Glen Powell, the man of the moment, has spent a lot of time in the entertainment industry, but it was not until three years ago that he managed to gain recognition among some of the heavyweights of Hollywood. He spent a big part of his career so far in obscurity, and landing a role in Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick was obviously going to be a golden ticket to have people witness his talent.

Glenn Powell in Hit Man
Glen Powell in Hit Man | Credits: Netflix

Unfortunately, Powell did not land the role he auditioned for. Even so, Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski believed that he would make a good Hangman, but the Hidden Figures actor begged to disagree. So much so, that he suggested scratching the original character out of the film.

Glen Powell Had No Qualms in Admitting That His Original Character in Top Gun 2 Was No Good

Glen Powell
Glen Powell in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

As a young kid, Glen Powell appeared in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. He appeared in minor roles in several TV shows and movies such as the police procedural drama series CSI: Miami and Christopher Nolan’s superhero film The Dark Knight Rises. His performance in the 2018 Netflix movie Set it Up set things up for him as he started getting more offers.

After years of struggle to make a breakthrough, one would think that Powell would have jumped at the offer to play Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin after losing the role of the second lead Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw to Miles Teller. However, that was not the case at all because the Hit Man actor refused to take it up at first.

In an interview with GQ, Powell opened up about how he almost lost another life-changing role because he believed it would not serve the story well. He made his opinion about it known to the director and Cruise, who have both starred and produced.

I said, ‘If I were editing this movie, I would cut him out immediately.’

The character, originally called Slayer, was not a good pilot and nepotism was what had landed him at Top Gun in the first place. On the other hand, Hangman, the character we get to see in the movie, is a confident and highly skilled pilot, even if he is not someone that his peers necessarily like.

Tom Cruise and Joseph Kosinski Had Faith in Glen Powell

Tom Cruise and Glen Powell
Tom Cruise and Glen Powell | Source: glenpowell on Instagram

Powell might not have been an A-list star when he was offered the role of Hangman, but he certainly had an understanding of high-stakes filmmaking. Cruise and Kosinski seemed to understand this as they reworked the character based on the Anyone but You star’s notes.

In the interview with GQ, Powell did not hesitate to praise the Mission: Impossible star, who lent him a listening ear.

What we were talking about is, how can Hangman service the story and give the flavour of the original Top Gun that you need? I said my piece to Tom about what I do and what I do well, and he listened. Tom’s a listener. He listens to the crew members, he listens to his collaborators, and he hears people.

Cruise and Powell bonded during the shooting of the movie, and the former even played a prank on him in which he pretended that the helicopter they were flying into London was going down. Luckily, it was just a joke, and they continue to be great friends while Powell forges his way into the industry with more amazing roles.

Top Gun: Maverick is available for streaming on Prime Video and Paramount+.

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