Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 36: Actor Glen Powell

Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers from all walks of life. In episode 36, we spoke to actor Glen Powell about training for Top Gun: Maverick and his new role as a Navy fighter pilot during the Korean War in Devotion. 

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Mike Sarraille:
Hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. I’m your host Mike Sarraille. We’ve got Glen Powell today. Glen, to say you’re having one hell of a year is an understatement. Given that you, how is it even possible that you guys outdid the first top gun? Our whole family walked out of Lamar or Alamo Draft house in Austin and we’re like, that was on a different freaking level. You guys nailed it.

Glen Powell :
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, that was a hell of a movie to be a part of. And obviously working with Crews who’s like one of my heroes to just watch how he puts together a movie and how much he cares and how much he puts everything into every moment of trying to entertain the audience. I, I felt like I was making that movie with, you’re making it with the Navy, you’re making it with Tom, you’re making it a joke is Inky was the director and every all hands are on deck to make sure that this thing is the coolest movie ever. But the target is so small. I mean Top Gun’s one of my favorite movies of all time and the fact that it turned out as well as it did and the way that audiences received it and the amount of people that I’ve heard that have seen it 5, 6, 7, 8 times, my parents I think have seen it 18 times now. People just love this movie. So it’s been amazing to, after all that hard work and patience of releasing it to actually to feel like it was all worth it.

Mike Sarraille:
So I knew you guys. How long did you delay? I knew you guys delayed because of Covid. Was it one year? Two years.

Glen Powell :
We delayed that movie I think two years ago. The movie was finished in basically when the pandemic hit March, 2020. That is when the movie was wrapped or not wrapped but locked. So we saw it right after that and then yeah, we released basically May, 2022. So over two years. Is that

Mike Sarraille:
Possible? That’s insane man. That that’s insane. Well the timing could not be better. Again, I was actually in some tears for that film. Yeah, you guys nailed it man.

Glen Powell :
If you’re not in tears in that movie, not only just on a character level in terms of what’s happening in the movie, but just on a bigger level of appreciating again the vets and that be that sort of thing, being so unapologetically like American and just all of that, that movie just doesn’t apologize for anything. And then also the other thing that I just love about it is it’s truly the movies, right? It’s truly cinema and post pandemic. I felt so many people got emotional because that movie delivers on every side of what it is to be a theatrical experience. And I feel like it was an experience that we felt like may not ever happen again. And the fact that Top Gun really did in my opinion, save the movies to be a part of that was just awesome.

Mike Sarraille:
I had this written down, I wanted your opinion because going to movies, I remember I used to take my kids when they were little and we get the big tub of popcorn and they just love the experience. And of course I’m going to see kids films, which I gonna sit there. It’s an experience and it seems like the whole industry is shifted giving C, but I just sitting at home watching films on your TV just does not deliver on what movies are supposed to be. That theatrical experience you just described, do you think that’s gonna come back with Tom?

Glen Powell :
Yeah, and it’s even talking to, it’s so interesting talking to Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise about these two legends that have navigated so many different eras of this business. And the thing is, sure, absolutely it’s separating. You’re always gonna have things for streaming, but the theatrical experience, there’s a certain type of movie that is not meant to be seen at home and that people want to get outta their house for you want to have that collective experience. And for me, that’s the kind of movies that got me to move, leave the comfort of Austin, Texas. My favorite place on the planet to move out to Hollywood is a movie like that. You can walk into a theater with a bunch of strangers, have that collective experience and see things that you’ll never, it’s a roller coaster ride. It is experience that when you see a movie in the theater, you remember that movie.

Glen Powell :
When I see a movie on streaming, I always appreciate it. I’m always like, oh this is really cool. But it doesn’t leave that indelible mark like a theatrical movie. And there’s something about that I just find to be something that I’ll always strive for is making a movie that you can walk into it, experience Top Gun with Strangers, cry with other strangers, high Five people after the movie, like Top Gun. That was my favorite thing is Jerry Bruckheimer and I on the night Top Gun came out, we went around in a bus, he rented a party bus, we went around at a party bus and we watched people finishing Top Gun and People it to watch Jerry Bruckheimer watched Top Gun Maverick was maybe one of the most special moments. A guy that I’ve like just idolized my whole life. To watch him watch Top Gun Maverick and watch people high five each other and cry and be like, look, yeah, let’s go.

Glen Powell :
Like there’s the best experience ever was just such a, it’s why you do it. Really the thing that I heard Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise talk about that entire experience was how is this gonna affect the audience? How are audiences gonna digest this information? How are they gonna digest this emotion? How are they gonna understand all the stuff? And to watch The Godfather Jerry Bruckheimer, watch an audience, consume it, be affected by it and be so thrilled by that whole thing. I just really got the best film school in my life working with those guys. You

Mike Sarraille:
Know, got the nba, you said something, the movie was a return to almost American cinematic exceptionalism and everyone did walk out and they’re like, what? The chefs of puffed out a little bit. Everyone felt good to be an American at a time where we’re in each other’s throats that that’s gotta be one hell of a feeling to be, have been a huge part in that.

Glen Powell :
Well it’s also interesting to just watch how it’s like sure that movie is just bursting with American every year. It’s red, white, and blue at the same time. It’s so crazy to watch that movie with the Brits to watch that movie and all these other territories. I went to Italy and watch it and what it really reminds you of is like we’ve been watching Marvel movies for so long and those movies are great, but it’s like, it’s not movies about real heroes and it’s not movies about people that we recognize. The thing that makes a pilot a superhero is just a normal person with exceptional talent and exceptional bravery. That is that right? And that is what I find to be really, really cool. It’s not somebody that gets falls in a VA of whatever and gets powers to do whatever. I appreciate the marble, all the marble stuff in the fact that it’s big, it’s cinematic, it’s fun what they do. They do better than anyone. I also just find that Top Gun is such a exceptional thing to be a part of cuz it really is real. It’s real in the fact that we’re shooting on real carriers with real bases. The people that are flying us are real top gun pilots.

Glen Powell :
I just feel like that is such a greater accomplishment than anything else.

Mike Sarraille:
So you did mention you left one of the greatest places in the United States, Austin, Texas, where I currently live with my wife Well played, but it was a certain individual that lured you out of Austin at the age of 17 and convinced you to go to LA and that well known man is Denzel Washington. He gave you some pretty key advice while filming the great debaters. What is that? So 17. I didn’t know my head for my freaking ass. Nobody does unless you’re extremely mature. I’m sure there’s some out there. That’s a bold step man. What was going through your mind? Well one, it’s the chance of a lifetime, but that must have been an overwhelming experience. But you were also under one of the greatest actors of our time Times next to Tom Cruise. Denzel Washington. Absolutely. What was that like?

Glen Powell :
Well the interesting part is Denzel laid it out very clearly for me where he was like, nobody can give you a career. And it’s true. Nobody can just hand you Hollywood and say, Hey kid, go off and do your thing. He’s like, his advice was, it’s gonna be long. It’s gonna be a long road, it’s gonna be tough. It’s not gonna happen overnight. But if you’re gonna bet on yourself, now is the time to do it. Those victories feel a lot less painful when you’re young. As you get older in this town and you have overhead, you have real responsibilities in all these things. You can’t really be as reckless when you can’t feed yourself or house yourself. It’s a bad night, it’s a bad day. It’s maybe a bad month or bad year. When you can’t house like a child, that’s a problem. Then you’re being irresponsible.

Glen Powell :
So before all that sort of chapter happens, then that’s where it’s like, okay, I’m not worried if I’m homeless or not. You just gotta bet on yourself. But Denzel did gimme a great piece of advice early on and <laugh>, I ran into him not too long ago and he always remembers, he’s like, Hey man, just remember who did this. But he gave me this great piece of advice where he said, don’t look in the other lanes, you’re running your own race. He’s like, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s a piece of advice that applies to so many different parts of your life. Cuz I feel like people can get so caught up keeping up with the Joneses or what a victory for someone else is less. What’s that zero sum mentality where if you win, I lose and it’s just not how it is.

Glen Powell :
You’re running your own race, you’re doing your own thing. And Denzel really knows that. He’s like, you just keep at it. You keep making good movies, you keep making good stuff and soon enough, all of a sudden you’re like, wait, I don’t know. This race is getting to be more fun. It’s getting to be easier. And you realize you’re not running against the other people in these other lanes. They’re all running their own races and you can all cheer for each other. And Denzel is just, he’s a competitive guy but he’s not competitive with other people. He’s competitive with himself.

Mike Sarraille:
It goes to, when you’re talking about that, it’s almost like comparison is the thie of joy. That completely true. So I mean so hard for a lot of the viewers watching this so hard for them to do when you’re just inundated on social media watching everyone else’s good times. And first off, nobody posts anything bad. My wife and only post when we’re we’re lovey dovey. I don’t post when she’s thrown dishes at my head from across the, although that

Glen Powell :
Would be a pretty good post, I’ll be honest with you. You should consider it. It sounds fun.

Mike Sarraille:
Not Met my wife, she <laugh> this house despite our age difference. She rules that house, man. So you’ve had a long string of successes, I’ve gotta say this and Men’s Journal, we also own MJ Plus Fit, which used to be the old men’s fitness. So one of the questions we got from our viewers is what were the workouts? Because you had that be scene in Top Gun Maverick band. What were the workouts that you were following? Is that something you routinely follow? What was your regimen to prep for that? And then what’s your daily regimen just to maintain?

Glen Powell :
Yeah, absolutely. That was before you. As soon as I signed on for that movie, that was literally the first call I made cuz I read the script, I saw the beach. It’s a small little thing in the script where it’s like they play shirtless football and I’m like, that’s gonna be the trailer. There’s gonna be all that’s like, I gotta come ready. Especially Hangman. You knew that was, he’s the most competitive of the group. You, he better come ready. So I called this place called Ultimate Performance. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Ultimate Performance. You’re really starting to grow amazing Jim. That’s all built around results. So their trainers are incentivized by getting their clients to a certain body mass index. So the more you glean out and the more in better shape you get, the more they’re incentivized. So they’re on you about what you’re eating, when you’re working out, when you’re taking in water, when you’re doing all that stuff. So I was working with the head of Ultimate Performance, a guy named Nick Mitchell who got me in shape for that. And it was a wild experience, but it’s the best shape I’ve ever been in. And there’s a movie I’m about to start in February and I’m about to get back in Hangman Beat Shape with Ultimate Performance. Yeah,

Mike Sarraille:
Give me a sense, do you know what your body fat sort of lean muscle mass was when you started and what you ended up at?

Glen Powell :
I think we were, were somewhere around, was it 15? Something like that? Yeah, when we started, which is like a normal guy who drinks tequila and eats steak. And then I think we were down to six or seven when we shot that.

Mike Sarraille:
Holy

Glen Powell :
Really The front? No, and they have all the little pinchers and all that stuff. I mean it was to a point where you cannot, can’t keep six or 7%, you can hit it, you it for a week, maybe two or something like that. But at a certain point your body’s really eating itself. So you can keep that up for a bit. And also the best part about it is I was like, I felt great. Their whole thing is building to a moment. They know how to do that. So for actors, I refer to a lot of my actor buddies, they know exactly how to get you to that moment. And now I just work out with them to maintain. I’m not trying to get to that level, but I’ve been shooting, so I haven’t really been all that focused on fitness for the last little bit that’s I’m playing a college professor.

Glen Powell :
So a little less stress on looking too shredded. That would be weird. But for the one I have coming up, there’s a lot of focus in that department. And then it can also tailor to whatever you want in terms of, that’s the other fun part is certain roles require certain mass being lean and they’ve kind of built around that too, which is really cool. Yeah man, it’s fun. It’s fun to find a groove that you like. And they’re also really competitive. Am I? So I really like people that know how to push me and push you like an athlete. Cause I hadn’t worked out like this since high school football <laugh>.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, we will have to look it up and we’ll have to have them on MGA Plus Fit. We we’d love to hear their, well one, you bring it up, incentivizing behaviors is the best way to get the outcomes you want. Yeah, that’s genius on, I think you said the part of Nate Mitchell. So yeah,

Glen Powell :
Nick Mitchell. Yeah. Yeah. And his mentality about it is very different than any other gym that I’ve ever seen. And they’re really starting to take off. I mean it’s really, it’s taken fire around the world. So yeah, you should definitely talk to him. He’s a fascinating guy. Hilarious. But it’s a very cool mentality what they got going on.

Mike Sarraille:
Right on. No, no, no, I appreciate that. So earlier I said you were having one of the best years and you’re capping this ar you’re out with a film that I guarantee our entire family will go to much Top Gun breaking on the, is it the 23rd of November?

Glen Powell :
23rd of November, yeah. Devotion.

Mike Sarraille:
So right around Thanksgiving, the movie is Devotion. You play one of the biggest bad asses, a real life Medal of Honor winner. And I don’t wanna give away the act for which he wanted. I want people to see this film, the reason it’s called Devotion is there’s no higher form of the demonstration of love he showed for his brother in arms, Jesse Brown in his act. So you read this book about five years ago. We were talking earlier before we hit record here and you’ve been trying to push this thing and it’s taken you a while.

Glen Powell :
Yeah, I mean that’s the other thing that I don’t think a lot of people understand is everybody’s like, whoa, you’re doing two naval aviation movies in a row. And I was like, well, I’ve been developing devotion for five years. I had a script together, I had producers on board, I had financing the whole thing before Top Gun. So there was a moment in which I was actually choosing whether to do Top Gun or Devotion. And I really had to talk to the producers of Devotion and Tom Cruise, who they convinced me there’s room for both of these films. You can only do one. And that’s the beautiful part is these movies really do pair so well together. When you look at Top Gun, you look at devotion, what two very different eras of naval aviation, different types of aircraft, very different stories, emotionally, different types of movies.

Glen Powell :
But they’re just both beautiful testaments to our men and women in uniform. But just very different as films. But a lot of the things that I learned from crews on Top Gun, especially the ways in which we shot those planes, would not have been possible if I didn’t have that experience. On Top Gun, we have those really tiny IMAX cameras that we’re able to put all over these planes and Top Gun, obviously we’re pulling all these planes from naval bases and things like that. We’re flying these 80 million F eighteens on this movie. We’re having to pull these planes from around the world. The only people that own course heirs, bear cats, sea Furies, sky Raiders are our collectors. So we’re having to get these collectors from around the world to give us their aircraft, let us paint them in the Korean War, paint, age it, and also get these best air show pilots to fly these things in a dynamic way that you’ve never seen on camera before with these crazy camera mounts.

Glen Powell :
So it was a real tough job trying to put all this stuff together, but ever, you haven’t had this many course airs in one place since the Korean War, which is wild. So it’s been a really thrilling, this whole experience has been really thrilling. But there’s little things like that you’re just like, and I got to talk to this. I got the Medal of Honor, medal of Honor Society, gave me the Bob Hope Award for some of my work in entertainment and portraying the military. And I met this Korean War veteran who told me they got to see devotion beforehand. And he said he and his family were telling me there are things that he said to them that he’s never been able to express until he saw devotion. And he was able to have this amazing conversation with them about his experience over there. And sometimes it takes seeing a movie to give you the context to communicate about things so that he’s able to go, oh, see that battle, the battle chosen reservoir, I was there, here’s what was happening. And they’re like, wow, we’ve never heard these stories. And I don’t know, it’s a really special thing when that kind of happens when you can get to know your loved ones more through a movie. And I agree, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving movie, so I appreciate you and your family for going to see it.

Mike Sarraille:
Oh, we will. So what was it, I mean, you’ve put a lot of personal capital on the line, accepted a lot of risk for this story between the two main characters, Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown. What was it about this story that said for Glen Powell, I need to turn this into a movie. What was it about their story Man?

Glen Powell :
Well, my grandfather was a crane war be, and it was really interesting how I think I was always frustrated he fought in World War ii, but what he did in the Korean War was way more impactful on his life, way more harrowing. And it was interesting because I always felt kind of slighted on his behalf when people didn’t know what the Korean War was. I forgot, you know what I mean? It really, it’s the forgotten war and it really was such a bummer that we honor our veterans. But that sort of thing when people were like, oh, he is a Korean War Beth, they’re like, okay. You know what I mean? It was clear that no, there was no emotional connection to it.

Mike Sarraille:
For the listeners here, go look up the Korean War cuz the brutality for which it was fought, I mean we realize that this was a war with no end because as China pushed south, it would’ve turned into a decade long fight. And that’s why it ended in a ceasefire. And what people don’t realize is that North Korean and South Korea that ceasefire holds today with the D Zone. Yes. Sorry, I cut you off.

Glen Powell :
No, that’s such a good thing to bring up because I went for research in order to, number one, Jesse Brown is still over in North Korea, so we’re trying to get him home and bury him in Arlington. So I went over to South Korea on behalf of that effort, but also for research, for devotion. And we went to some of these battlefields and whatnot. What was so interesting, especially when you go on the dmz, is you see the legacy of the Korean War. People came up thanking, I was with other Korean War veterans and they were revisiting some of these battle sites returning to some of these things. And it was so touching. But also what made me really go, wow, there’s the United States for that. For them it’s the forgotten war. But for the people in South Korea, the United States came to their aid and they’ve never forgotten it because the presence of what that threat was is still existing.

Glen Powell :
It’s still on the other side of their border. And South Korea is in the middle of a lot of bullies. And so what’s interesting is what the United States did for a friend, they didn’t know, but they came to their aid and put their own life on the line. That is one of those things that was really impactful for me. So obviously reading the book, that was a huge thing, is having that own personal connection to my grandfather. Number two was this amazing story of Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown. Jesse Brown is the first African American naval aviator. A guy that should be on the lips of everybody ever. I, in terms of the anything, the first African American naval aviator. And yet I had no idea who he was. I had never heard his name. And a lot of people in the Navy, it’s the same way. And his relationship with Tom Hudner was so unique and special and didn’t feel like it bled into any of the tropes that you can sometimes see in movies.

Glen Powell :
It was such a unique friendship and one that sort of defined I think all the best things about being an American and being a wing man, a friend, and how far are you willing to go for that person putting, willing to bleed for a friend. You know what I mean? And I thought that was such a special idea. And then in addition to that, I just felt like it was a movie that had scope, just how we were talking about with Top Gun. This is a movie that said everything, the best things about humanity. And also told it with the backdrop of a big movie with scope. And that was the thing that I just loved is I go, not only do we have the ability to tell this intimate story of friendship, but we have this ability to do it on this massive scale in a way that no one’s ever seen. So it was all of those things that didn’t felt like, didn’t feel like they fit in, fit in one box, but that made it such an amazing opportunity.

Mike Sarraille:
So you were able to meet Jesse’s family. Were you able to meet Tom Hudner before he passed away

Glen Powell :
Or I was able to sit down with Tom Hudner. So on Memorial Day 2017, I sat down with Tom Hudner. He actually ended up passing away a few months later. But I got to sit down with Tom. I got to talk to him about what this moment meant to him about what this relationship meant to him. I made a promise to him. I made a promise to his family to tell the story and tell it. Right. And he passed away a few months later. And then at his funeral I met the entire Brown family. And that’s where I really got to sit down with the brown family and the Hudner family and said, if you guys give me the opportunity to tell the story, we’ll do it right. And that was the moment that all the pressure I felt, all the pressure. When you look a family in the eyes, both families, the brown family, the Hudner family, and you say, I’m gonna tell the story, the most important legacy story in your family, and I’m promised not to mess it up. It’s a lot of pressure, especially when as with Hollywood, there’s so many easier ways to mess it up than they get it right. I felt that pressure every day shooting, shooting on that movie. And I had a picture above my mantle when we were shooting in Savannah of Tom Hudner getting the Medal of Honor and a letter that Tom Hudner wrote to me. And it just reminded me every day put pressure on me every day to just make sure we were doing it right.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s huge. And Tom, I don’t know if I wanna say put a bullseye on his back, but very much accepted risk to career by I’d say crossing sort of racial lines. Is it?

Glen Powell :
I would say that Tom Hunter, the thing that really is so exceptional about that, that guy is he did everything that you’re trained not to do. And he did it without thinking he did it because it was the right thing. And he was always a guy that wanted to do the right thing, but was definitely a rules follower was definitely a guy who colored in the lines his entire life. And it was so interesting that this moment, the moment that sort of defined his life and this friendship that defined his life, he did it without thinking it was all instinctual. It was all very human. And that’s where I feel like this story just really lives in a different place. It’s not like he was trying to be anything. He wasn’t. He was just trying to be a good friend. He was just trying to be in the trenches with this guy that brother and arm. So yeah, just really, I can’t wait for people to see this cuz I really do feel like, again, it says all the right things about friendship and allyship

Mike Sarraille:
For those listening, go see the film. Because what Glen and I are referring to, and again I don’t wanna give this away, is so moving with respects to what one human would do for another in terms of putting their life at risk. And in there is no higher form of love as to lay your life down for your friend, as you’ve heard. So the movie comes out on the 23rd, we’ve got that, we’ll make sure all the links are on the webpage. What are the projects, before we start wrapping this up, what other projects or passion projects are you working on right now that you can tell us about?

Glen Powell :
Yeah, I just wrapped two days ago, Richard Link later, and I just wrapped a movie together called Hitman. I literally, it’s so funny. Literally two minutes before you and I hopped, I was on the phone with Rick, who’s so excited about this movie. He’s just so pumped. But it just, I’ve known Richard Link later since I was 14 years old. This is our fourth movie together. I just love the guy. But this movie is so fun. It is a blast. And yeah, I’m just really excited about it. But it’s all based on a true story from a Texas monthly article.

Mike Sarraille:
Good. Okay. Well Glen, we’ve finished this off in a certain way. We get a little vulnerable here because hey, the Everyday Warrior is for all those listeners who are battling something and we’re all battling something. You’ve been successful in your life and we believe that success leaves breadcrumbs and if you learn from enough successful people that chose you the path or at least the right direction. So first question, what has been the biggest or toughest decision of your life?

Glen Powell :
Biggest or toughest decision of my life? Wow, that’s such a good question. What’s really interesting is, I know that does sound silly, but I know the Denzel Washington thing feels so obvious in hindsight. But when I’d seen the corpses of a lot of people move out to Hollywood to chase their dreams and get totally wrecked and been left without a personality and all these things, I was like, I don’t wanna do it. I’m very close with my family. I love Austin, Texas more than anything. So to make that choice to actually plunge into a thing that I knew I didn’t know anybody in Hollywood I knew was gonna hurt again is even though I knew Denzel, it’s not Denzel and I hang out, let’s be honest, it’s not like I’m at his house every weekend for barbecues. He’s a guy that has provided me with great mentorship and clarity on things.

Glen Powell :
But again, no one can do it for you. So there was a bunch of years, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now. I’ve been acting since I was 10 years old and so I’m 34 now. And so I’ve been at this for a really long time and I think most of that time has been what most people would define as failure. Barely <laugh>, barely able to meeting even though success on things, hidden figures. Not a lot of people know this, but Hidden Figures was an incredible time in my life where it’s like I nominated for an Oscar and whatever, I made $0 on that movie, no money. So even though success is happening around you, you’re dead broke and you’re still trying to do all these different things and it is just funny cuz doing expendables and all these things, it’s like there, there’s a perceived success and then there’s actual success.

Glen Powell :
And it is really funny how long it takes to actually convert on these things. It takes a really, really long time. So anyway, I just feel like if you’re talking about strife, it’s just keep pushing through these things. I don’t think a lot of people, I don’t tend to wallow in failure. I tend to just drop my head and just work every day. And then when you lift your head up, hopefully the world looks a little brighter. But that’s what I would say is to anyone doing anything tough or anything that you believe in, just keeping your head down and keeping trust in yourself and keeping trust in the people that actually love you, not the people that just say they love you. There’s a big difference <laugh>.

Mike Sarraille:
So you know, say a lot of people don’t make it in Hollywood and we’ve always heard that from the public view. Why do you think so many people leave Hollywood? Is it because they can’t accept failure, like repeat failure, they lack resiliency? Or what is your common diagnosis of why

Glen Powell :
People leave?

Mike Sarraille:
Why they give up on their dreams and leave?

Glen Powell :
Because it’s not up a meritocracy. First of all, I feel like I’ve worked harder than most people that know me. They go, okay, Glen wakes up and he works. I wake up and I grind. However, I know the reality is there’s a very likely path where this didn’t happen. Many other permutations of my life in which this opportunity would not exist. So that’s where I go when people get cocky and when people start buying into their own hype, I’m like, that’ll never happen. Because I also know that yes, I work really hard. Yes, I’ve, I’ve worked really hard for this moment. However, I’m also aware that there’s it. It’s not up to you. There’s a lot of other things that have to fall into place. I think people leave because of the powerlessness of this town.

Glen Powell :
My whole thing, the reason like devotion, if you look at devotion and developing devotion, the movie I just did with Richard Link later that I got to write with him and produce with him the stuff that I have coming up next. My mentality has always been don’t have your hand out asking for a job. Provide the job, come bearing gifts and then put yourself into it. Figure out how it could work. But I feel like where people get caught up is that it becomes a parasitic environment where they need something from someone else. And if you can bring something to the table, it changes the whole power dynamic of everything. I think as soon as I started producing and putting things together and not working to get an acting job, but just working to employ people, just working to start putting movies together, not necessarily for me to be in, but then the power dynamic completely shifts where you’re now a value add. And it really did change the way I think people viewed me within this ecosystem is not a guy that ever needed anything from anybody.

Mike Sarraille:
Is that different in any other industry? No.

Glen Powell :
That

Mike Sarraille:
Applies

Glen Powell :
To everything in life. I think it applies to everything in life. If you start something and you’re committed to it, and that’s when anybody starts a business and I’m like, sure there’s favors that have to be done on the way to a lot of success. At the same time, if you start something great, you buy into it and you put all your focus on there, it’s amazing the inertia that starts building around you. Cause very few people, I would say, have the stomach to keep going on that aspect. There’s a lot of failure on the way to success. <laugh>, right? IT

Mike Sarraille:
Excellence always included a lot of failure is what I like to say. And for some people the taste of failures is just too much for ’em. It’s not a character assassination on them, it just shows that lack of resilience. So everyone has a code. What are those three to five attributes or key tenets that have led to the majority of Glen Powell’s uh, success? And I think you’ve probably already mentioned a few, you said you get up and grind hard every day. But what are those core tenets for you that you try to follow that have been, for the most part, led to a high probability of success?

Glen Powell :
That’s such a great question and I should actually write these down because I,

Mike Sarraille:
Glen Powell get,

Glen Powell:
Well what’s interesting is I actually, a lot of these things I do write down when every time I work with an icon, I have this thing that I write down called Icon Wisdom and it’s if I work with Cel Lester Stallone, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford Costner, and he is like, it’s all these icons. I write down a piece of advice from them. I’ll tell you one thing that Costner told me that really stuck with me that he basically said, the movies you make are the ideas that you believe in. The movies you make are your epie. You only get to make so many, but those movies are going to outlast you after you’re dead. People will continue watching the movies, your movies. So if you make the right movies with the right message, just know that is the things that you believe in. Those things are gonna outlast you.

Glen Powell :
And I’ve really taken that to heart. It’s not making movies for the sake of making movies, but trying to make movies that I’d be proud to be my epitaph. I would say in terms of cruise, one of the things I really learned from Cruise was being insatiably curious about the world. The reason Tom is Tom Cruise is that guy is interested in everybody except himself. That guy you talk to Tom, the reason why people like Love Tom is he comes to every interaction and he’s finds out about you, finds a thing that he’s like, I’m genuinely curious about this thing and will soak it up. So Tom is the most, well, most intelligent person you’ll ever meet about so many random things because he’s constantly curious and soaking up the world. It makes him more interesting to people because he’s more interested and I think his belief in the film business and his relentlessness hasn’t waned in what, 40 years of doing this thing. So that’s pretty damn cool to be that curious and that excited to get up and work that hard every day. So if I can be as passionate about the film business at Tom’s age, I will be very happy

Mike Sarraille:
That, that’s funny you bring up curiosity. It’s one of the number one attributes we found in the most high performing Navy Seals. Regardless how much time they had in the SEAL teams, they were always interested in what made people so great with whatever aspect. If somebody was great with a pistol rifle, with explosives, they would pick their brain to include the way we did things. Oh, if it’s tradition, why is it tradition? Is there a better way of doing things? But curiosity was the number one of the number one attributes of the high performers in the Seal team is that we identified. Yeah, you brought up Costner, that’s too bad that Taylor Sheridan who’s just crushed Yellowstone, got called out for being too, or anti woke is that Yellowstone was too anti woke. But yeah, they, they’re crushing Costner and Sheridan are crushing.

Glen Powell :
Yeah, yeah, Costner’s the Man. Costner. Costner’s great. It is just really interesting. One of my favorite memories of making Hidden Figures is he invited me to a baseball game and I got to literally sit, going to a baseball game with Kevin Costner is one of the greatest things you can do. I mean, talk about the guy who’s made the best baseball movies of all time and sitting behind home play with that guy was next level and just getting, he really took a real interest in my career and making sure I did it right. I was so grateful that he took the time. I couldn’t believe it. He’s, he’s a really special dude.

Mike Sarraille:
As you’re talking about Costner and Denzel and Sylvester and Cruz, it seems like they all have these just again, these common attributes, common amongst all them that again, these high performers. So the last question we always ask is when all is said and done and for you, hopefully that’s 60, 70 years from now <laugh> and that time has come and you’re going, what do you want your legacy to be? Glen Powell gonna be known for when he is no longer, no longer with us?

Glen Powell :
That’s a really great question and one that, again, I think devotion is such a great example of the type of film I, you’ll never see me happier than when I’m on a film set. It’s the job that I really feel like I’ve wanted to do my entire life. It’s all I cared about talking about as a kid, I cared a video camera around, I talk about movies all the time, but the movies that have left a mark on me is, I remember walking out of a Saving Private Ryan with my dad. I remember seeing Saving Private Ryan and I remember walking outta that movie being like, that changes the way I view about anybody wearing a uniform and what a special thing that changes the way that I viewed World War II. And that experience of not doing something for logical reasons, but doing something for the right reasons, which is really what the military is about.

Glen Powell :
It’s like No Man Left Behind. That is not a self-preservation thing. That is not a logical thing, but that is a, it’s about based on, you know what I mean about what is right to, and something that defies logic. And I feel like devotion really is my attempt at a Saving private Ryan sort of feel where I hope it really does change people’s mentality on how they see the people around them. I feel like Top Gun did that. I feel like Devotion has the opportunity to do that and I’m continuing to try to make movies that hopefully make people feel heroic, make people view the people around them as heroic and tell stories that I feel like change the world. Cause I really do feel like the thing that Crews always talked about in Top Gun was that movies you can never forget is a collective emotional experience. Everybody around the world views is watching the same movie and that is a very rare thing that you can distribute on a mass level of feeling right. And feelings really can change the world and they can view change your point of view. And if you do it correctly, it can be really highly impactful. So I just hope I can be impactful with the ideas I put out in the world. That’s it.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s amazing how you can dream, you can hope. And whether you realize it or not, I don’t come from a military lineage, but it was your previous generation that gave me the curiosity about the military and why people do it that you to get me to join. And whether you realize it or not, you are now not pushing, but inspiring another generation to serve our nation for that man, I wanna thank you Glen. You have given us some nuggets and I’m gonna hold you to it. Icon Wisdom,

Glen Powell :
We’ll release it at some point. Yeah,

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Hold onto that cuz that is a New York Times bestseller and especially written by you in the way you articulate your leadership and your approach to, and your passion to your profession. Man that that’s gonna be a bestseller. Thank you for joining us today. For the listeners, again, I will keep pushing this Follow triple seven men’s journal is gonna be covering it all of January as 10 special operations soldiers try to skydive seven comments in seven days, trying to raise 7 million for Folds of honor, which provides scholarships for military and first responder families. So please go to triple seven, give smart.com, make a donation, help ’em get to that 7 million. Again, Glen, thank you. And for all of you, this has been the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. We’ll see you next time.

Episode 35

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Episode 34

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 34: Pete Hegseth
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Episode 33

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 33: Coach J. B. Bickerstaff
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Episode 32

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 32: Ezekiel Mitchell
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Episode 31

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 31: Adrian Brannan
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