Glen Powell Talks The ‘Pressure’ Of Making Top Gun: Maverick And The Advice Tom Cruise Gave Them To Get Through It

Top Gun: Maverick was tasked with building on or topping the original film for OG Top Gun fans. It did overcome this massive hurdle, but that wasn’t a foregone conclusion originally as fans' expectations were extremely high. Of course, no one knew this better than Hangman actor Glen Powell. Making the much-delayed sequel came with expected pressure, but Powell spilled the advice Tom Cruise gave him and the cast to get through it.

The Top Gun: Maverick star admitted to People the blockbuster was already a pressure-filled situation for him. Being around Tom Cruise and megaproducer Jerry Bruckheimer was overwhelming at first before things turned around as the film progressed. Glen Powell enjoyed learning from the Hollywood titans, calling the experience “next level” for him as an actor. But the pressure went beyond the set as he and the cast were worried about the lofty expectations from fans of the original film to not mess up the legacy. In his words:

When you have a movie the size of Top Gun, there’s a lot of expectations on how you play a certain character. You don’t want to be a derivative. You don’t want to be stuck in the ’80s. You’re trying to figure out a way to update things. When you have that amount of expectations, there are a lot of ways to miss. There are a lot of ways to fail.

Being that it took 36 years for a sequel to be made, there was bound to be pressure for it to perform or exceed the original film. Of course, viewers and critics heaped nothing but praise on the Top Gun sequel, some even saying it was better than the first film. It also took an incredible box office award away from Titanic in the process. But the key to the film’s success was paying homage to the 1986 aviation film while carving out a new path.

But that doesn’t mean shooting the blockbuster sequel was a breeze. Glen Powell recalled there being “a lot of pressure” as he and his castmates filmed alongside Tom Cruise. He revealed the Hollywood star gave the young cast sound advice as they continued working on Top Gun: Maverick. Powell recalled that Cruise called pressure a “privilege” when challenging themselves as actors.

Tom said this phrase, ‘Pressure’s a privilege.’ When there’s [an] expectation on something, it also means there’s a lot of opportunity.

Cruise appeared to know “pressure creates diamonds.” But having starred in multiple box office hits, Tom Cruise had been in the same spot as a young star especially filming the original Top Gun. He just wanted Powell and his co-stars to do their best and not worry about replicating the characters from the first film. This seemed incredibly important for Glen Powell’s Hangman as he could’ve come off as a pale imitation of Val Kilmer’s Iceman. But luckily, Powell carved out a unique spot for himself in the Top Gun legacy.

Bigging up Tom Cruise is nothing new for Glen Powell as the Maverick actor spilled on getting advice from the Mission: Impossible star in the past. Of course, Powell lost the Rooster role to co-star Miles Teller leading him to almost pass on playing Hangman. That was until the Hollywood veteran gave the 33-year-old actor a piece of meaningful advice about picking great movies and making the roles great. But changing his career trajectory was only a preview of what it’s like being around Cruise. The Scream Queens actor shared incredible stories about the 60-year-old actor’s go-go attitude on the set, including setting up a training program for the cast to get used to the jets’ G-force.

Right now, Glen Powell is riding high as he prepares to release the real-life war drama Devotion, which hits theaters on November 23. He already has another project in the works as Powell and Nick Jonas are teaming up for the buddy comedy Foreign Relations. So, he appeared to take Tom Cruise’s words to heart. While viewers wait for these films, they can watch Powell’s Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick by getting an Amazon Prime subscription to buy the sequel.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).