‘Top Gun: Maverick’ star Glen Powell almost didn’t get cast: ‘I took it very personally’


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Glen Powell almost didn’t make it to ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

Powell, 33, shared with The Hollywood Reporter that in July 2018, he received a phone call saying he hadn’t gotten the part in the movie he had spent weeks auditioning for.

“This one I took very personally and was just plain sad,” he told the outlet.

Powell, best known for his role in “Scream Queens,” originally auditioned for the role of Rooster, Goose’s on-screen son who was Lt. Maverick’s partner. That role went to Miles Teller.

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Glen Powell attends the Royal Film Performance ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ at Leicester Square on May 19, 2022 in London.
(Neil Mockford/FilmMagic)

Powell shared that he spent several weeks preparing for his audition and even traveled to Coronado Army Base on the North Island to “live in this world for a few weeks.”

A week after Powell received the devastating phone call, the film’s lead role, Tom Cruise, phoned him.

“No movie star calls the guy who doesn’t get the part,” Powell said. “Movie stars usually want fame without having to break people’s hearts.”

Powell said he was reluctant to take on a smaller role in the film. After several phone calls with Cruise, however, Powell accepted the role of Hangman, a role similar to Val Kilmer’s Iceman in the original “Top Gun.”

Glen Powell shared that he had almost no role in "Top Gun: Maverick." After several calls with Tom Cruise, he decided to take on a smaller role.

Glen Powell shared that he had almost no role in “Top Gun: Maverick”. After several calls with Tom Cruise, he decided to take on a smaller role.
(Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic)

“You could spend a whole career playing big roles in movies that leave no mark on people,” he shared with the outlet. “To be part of great films, even to have only a small role in them, is a much more worthy quest.”

Powell has been in the film industry for a decade. He shared with the outlet a special memory when he auditioned for Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters” at age 17.

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“I got a call from [Washington] right after saying, ‘Hey, I really want you for this bigger role, [but] some of the other producers don’t believe you can do it. So I’m going to invite you to the table read, and I just need you to come ready to play,” Powell shared. “I kind of misinterpreted that.”

The 17-year-old arrived at the table read, which was hosting Oprah Winfrey, in a full tuxedo because he thought it would prove he was “ready to play”. He finally got the role.

Glen Powell, Jennifer Connelly, Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer attend the screening of "Top Gun: Maverick" at the Cannes Film Festival.

Glen Powell, Jennifer Connelly, Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer attend the screening of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ at the Cannes Film Festival.
(Joe Maher/Getty Images)

“Top Gun: Maverick” stars Cruise, Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer and Monica Barbaro.

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The film has been highly anticipated by fans since it was pushed back two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The sequel to the film hits theaters worldwide on Friday.


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