Glen Powell Recalls Going Broke While Waiting for 'Top Gun: Maverick' to Come Out

The actor had to wait out a global pandemic before 'Top Gun: Maverick' became a global hit.

There's no denying Glen Powell is one of Hollywood's top darlings, equally for his looks and his silver screen talent. And it's precisely that notion that makes it utterly hard to fathom that he was going broke not so long ago.

The 35-year-old actor made the revelation in a lengthy profile in The Hollywood Reporter, prefacing that he had never had a role like the one he landed in Top Gun: Maverick. Powell, who was heartbroken after not getting the initial role he auditioned for (Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, which went to Miles Teller), ultimately wound up playing Lt. Jake "Hangman" Seresin.

Powell shared that, with the help of Tom Cruise, he crafted the character to his liking and they filmed the blockbuster film. But then everything came to a screeching halt amid a global pandemic. The outlet reports that Cruise refused to let the film bypass theaters only for it to be dumped on streamers. So the studio waited, which turned out to be a whopping two years before the film finally hit theaters in May 2022.

But Top Gun: Maverick was an instant hit, earning a whopping $1.5 billion at the box office. However, between wrapping the film and it hitting theaters, Powell says he watched his bank account deplete at a fast and steady rate.

"I'd never made any significant amount of money on a movie, including Top Gun, and I was depleting a bank account to a point where my accountant was like, 'This pandemic cannot last much longer,'" Powell recalled. "But Tom was already Tom; I was waiting for my life to change."

Glen Powell at the 2024 Toast to Texas Film at Troublemaker Studios on May 16, 2024 in Austin, Texas. - Getty

Powell acknowledged that waiting for a theatrical release proved to be the one and only choice. And the move paid off, in more ways than one. While waiting out the film's theatrical release, The Hollywood Reporter notes Powell adapted a Texas Monthly article about a professor who goes undercover as a fake hit man. Netflix scooped up the film after it premiered on the festival circuit last fall, and the streaming giant paid out a cool $20 million. That movie, of course, is Hit Man.

Powell became an instant success on the back of Top Gun, but it wasn't until his collaboration with Sydney Sweeney in Anyone But You when his stardom catapulted to greater heights. Suddenly, he went from chopping it up about Top Gun with men who at first didn't recognize him from the film to both women and men snapping pictures and asking for selfies following the release of Anyone But You.

But his success can be traced back to humble beginnings, a road from his hometown of Austin, Texas, to setting up shop in ritzy Holmby Hills with a family he knew through an uncle. The deal was he'd drive their kids around town and coach their sports teams, and in exchange he'd stay with them rent-free. That couple, however, ultimately divorced, prompting Powell to move into a garage in a dingy part of the San Fernando Valley.

Glen Powell at the Hitman premiere and his induction into the Texas Film Hall of Fame at The Paramount Theatre on May 15, 2024 in Austin, Texas. - Getty

"It was all those clichéd things where, like, they'd find a body a block away and then you'd come home to your tires slashed," he recalled.

And after not landing a role on Friday Night Lights -- a role he thought he had in the bag as a former Texas high school football player -- Powell remembers going back to said garage and thinking the worst-case scenario.

"I just remember walking back to that garage after, thinking, 'This is where you're going to live for the rest of your life, you loser,'" he said. "I had to really look at myself in the mirror and say, 'I know you love movies, and I think you've got good instincts, but you may not be an actor."

Fast forward to now, where Powell has reached the point that his parents can now troll him on the red carpet at his movie premiere.

And no longer broke.