Glen Powell is on the cover of Men’s Health this month and there’s a whole interview about his workout and diet and whatever, who cares, he shows his butt. And his dog! Whether you care more about Glen Powell’s bare ass or his adorable pup, Brisket, says a lot about what kind of person you are. And no, it’s not “horny” versus “not horny”, because being horny for butts is one thing—I call this the “Tina Belcher type”—and being horny for dudes with puppies is another type (the “Dodger type”). Powell is generously catering to both types in this profile, he knows what he’s doing. Glen Powell is good at being famous.
Right off the top, writer Lauren Larson addresses the Sydney Sweeney-shaped elephant in the room. Some actors wouldn’t allow it, would shut down that line of questioning via their publicist before the interview even begins. But 1) there does not appear to be a publicist present at this interview, writers often mention the third wheel, if there is one, and this profile of Powell emerges from what is presented as a third wheel-free lunch, and 2) he knows it’s good PR! At least in so far as people reading chemistry between him and Sydney builds hype for a sexy rom-com. He gets that, up to a point, did-they-didn’t-they is good drama for a romantic movie.
But there is a line where it turns toxic for everyone involved, most especially women (see also: Meg Ryan, Angelina Jolie). And since Glen and Sydney didn’t blow up their lives to be together, here, then, is the party line: they had fun in Australia while filming and people read too much into it because Glen Powell is a golden retriever-man with eyes that woo everyone around him (a lot of people think this is exactly what happened, choose your own adventure).
He’s not going to pretend there wasn’t chemistry, it’s that everyone read it wrong, and he’s now got one-third of a magazine profile devoted to how his “small” eyes are tractor beams of charisma that makes it seem like he’s in love with everyone around him. A lot of this profile is devoted to building up Powell as a leading man, and having charisma beams for eyes is posited as leading man stuff.
After that, the interview settles into more standard lines, the slow burn build-up of Powell’s career, Top Gun: Maverick kicking it into high gear, Anyone But You coming out this December, but a bigger emphasis is put on Hit Man, which he co-wrote with Richard Linklater, who has known Powell since he was a teenager in Texas. Linklater thinks Powell has the leading man goods, which is truly saying something because Linklater was an early adopter of Ben Affleck and Ethan Hawke, two generation-defining leading men. The question of what Hollywood wants from a leading man in the 2020s is not really addressed, though it’s also much harder to answer. Powell is trying to be an old-school Movie Star type, a la Tom Cruise or Matthew McConaughey, whether or not audiences still want that is another question.
The other part of this profile that strikes me is the note in the second paragraph that they met for the interview in September—during the strike. At that time, Powell wouldn’t talk specifics about his projects, so there was a post-strike follow-up to get some soundbites regarding his films. But still, if the strike was still on, this would be another example of that sideways promoting actors were starting to do more and more in October. Like Timothée Chalamet and hosting SNL with Wonka in the wings, we’d all know what wasn’t being said. What I am taking away from the double strike is that the writers were very impressive in their collective will to wrestle something like a livable career path for themselves in Hollywood, while the actors were…less collectively impressive.
But it’s moot, because the strike did end so whatever the intent of doing this interview mid-strike was originally, now it’s just a good old-fashioned profile for a rising movie star before his next big film, and it leaves a good impression. Powell is so likeable, and not unlike Chris Evans before him, he’s very good at translating his charm into print interviews. He’s good at playing to the audience—maybe a function of being a “people pleaser” in Hollywood. But also, there is an underlying ambition, the sense that for all his good-ole-boy charm, underneath there is a man with a plan, and a man who understands what people want from him as a movie star, which is a dealer’s choice of butts and pups.
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