Glen Powell gets some in ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’
A decade ago, Glen Powell was told he should move to Los Angeles because he had the right stuff to make it in Hollywood.
Important note: Denzel Washington is the one who gave him that advice, so Powell listened. And now, things are starting to pay off for the Austin, Texas, native.
Powell, 27, is one of the stars of “Everybody Wants Some!!,” Richard Linklater’s ’80s-set comedy about a group of college baseball players during their first weekend at school.
Powell is familiar from TV’s “Scream Queens,” where he played America’s horniest (yet somehow sweetest) frat boy. And in between the muscles of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you could also see him in “The Expendables 3,” where he starred as a trash-talking hacker.
There’s a geniality and a loveability to Powell that comes across whenever he’s on screen; it’s what Washington saw, and it’s what everyone else is getting to see now. And though success didn’t come to him instantly, he’s now on a roll, and has films in the pipeline with Kevin Costner and Henry “Superman” Cavill.
“It takes a long time. So many people told me to quit. So many people,” says Powell, relaxing inside a suite at Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel last week as part of a promo tour for “Everybody Wants Some!!”
“When Denzel and his agent told me to come out to L.A., those were my only two friends out there. I didn’t know anybody. Now, I feel like L.A.’s home, and I feel like we’re getting some traction — finally.”
Powell’s first screen role was as the Long-fingered Boy in 2003’s “Spy Kids 3,” but he was unknowingly preparing for a life in the arts long before.
When he was a child, Powell’s father would frequently take him to the movies, where they’d spend the day theater hopping and talking about what they had seen afterward. Powell was a middle child with two sisters, and the movies were a means of bonding between father and son.
On weekends, the Powells would head out to the family ranch, where Powell and his 13 cousins — when they weren’t jousting with lances made from PVC pipe and wearing life jackets as vests — would star in mini-productions.
“We’d put on plays and everybody wanted to be the star. So we’d do a James Bond play, and everybody would be James Bond, and the narrative would be like, ‘Who is really James Bond?’ ” he says. “Just stupid things like that. But it was one of those childhood experiences where you go, ‘Oh, this prepared me perfectly for my job,’ which is just playing pretend.”
After “Spy Kids,” Powell bounced around on various TV projects until he landed a role in 2007’s “The Great Debaters,” which was directed by Washington. When the Oscar winner pulled him aside and told him he had the goods, Powell packed up and headed west.
Things started to click when he landed in “The Expendables 3,” which put him alongside the action heroes from his childhood. On “Scream Queens” he stole scenes as Chad Radwell, a wide-eyed, lovable horndog who can’t understand why everybody doesn’t share his Sex Over Everything worldview.
In “Everybody Wants Some!!,” he plays Finnegan, who is softer and more dialed-down than Radwell but brims with a similar electricity.
Before filming began, the cast bonded by playing baseball, listening to period music and watching films specially curated by Linklater. For the cast, Powell was a savvy link to the “Dazed and Confused” director.
“He was kind of a liason,” says J. Quinton Johnson, who plays Dale in the film. “Anytime you wanted to pitch something to (Linklater), it was like, ‘Hey Glen, help me get this pitch together.’ He’s that kind of guy, he can really sell something when he believes in it.”
The product Powell is pitching most these days is himself, and he’s thrilled others are buying.
“At the end of the day, I just really love the job,” he says. “To do what you love is a rare thing in this world, and hopefully this is the pace that my life will take for a long time, because I’m having a blast doing it.”
“Everybody Wants Some!!”
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity
Running time: 116 minutes
In theaters Friday