The actor also opened up about how he and Zoey Deutch hope to be a 'Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan' rom-com pairing.
The actor stars in the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise classic, and recently opened up to ET's Ash Crossan all about how excited he was to play "Hangman," a new pilot trainee, in the film -- opposite Cruise, Val Kilmer, and fellow newcomers Miles Teller, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro and more.
"It's awesome," he raved. "I mean, the movie is one of the greatest things I think I've ever seen. It has every bit of why you make movies. It's exciting, it's adventurous, it's romantic, it's funny, and it elevates the action and the flying sequences and characters from the first one in every way."
"The margin for error was so small, and the target is so small," Powell added of making a follow-up to a film that is so beloved by so many fans, "and to hit it feels really, really good."
While he's sworn to secrecy on many plot details of the upcoming film -- which is, at time of publication, due out July 2, 2021 -- Powell has shared plenty about how the film stoked his passion for flying. Cruise was adamant that his co-stars were familiar with flying jets, and put together an "entire flight regimen" to make sure the Top Gun cast could convincingly play fighter pilots -- particularly, that they could withstand the necessary G-force to not pass out during a high-altitude take. "That doesn't look cool," Powell noted with a laugh.
Joking aside, Cruise was serious about being the "flight instructor" for his younger cast members, Powell shared -- and generous as well. He revealed that Cruise paid for him to complete his flight certification following production on Maverick. "He gets excited about anyone that's passionate about aviation."
And all the Top Gun actors had plenty of practice hours logged from their time rehearsing for and shooting the film -- which was shot by director Joseph Kosinski using a unique, high-tech setup that featured six IMAX-Certified cameras rigged in each cockpit to capture the aerial experience like never before.
"We got a lot of flight time," Powell noted. "It's a really rare experience, flying with the best pilots in the world and getting trained by the best pilots in the world. And then, when a flight instructor is testing you on all your knowledge and they look in your log book and you have F-18 hours, they're very confused. Like, no civilian has F-18 hours -- especially when you're trying to get your pilot's license. So that was kind of cool."
Top Gun is just one franchise Powell's found his way into in recent years. He shared that he auditioned for the role of young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and his latest project, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, is a Netflix animated series that takes place at the same time as the events of the first Jurassic World movie -- at a different location in the ill-fated park.
"It follows this group of teenagers that are going to this thing called Camp Cretaceous, in which they're getting this opportunity, like Willie Wonka-style, they were the chosen few that got to study these dinosaurs," he explained. "And then obviously, it's a Jurassic Park movie, so things don't go well, dinosaurs get out. They try to eat people. But this group of teenagers have to defend themselves against these giant terrifying beasts -- and I'm a camp counselor who tries to keep them from dying."
Powell shared that there are definitely some "familiar characters and faces" in the series for franchise fans, admitting that while he's just an animated part of the Jurassic Park universe for now, "these characters could totally end up in the live-action version."
"I actually think that'd be pretty cool," he said. "I guess I just gotta be nice to the right people and maybe cozy up to Steven [Spielberg] in the right way, and maybe I'll get to be Chase for real."
Powell has also been a part of the recent rom-com resurgence, starring opposite Zoey Deutch in the acclaimed 2018 Netflix film Set It Up. "We just had a really, really great time making that movie," Powell recalled of the film's popularity, noting that the tale of two assistants who try to set up their workaholic bosses in order to get some time off the clock felt like "a real human story."
"I think that's part of the magic to that movie," he added. "Sometimes those Hollywood stories, those rom-coms, focus on the billionaire editor of some magazine finding love. You're like, I don't really relate to that person. And I don't know what that feels like."
The pair is set to reunite, along with Set It Up writer Katie Silberman, for a new project tentatively titled Most Dangerous Game. "Hopefully summer or fall next year is my guess," Powell noted.
"I mean, the world is trying to figure out when anything's happening. But we have a great script and a really fun world," he shared. "We wanted to sort of do, like, the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan thing, where we're not going back to the office and trying to be assistants. We're going to a different world...a different environment, but the same sort of rat-a-tat [banter], the same sort of thing that you love from the first one, but with a totally different story, just like Tom and Meg. I love that. "
See more on Powell in the video below.