Glen Powell had one heck of a year in 2022 — starring in the blockbuster sequel Top Gun: Maverick as well as the heartfelt war drama Devotion — and he loved every minute of it!
“One of the best parts about this break for me was getting to think about that journey,” Powell told ET’s Ash Crossan of his recent holidays. “We shot [Top Gun] from 2018 to 2019, and then we finally got a chance to release it in 2022, so we’ve been kind of promoting this thing for a long time. I shot Devotion in a pandemic, where it kind of felt like movies didn’t really feel real — we were making this epic movie with a small group of people. And then finally, towards the end of the year, we’re showing these movies for millions of people around the world.”
“For me, it was just kind of keeping my head above water and trying to be as present and include all my friends and family in all of the fun as much as possible,” he added. “So I got to the break and really got to process it all, and I think it’s been nothing short of just a dream come true. It’s been the best year of my life and I’m just feeling unbelievably grateful.”
Devotion saw Powell star as real-life Navy pilot Tom Hudner, who risked his life in an attempt to save his wingman, Ensign Jesse L. Brown (played by Jonathan Majors), behind enemy lines in the Korean War. The actor was lucky enough to meet the real-life Hudner before he died in 2017, and said he kept a photo and a note from him above his mantel during filming.
“It’s a different kind of pressure, when you meet the person you’re playing and you feel their soul, you feel their energy,” he shared. “You see the way they’re surrounded by their family and what that legacy was and what Jesse meant to him… He was just a really special guy.”
“I think that’s the best thing that I’ve realized in my life, is I get very uncomfortable when it’s about me,” Powell added. “When I can make it about the person I’m playing or my family or the movie or my co-stars, I feel comfortable doing service to other people… Waking up every morning and making sure we did service to these two men, to make sure it was all historically accurate, to make sure we captured the era, to make sure we did service to the legacy, I mean, that was that was the whole purpose.”
Prior to Devotion, Powell was in service of another kind of legacy, joining Tom Cruise in the cast of Top Gun: Maverick as the antagonistic Jake “Hangman” Seresin. He shared a little-known Easter egg from the sequel with ET, revealing that in the film’s bar singalong scene, he keyed in “86” on the jukebox — an nod to the original film’s release year.
“I don’t think anybody realized I did that until post-production, like, Joe [Kosinski, Maverick’s director] hit me up, and he’s like, ‘Hey did you press 86?'” he recalled. “I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ I just did that.”
Powell isn’t the only Devotion star with some big projects in the works — Majors is gearing up to take over the MCU with his villainous turn as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as well as a starring role in Creed III.
“It’s just so fun watching that guy take on the world,” Powell raved of his co-star. “He’s literally taking over the entire mortal world. It’s wild.”
Powell admitted that he’s not a huge comic book fan himself, and hasn’t ever “had a conversation with Marvel.” But he also said he’s never mad to hear fancasting speculation about him stepping onto the big screen as Cyclops or Hal Jordan.
“It takes a long time to navigate this town, so for anyone to be like, ‘Oh, he’d be great in this role,’ it’s humbling, it’s great,” he said.
In 2018, Powell was attached to a slightly different kind of superhero property — he and Leonardo DiCaprio had a Captain Planet movie in the works! Powell shared an update, noting that the status of the film will depend on the ongoing Warner Bros. shakeup and “where all the superhero stuff kind of lands there.”
“I think those conversations will be happening shortly,” he noted. “I know DiCaprio is super passionate about it. I’m super passionate about it. I think it could be great… I want that one to work. I’d love to play that superhero.”
The actor also dished that he recently had dinner with his Set It Up co-star, Zoey Deutch, and gave a bit of hope for fans still clamoring for the pair to reunite on another rom-com.
“One project we were trying to figure out didn’t really kind of come to fruition,” he admitted, “but Zoey and I are very committed to getting back on screen together.”
Also on Powell’s busy schedule for the upcoming months? Stunt training for his upcoming Butch and Sundance Prime Video series, in which he’ll star alongside Regé-Jean Page as the titular cowboys. “I’m going to do some pretty fun, gnarly stunts in that — already starting to make my mother nervous with some of the stuff,” he admitted with a laugh. “But that’s mostly horseback stuff, gunplay, nothing too crazy. …Indiana Jones stuff.”
He’s also in post-production on another film, Hitman, collaborating on the script with “one of my heroes,” director Richard Linklater, who cast Powell in one of his first leading roles in 2016‘s Everybody Wants Some!.
“We just wrapped that, which was awesome. I just saw it,” he shared excitedly. “We wrote this movie together, in 2021, and got to shoot it [with] a great cast. I’m really proud of it.”
Devotion is available on Paramount+ and for digital purchase on Jan. 8.
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