Rises (where Tom Hardy as Bane almost concussed him after smashing his head into a keyboard), frat boy Chad in Scream Queens, smooth-talking Finnegan in Everybody Wants Some!!, astronaut John Glenn in Hidden Figures, and the overworked assistant Charlie in Netflix’s (excellent) 2018 rom-com Set It Up. This year, Powell is finally getting his due as a leading man. But for now, he’s taking a bit of a breather to come home for the premiere of Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood at SXSW, in which he plays the part of a NASA mission control operator who recruits a young boy to go to the moon secretly.

We leave the Alumni Center and take a left toward the Tower, and Powell immediately starts reminiscing about times spent sneaking into a then-under renovation Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and sipping mimosas on the 50-yard line in his own “Dazed & Confused moment,” acting in UT student films when he was younger, and visiting campus after the 2005 National Championship, “dancing on top of cars and going absolutely mental.”

Now, at 33, he’s a bit farther removed from his childhood campus visits or covert stadium mimosa rendezvous. He’s got the movie star looks, no question, and the confidence of a guy who knows it. But he’s unfailingly polite, laughs easily, and has none of the jaded exhaustion you might expect from a guy who once described how he scraped by in L.A. by stretching one rotisserie chicken across a week’s worth of meals. Mostly, he seems genuinely eager for moviegoers to see him in his biggest role ever—despite the fact that he’s been waiting nearly two years for it to premiere after several pandemic-related delays.

While he’s back in town for the Linklater premiere and SXSW, he’s also reflecting on his hometown of Austin—and what it has been like to watch his peers flock to it the past few years.

“This place always felt like it celebrated the underdog. It celebrated the outcast, it celebrated the weirder, the better,” he says. “It’s just a little weird, I think for me, to feel like I’ve known about this secret for my entire life, and now for every actor I meet out in L.A. being like, ‘Oh, well, we’re about to move to Austin.’”

When Powell did the reverse—left Austin for L.A.—at the age of 19, he’d already built up a moderately substantial resume. Austin mainstay Robert Rodriguez, BS ’08, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, gave him his first film role in Spy Kids 3: Game Over (the very descriptive role of Long-Fingered Boy); Powell played a bit part in Luke Wilson’s The Wendell Baker Story; and he’d worked on Linklater’s Fast Food Nation at 16.

But before all that, he was just a kid growing up in Austin who really wanted to make movies.

It all started when a talent agent came to Powell’s elementary school and promptly told his parents that their fifth-grade son needed an agent. They didn’t go quite that far, and instead enrolled him in acting classes with Austin Musical Theatre, where he quickly earned a spot in their production of The Music Man. For other kids, the show may have just been a fun after-school activity. But Powell remembers taking it as seriously as he takes his work now.

“I always had a blast with it, but I don’t think there’s anything I’ve ever done in terms of activity that I’ve half-assed,” he says.

For example: When Powell was 13, he landed the role of Kurt Von Trapp in the local production of The Sound of Music—a role he “really had to fight for,” he says earnestly.

On the last night of the musical, Powell was visibly emotional
on stage, tears streaming down his face before the final curtain came down. Powell’s dad, Glen Powell Sr., MEd ’89, Life Member, remembers the director coming to talk to him afterward, urging him not to get angry at his son. It’s something Powell Sr. wouldn’t have dreamt of doing anyway, but the “why” of it stuck with him.

That emotion, the director told him, is what makes Powell a great actor, the fact that he can tap into “the feeling.” “He was going to great lengths to tell me how great this was,” Powell Sr. says.

Powell remembers this moment vividly, too. It was his first feeling of really being part of a community as an actor.

“I just remember being like, wow, that was the most magical feeling,” Powell tells me over the phone from L.A. when we talk again in early May. “The fact that you can come together with other talented people and create something that I think is great. And I was so sad that it was over. I think maybe that’s the feeling I’ve been chasing over and over in this business, that idea of creating something magical with a bunch of strangers, and what a wonderful thing that is.”

It wasn’t long after The Sound of Music before he made the leap to film, picking up small roles here and there and slowly gaining the eyes of Hollywood legends. In 2008, he enrolled at UT. In many ways, the Forty Acres was an obvious fit for Powell, who had spent his childhood on campus: at the UT String Project where he learned to play violin; for football or volleyball or basketball games; or just for walks, not unlike the one we’re on now, with his parents, two alumni in a whole family of Longhorns. But a small role in Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters right before his freshman year at UT changed his trajectory, earning him legendary agent Ed Limato’s attention (Powell apparently reminded him of a young Richard Gere).

Limato talked to Powell, talked to his parents, reiterated again and again that Powell had it, that he would introduce Powell to all the right people, and Powell finally made the decision to cut his education short and move to L.A.—the toughest decision he’s ever made, he says.

“[The idea of leaving UT was] the thing that I think actually made me go, ‘Glen, do you actually want this? Because you’re about to leave the greatest university on the planet, the greatest city on the planet, you’re surrounded by people that are fun and smart, and the football team is good,’” Powell says as we continue our walk past the Union down to the Drag. “It really felt like I had to break up with the best girl I ever met.”

Then Ed Limato suddenly died in 2010, and Powell was left to figure it out on his own.

It was slow-going, something Powell reiterates often when he talks about those first years in Los Angeles. But then he landed the role of the mustached college baseball player, Finnegan, in Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!—a role he was confident he could do, and do well. Filmed all around Central Texas, it was like coming home and getting to relive college all over again.

“That movie experience, I don’t think will ever be topped. I’ve gotten to make a lot of things at this point and that group of guys, that time in our lives, it was just magical,” he says after we leave the Drag, where he talks about his dorm days in the since-torn-down University Towers, shows me his phone background of his girlfriend in full UT gear, and reveals his Kerbey Lane order (short stack with eggs and bacon). “Getting to show [the guys] the Austin I grew up with and the Austin I loved and getting to come back and kind of take over the town together was just the greatest.”

Everybody Wants Some!! also reunited Powell with Linklater, who remembered him from Fast Food Nation. But instead of working with a 16-year-old kid who was just getting started, Linklater got to see him in a whole new way—those years of small parts to keep going in L.A. had matured Powell as an actor, and Linklater quickly noticed.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I love the adult Glen’ … Like, when did Glen get so wickedly smart and quick and funny?” Linklater says. “I was just really glad to reconnect with the adult Glen, and then we’ve been buds ever since. It’s just like, oh God, what else can I work on with this guy?”

Despite everything he learned from his journey out west (or maybe because of it), Powell wants to ensure Austin kids growing up today never have to do what he did to “make it”: leave. He’s been periodically meeting with Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt about what he can do to help UT students interested in film find their way onto sets and into writers’ rooms. That usually means visiting a class to give advice or bringing screenings of his film Devotion, a war drama in which he plays aviator Lt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., to campus this fall.

“It’s in his blood. He’s really very connected to the history of this campus going back generations, and it really does mean a lot to him,” Bernhardt says. “He’s incredibly kind and real and genuine and … even as his career’s been growing, he’s the same Glen that I met [years ago] over tequila at the Roosevelt Room.”

The only real difference is that now, Powell is getting to make the movies he wants.

“I’ve been doing this job for 20 years,” he says. “It’s only now that I’m able to do the movies I want to do, and work with the people I want to work with.” As we start making our way back to the Alumni Center, Powell reflects on all the “pinch me” moments he’s had lately—working with Tom Cruise, one of his heroes, or being able to write and collaborate with Linklater. “It’s these moments that cause you to be really nostalgic and sentimental about all the failures that have sort of led you to this moment that have been these wonderful teaching lessons along the way,” he says.

It really is clear how immensely grateful Powell is to be here: in his position now, where choices are easier to come by; back in Austin, where his family is and the city he wants to call home full-time again; and on the UT campus right now, strolling along with no particular route in mind, marveling at the boldness of campus squirrels and stopping to take photos of the bluebonnets blooming near the Tower.

We finish our route around campus and settle into a table and chairs next to Waller Creek at the Alumni Center, listening to the grackles. With our walk down memory lane finished, I ask Powell about the future. It’s on his mind, too, as the release of Top Gun: Maverick looms ever closer. But he’s not so worried about what comes next.

He recalls a conversation he had with Tom Cruise about what life was like for him after the original Top Gun. “He said nothing had changed in him. It’s just that the world gets really loud,” Powell says. “People want your attention a little bit more. When they want your attention, they’re a little more loud about it. The stakes seem higher with everything. And I’m now starting to understand. And he said the most important thing is to be able to quiet the noise and really remember who you are.”

Powell is remembering those words as he sits in what’s likely his calm before the storm. Life isn’t loud right now, he assures me. It’s exciting, sure, and a little busier, but it’s not crazy.

A few weeks after our walk, Top Gun: Maverick premieres at Cannes Film Festival. Reviews are very positive. A journalist tells Powell it may be his favorite movie ever. An Entertainment Weekly headline screams that Powell’s career is about to go “supersonic.” On May 11, it becomes official that Powell is going to star in Hitman, the script he co-wrote with Linklater, and that filming will start in October (location TBD).

But back in Austin in March, on the day after I meet Powell, he’s on the Paramount Theatre stage at the premiere of Apollo 10 ½ with Linklater and others. In between questions from the audience, he pauses and points out into the crowd, spotting his mom and dad.

“I played Kurt Von Trapp on this stage as a kid, and where my family is sitting now is where they used to sit every performance,” he says into the mic.

And from the same seats, stage left, where they once saw that same kid at 13 cry at the emotion of finishing a performance he poured everything into, his parents wave to a cheering crowd.

Posted by jen under Glen Powell, Press
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