TOP GUN: MAVERICK Exclusive Interview With Glen Powell ("Hangman")

Top Gun: Maverick introduces a ton of awesome new talent, including Glen Powell as Hangman and we were able to catch up with the rising star to talk about his role in the film, working with Tom Cruise and more!

After attending the world premiere of Top Gun: Maverick at CinemaCon, we were able to catch up with actor Glen Powell to talk about his pivotal role in the long-awaited Joseph Kosinski-directed action blockbuster.

Powell is one of the many new TOPGUN pilots, playing the key role of Lieutenant Jake Seresin, a.k.a. Hangman, a role that was specifically rewritten to better cater to his unique skill set. During our conversation, he recounted his roller coaster casting process, honoring the legacy of Top Gun, earning a fan in Tom Cruise, and a whole lot more!

Check out the full video interview below!

ROHAN: I was at the world premiere at CinemaCon too, was that your first time seeing the film with an audience?

GLEN: That was the first time. We did actually get to see it first with all the young guns in the movie at Paramount in Los Angeles, but that was my first time getting to see it with a crowd and they still haven't experienced that, and I just told them, it's just a whole other level when you see people high five, and as they're leaving the theater and crying and fist pumping. The reaction was, we knew we made something special, but I don't think anybody expected that.

ROHAN: You were basically sitting on this buried treasure of a movie for three years, what was that experience like and did it help further bond you with your castmates since you were all going through the same thing?

GLEN: Well, that is a thing that, at least, I had a great squadron that we all shared in that similar pain, but holding onto this movie for two years, it's like keeping the greatest secret of all-time. When you know you made something that's gonna thrill audiences, there's this balance, t here's this feeling of, hey, I can't wait to show the world this movie, but, at the same time, you only want to show the world that movie when they're ready to see it, when they can see it the way it's meant to be seen in the theaters.

As you've seen already, in IMAX, Dolby, you want the full works when you see this movie, you want to watch it with strangers, you want to be able to fully plug in and have that full experience. This one is not meant to be seen at home. So, I'm really, really glad we waited. I'm glad the world gets to see it the way it was intended, but yeah, it's been a wild couple of years trying to hold on to this one.

ROHAN: It's no secret that you initially auditioned for Rooster, but that didn't work out and I remember you tweeting your disappointment back in 2018, but then, like a week later, it was reported that you were joining as Hangman, a role that had been rewritten for you basically because you made a good impression on Tom Cruise. 

Can you tell me more about being cast and earning a fan in Tom Cruise?

GLEN: Having a fan in Tom Cruise is the greatest experience, if you haven't experienced it, I recommend it. It's really fun. I'm really, really thankful with the way everything turned out. I don't think anybody can truly understand what was going on in my head at the time when when you miss out on a movie that made you want to be an actor, you feel like it could work out and when it doesn't, I was really bummed.

I was really sad and the role of Hangman wasn't the same on the page and Tom and I talked it out and how he developed characters and how his tactic for building his career is not just choosing good roles, but choosing good movies, making great movies, finding roles in those movies, and making them great roles, roles that really enhance those sharp attributes that you have as a person and as an actor, and make it really come to life.

He told me that's what was going to happen, I talked to Joe, I talked to Chris McQuarrie, talked to Jerry Bruckheimer about it and these guys all said, “Hey, you got the Dream Team here. We promise we'll make this thing great.”

I'm really, really grateful I listened to them, because I can't imagine seeing what I saw at CinemaCon, seeing it on the big screen and not being a part of it. Having missed out on it. I mean, this is a movie that I think is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. I think it's the reason you go to the movies. It's the reason you make movies and so, I'm really, really glad Tom Cruise is so compelling, and convinced me to be a part of it.

ROHAN: Well, I think you're already doing that. I don't want to come off as too much of a fanboy, but Hidden Figures, Everybody Wants Some!!, and Set It Up were all great movies.

GLEN: No, dude, I appreciate that! Look, I mean, seriously though, thank you for saying that because, as an actor, one of the things that's guided people like Tom, you look back at his early career. I mean, he's just making great movie after great movie after great movie and it's not easy to do that.There's so much noise and there’s so much stuff coming at you that I've tried to be really precise and patient about what I've done, so I appreciate you saying that.

ROHAN: Acting and flying are two very different skill sets, and you have the added challenge of playing the most confident character in the film with Hangman - how long did it take you to get comfortable up in the air?

GLEN: Yeah, yeah, I mean to play Hangman, that's the great gift that Tom gave us is, from the moment I step in any plane, I'm flying that plane, like Hangman. You have to go, “How can I be authentic? How can I maneuver this airplane convincingly doing every maneuver up here that is indicative of what that pilot would be like in the Navy and so, I figured out Hangman is cool as a cucumber, having a blast on the ground, but up in the air, he's gripping and ripping and really going to be the most aggressive of them all and so, that was interesting to do up in the extra 300, especially where we're getting our G tolerance up.

I really had to learn how to throttle up and throw that plane around where I felt comfortable doing that up in the F-18. So yeah, I think the gift that Tom gave us is these rehearsals, through this flight program, those rehearsals I got to run full scenes up in the air as Hangman, so by the time I did in the 18, it definitely wasn't a walk in the park. I mean, there's nothing a walk in the park about the 18. but I definitely wouldn't be been able to do that without the the Cruise flight school.

ROHAN: You and Miles Teller get to recreate the iconic Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer moment near the end, did the two of you have any conversations about how you wanted that scene to play out?

GLEN: It's so interesting. I mean, I know Miles is a huge fan of the first one as well and it's really hard to be a fan of the first one and also not retread on the prototypes, or characters that have appeared before us and try to make our own, to honor the first movie without retreading or being a derivative of the first movie. So, it's great to have kind of a wingman in Miles to navigate that together.

ROHAN: Like you, Top Gun came out before I was born - it was actually the movie my parents went to see on their first date - what did it mean to you to be able to join this franchise and make something new for our generation while honoring the legacy for older generations.

GLEN: Yeah, even before I got cast in this movie, I was turning roles down, saying, “Sorry, I can't shoot anything in the fall.” and them asking, “Oh, you shooting something?” and I'm like, “No, I'm going to be shooting Top Gun, I felt that confident. Yeah, the ego was already strong in Hangman, even before I joined the movie. In terms of, this is a movie I feel like I know better than anyone, except Tom Cruise and Jerry and Joe and those guys, but it's a movie - I've wanted to occupy this world my whole life.

So yeah, I think joining joining this movie - there were iterations of this movie that were in development at times without Tom Cruise, they were flirting with the idea of it's one of the biggest titles of all time, but Tom really is one of those special actors that can take what is a great world, a great idea and find every bit of magic inside of it. He knows why people love Top Gun. He knows the emotional experience of what it is to fly in a jet, he is real life Maverick.

While we were shooting this movie, I was always shocked by moments where I'm sitting with Tom, it's like after we’re done for the day, we're talking, telling stories and then he just takes off on his motorcycle into the night and you’re just like, he’s the coolest dude ever. We wrap and he’d go, “Hey, you know what? Hey, man, I'm gonna see you tomorrow.” Then, he'll literally jump on his P51 and take off into the sunset and you're just like, this guy is Maverick and a guy who's pushed the limit his entire career, his entire life and defied expectations and put his body on the line to entertain audiences. So, it's really cool to work with your hero, but to work with your hero in a role that made him iconic was really surreal.

Plus, check out our exclusive video interview with director Joseph Kosinski below:

In our review, we said, "Top Gun: Maverick is the must-see cinematic experience of the year! Packed with jaw-dropping aerial sequences, thrilling edge-of-your-seat moments, genuine heart, epic romance, huge stakes, and one of the absolute best performances of Tom Cruise's legendary career, this is the theatrical experience you've been waiting for."

Tom Cruise headlines the feature as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, with original co-star Val Kilmer returning as Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. The iconic pair are joined by an all-star supporting cast consisting of Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin, Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral Cyclone, Glen Powell as Hangman, Lewis Pullman as Bob, Ed Harris as Rear Admiral, Monica Barbaro as Phoenix, Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Warlock, GLEN Ramirez as Fanboy, Manny Jacinto as Fritz, Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman, Jay Ellis as Payback, Jake Picking in an undisclosed role, Raymond Lee in an undisclosed role, Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin, Jean Louisa Kelly as Carole Bradshaw, Greg Davis as Coyote, and Bob Stephenson in an undisclosed role.

Top Gun: Maverick is now play in theaters worldwide!

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”

Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

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