Glenn Powell Reveals Bizarre Advice Tom Cruise Gave Him For Top Gun

Glenn Powell says that Tom Cruise told him to "lean into the douchebaggery" while making Top Gun: Maverick.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

glenn powell tom cruise

There is no doubt that audiences love Top Gun: Maverick. The sequel to the 1998 film Top Gun may have been released 36 years after the original movie, but the film still managed to be the highest-grossing movie of 2022; totally leaving other hit films like Jurassic World Dominion and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness in its dust. According to IndieWire, it’s possible that a big reason Top Gun: Maverick did so well is because of some strange advice Tom Cruise gave to his co-star, Glenn Powell, to “lean into the douchebaggery.”

Glenn Powell plays Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin, a character who is a bit of a minor antagonist against Miles Teller’s Lt. Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw. Similar to Val Kilmer’s Iceman in the original film, Hangman picks on Rooster, which adds competition to Maverick’s (Tom Cruise) selection process. Powell admitted that he had hesitations about accepting the role of Hangman because he was afraid that the character’s bullying antics would not make him well-liked by audiences.

Powell told IndieWire, “But Tom gave me this advice: ‘For the ending to work, you have to completely lean into that. Everybody else in the movie is questioning their own ability.”

“You’re the only guy that’s not questioning it. So if there’s any sort of apology in anything you say, the movie doesn’t work. Lean into the douchebaggery of it all.’”

While Powell admitted he was afraid of seeming like a Draco Malfoy type of character, he accepted Cruise’s advice and leaned into the assholery of the character. When reflecting on his time on set, Powell said, “You can’t fall into the trap of being liked on camera.”

glenn powell tom cruise
Glenn Powell in Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

From what Glenn Powell has mentioned about his time working with Tom Cruise on Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise had a deep understanding of what it was going to take to make the film successful. The Mission: Impossible actor knew that Hangman was an essential character to the plot, despite Powell initially thinking that the character was one-dimensional.

Cruise was able to help Powell understand that Hangman is the type of character that audiences love to hate, but more than just being entertaining to watch, Hangman also adds conflict and motivation to Rooster’s character, which is essential to move the plot forward.

Tom Cruise has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for decades, and that’s an accolade that the actor didn’t just get by luck. Cruise is one of the most intense, hard-working, risk-taking actors in the entertainment industry, but he also understands that great characters are the foundation of a good movie. Because of this, his bizarre advice for Glenn Powell to “lean into the douchebaggery” isn’t strange at all but was essential for the actor to understand the importance of the character he was portraying.

Tom Cruise is known for giving strange advice to his co-stars in films. Before he advised Glenn Powell, Cruise also gave some pretty blunt advice to Emily Blunt while filming Edge of Tomorrow. When the Quiet Place actress was having a meltdown about the extremely heavy suits they had to wear on set, Cruise reportedly told her not to be a pussy.

Though his advice seemed tough at the moment, it was apparently exactly what the actress needed to hear to continue to the take, and they later high-fived in her trailer after Blunt obtained the right of passage of receiving an injury on set.

Whether it’s hanging off the side of airplanes or advising co-stars like Glenn Powell and Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise seems to know exactly what it takes to make a great film, which is likely why Top Gun: Maverick is the highest-grossing film of 2022.