The Big Picture
- Glen Powell has grown significantly as an actor and has landed major roles in Hidden Figures, The Expendables 3, and Top Gun: Maverick, since first collaborating with Richard Linklater on Fast Food Nation.
- Linklater has enjoyed seeing Powell’s growth and evolution as an actor throughout their collaborations.
- Linklater had a great time working with Powell on their latest film Hit Man and praised him as a smart, funny, and ideal collaborator.
Ever since he was a teenager, Glen Powell has been a frequent collaborator for Academy Award nominee Richard Linklater. The pair first linked up on 2006’s Fast Food Nation which was released shortly after Powell’s eighteenth birthday, and now they’re back together for the action comedy Hit Man. In that time, Powell has grown significantly as an actor, landing some major roles in Hidden Figures, The Expendables 3, and Top Gun: Maverick among others. During an interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub at our TIFF media studio at the Cinema Center at MARBL Linklater discussed how Powell has changed in his eyes from a fledgling actor hitting his stride to a superstar.
Linklater has had the privilege of seeing Powell at vastly different points in his career. “I think anyone will tell you the most rewarding, special thing about doing what we do and being able to do this over years is the long-term relationships, to just see people grow up and see people change, people you work with or know, and it’s been fun to see Glen,” the director said of the experience of watching him grow. After Fast Food Nation, the two would reunite again on 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!! where Linklater would notice that the young man he directed had significantly changed. Around that time, Powell began his rise to greater heights with Scream Queens where he played Chad Radwell.
Linklater gave credit to Powell for his dedication and recalled seeing the actor evolve on the set of Everybody Wants Some!!!, saying:
“He’s significantly younger than me, but I worked with him when he was a teenager on Fast Food Nation. [It was] just a small part, but I cast him amongst a lot of teenagers, like, ‘That guy’s interesting,’ but he’s 15 or 16 or whatever. And then what felt like not many years later for me, but for him are a lot of years later, let’s say 16, he comes in on Everybody Wants Some!!, and I was like, ‘Oh wow, that guy. He grew up. He became Glen Powell.’ The Glen Powell we know today developed in there, and sure enough. It wasn’t like he had some yellow brick road, he really worked hard, he struggled in LA, he did all the things you have to do to persist in an acting career. He did all that, and he was just fully formed. We had so much fun on Everybody Wants Some!! and then he came in and did a one-day cameo for me on Apollo 10½, and that was fun.”
Linklater Had a Blast Collaborating With Powell on ‘Hit Man’
Getting to work together with Powell again on Hit Man was a joy according to the director. He was glad to have the star leading one of his films, particularly one that was very comedic. Linklater’s latest stars Powell as a cop who goes undercover as the most desired hitman there is who finally breaks protocol to save a woman from a toxic marriage. With Powell also on board as a writer, he got to see another side of the star that he hadn’t yet experienced.
The pair had a lot of laughs developing a film out of the real-life story of Gary Johnson they both read about in a Texas Monthly article by award-winning journalist Skip Hollandsworth. Linklater specifically likened Powell to Ethan Hawke as another actor who brings out the best in him as a direct collaborator:
“Over the pandemic, he called me up with this article he had read, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I read that a long time ago. I do know that story from Texas Monthly,’ and then we just started collaborating on it. Glen’s like the greatest guy. He’s an ideal collaborator, like super smart, super funny. All we do is laugh and make each other laugh and kind of keep pushing each other, too. So, I think this thing reflects both of our greatest hits, maybe, to kind of put our sensibilities together and make this work. And I like collaborating with the actors, too. That’s why I work with Ethan [Hawke]; he’s a future actor, and I’m a future director, but at this moment, we’re screenwriters, we’re conjuring this movie together. I’ve done that with other actors, like I was saying. Ethan and Julie [Delpy], for instance, and Glen, such a great creative partner, just really fun.”
Alongside Powell, Hit Man stars Adria Arjona, Retta, Austin Amelio, and Molly Bernard. There’s no theatrical release date for the film yet. In the meantime, check out our full interview with Linklater at TIFF 2023 below and keep an eye out for more coverage from the festival.