“I was waiting for my life to change”: Tom Cruise’s Unflinching Decision for Top Gun 2 Put Glen Powell in Truly Hard Times That Will Make You Respect Him Even More

Tom Cruise's commitment to release Top Gun 2 on the big screen almost made Glen Powell go broke.

Tom Cruise and Glen Powell


  • Tom Cruise refused to let the studio release Top Gun: Maverick straight to the streaming platforms during the pandemic.
  • Cruise’s adamant decision caused Glen Powell to go nearly broke, who was waiting for a career launcher while depleting his savings.
  • Eventually, after weathering several challenges surrounding Top Gun: Maverick, Powell rose to prominence for his role as Hangman.
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Finding significant fame in the entertainment industry, Glen Powell has now become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, who recently starred alongside Sydney Sweeney in Anyone But You. However, Powell was relatively unknown until landing his breakthrough role as ‘Hangman’ in Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, which eventually paid handsomely.

Glen Powell in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures
Glen Powell in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

However, there’s a catch to Glen Powell’s payslip following his role in the hit sequel to the 1986 classic. According to the actor, while his casting was a saving grace for his career as well as his bank balance, Powell revealed how his payment for Top Gun: Maverick took some time and nearly made him go broke in the process.

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun 2 Decision Caused a Major Setback for Glen Powell

Although Glen Powell has appeared in several renowned projects like Spy Kids 3: Game Over and 16 episodes of Scream Queens, the actor didn’t rise to prominence until his appearance in Tom Cruise’s 1986 sequel Top Gun: Maverick. Playing the role of Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin, in Cruise’s 2022 movie, Powell brought to life the role of an arrogant Navy pilot undertaking a high-profile mission led by Cruise’s Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell.


Starring in Top Gun: Maverick turned out to be a blessing for his career, as the success of the movie immediately landed Glen Powell in some high-profile roles. Further, the film also saved his bank balance, but not before making him go nearly broke. Speaking with THR, the actor narrated how Tom Cruise’s one significant decision regarding Top Gun: Maverick’s release almost made Powell’s accountant feel scared about his savings.

Glen Powell as Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick
Glen Powell as Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

From appearing as Hangman to working alongside Tom Cruise and marketing the movie, Glen Powell learned a lot, during the process. However, as the movie was set to hit the theatres, the COVID pandemic sent the world into a frenzy making Cruise refuse to let the studio dump Top Gun: Maverick on a streamer. Cruise’s decision ended up being a major problem for Powell, as he knew he was sitting on a blockbuster that could immediately surge his bank balance.

Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

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,’. But Tom was already Tom; I was waiting for my life to change.

Admitting how Tom Cruise’s decision eventually worked wonders for him, Glen Powell also confessed how it initially had an adverse effect on his bank balance. Since he never had a career-launching role or even blockbusters like Cruise, Powell noted that he was depleting his savings while waiting for a game changer.


Glen Powell Almost Didn’t Star in Top Gun: Maverick

Eventually Tom Cruise’s decision to release Top Gun: Maverick in theatres, instead of streamers served Glen Powell better than ever. The film immediately catapulted Powell’s career and launched him to global popularity. Eventually, this particular incident regarding the release of the film increased people’s respect for the actor forever. But shockingly, Powell almost never had it, since he had initially turned down the opportunity.

According to the star’s discussion with THR, Glen Powell almost didn’t appear in the film at all, since he had initially auditioned for the role of Rooster which went to Miles Teller. Certainly, the news came as a major blow to Powell who claimed to have lost all hope, after the soul-crushing incident. However, later on, Tom Cruise had to coax him back to the film to play Hangman, a role that Powell eventually had some control over.

Glen Powell as Hangman in Top Gun 2
Glen Powell as Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

Not getting it was so wounding to me that I was like, ‘Oh, I care too much,’

Initially disinterested in the role of Hangman because of the way the character was written, Glen Powell mentioned disliking the character. Admitting that he wanted Hangman to be a lot like Val Kilmer’s character in the movie, Powell was eventually able to convince the producers to allow him to make some small changes to his role.

beach scene top gun maverick
A still from Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

I wanted him to be reminiscent of Val Kilmer [who played Iceman] – a guy who was having fun saving the day. But I read the script, and I didn’t like this guy. He was just a dick, and he wasn’t even a good pilot.

Finally, Glen Powell made some minute changes to his role as Hangman and appeared in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise. But then Powell had to sit idly by for two years waiting for Tom Cruise to release the film. Ultimately, as the film was released in theatres, it earned $1.4B at the box office (via The Numbers), from which Powell made his fair share.

Top Gun: Maverick is available on Paramount+. 


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1617

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1500 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.