When Hollywood heartthrob Glen Powell, 29, was in high school, he drove a doorless 1990 Toyota Previa around his hometown of Austin—a vicissitude that luckily lasted for only a short while. More than 10 years later, he’s well on his way to joining the legendary list of Texas-born leading actors.
Shortly after being cast alongside Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters at the age of 17, Powell moved to L.A. to work with renowned talent agent Ed Limato. “I had a clear vision of the kind of actor I wanted to be,” Powell says. Since then, he has starred alongside Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures and snagged a part in Texas director Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed Everybody Wants Some!! “I gravitate to characters who are normal guys put against insurmountable odds,” he says. “I don’t know if I’d ever want to play a superhero. I want to play a guy who tries harder. It all goes back to the doorless van.”
In his latest film, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which hits theaters this month, Powell sets out to conquer the heart of a journalist, played by actress Lily James, on the island of Guernsey following World War II. And later this summer, he gets another dose of love, starring opposite Zoey Deutch in Netflix’s new rom-com, Set It Up. All the acting comes naturally for him, of course. “If I like a woman, I’ll tell her straight up. My friends in Texas say when my crosshairs focus, I go for it.”
When not filming, Powell splits his time with family in Houston and Austin. “You have to go to Texas to get good brisket and a good stout beer. It’s Torchy’s Tacos, Amy’s Ice Creams and The Salt Lick BBQ. It’s not good for my waistline, but it’s good for my soul.”