Maverick’ and Tom Cruise call for help

Kate Hudson and Glen Powell are movie stars who make extra money as drinking buddies. They first met through Hudson’s brothers, who are also actors: Powell co-starred with Wyatt Russell in the baseball comedy “Everybody Wants Some!!” by Richard Linklater from 2016. and shared the screen with Oliver Hudson in Fox’s slasher series ‘Scream Queens’ co-created by Ryan Murphy.

And 2022 turned out to be an important year for both Powell and Kate Hudson. His career soared to new heights after he played a sea flier in two different movies – the prestige biopic “Devotion” and the roaring Tom Cruise hit “Top Gun: Maverick.” Emerging as a huge fan of ‘Top Gun’, Hudson marks a return to lavish comedic work as a crazed socialite in the ‘Knives Out’ sequel, ‘Glass Onion’.

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kate hudson: We’ve known each other for a while now, because you say “Everybody Wants Some!!” with my brother Wyatt. And you went to Austin and had what sounded like a big party. And then you went on to do “Top Gun,” which we talked about when you got that movie, because the first one was everything. It defined so much of how I see guys.

Glen Powell: Oh, now it all makes sense.

Hudson: You did the movie and then there was COVID. And then “Top Gun” came out and blew everyone’s socks off. It was the first major cinema film.

power: I’ve kept a diary about all these things because it’s hard to describe. I spent months preparing for that audition. I lived on naval bases. Then I didn’t get the part – Miles Teller got the part of the rooster. And then this whole situation of Tom Cruise proposing me a new role.

It took over a year to actually shoot the movie. Tom is a perfectionist, so he thought, “We’ve got to get it right.” And I saw the movie, and then COVID happened, and I was like, “Oh man, we’re on this awesome thing.”

Kate Hudson Variety Actors on Actors

Kate Hudson Variety Actors on Actors

Hudson: “Too bad! It’s over! No one ever goes to a theater again!” But that’s not what happened. In true Tom Cruise form, the perfectionist that he is, he always wins. I was in New York and I went to Union Square to see it on the big screen with an audience. It was like : “Thank God. These are the films we need in the cinema.”

power: They showed us the final cut. I watched that movie and thought, ‘I think we did it. Tom called it out – he Babe Ruthed it. He was like, “This movie is good enough where we just have to wait for this pandemic to pass.” But you know how it is.

You also incorporated masks into your film.

Hudson: The masks in this movie are an Easter egg for who all these people are. Each person, in the way they wear their mask, is truly who they are.

power: And your character, Birdie, is iconic. It’s such a fun character. It’s a Halloween costume.

Hudson: Next year I hope I get to see a bunch of “Knives Out” characters.

power: Knowing you as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been surrounded by some of the most interesting people ever. Every time I come to your house or your family farm, there are always interesting, eccentric people walking around. So I was like, I feel like this character has to be based on something.

Hudson: Maybe there’s some color in there that I stole from people I know. But for me, I could see her body language. I could see how she moved. The jokes were the hardest part because the pressure was so great. It’s the whole cast staring, like, “I wonder how she’s going to deliver the line that we love so much.”

power: I like a crew that feels invested in the movie. But one of my least favorite things is when a crew says, ‘Phew, big day. This is it.”

Hudson: The pressure is so on. The challenge with Birdie got her grounded for being so flamboyant. In such a situation, a character can become very flippant and devoid of substance. When you ground such characters, you become more empathetic to them and you kind of root for them. She is so deeply searching for validation and love. And she’s really not that smart. Her ways of trying to be seen or validated bounce back at her.

Glen Powell Variety Actors on Actors

Glen Powell Variety Actors on Actors

Power: You are a bit performative in terms of the way you emote. We’ve both been in this industry for a long time and there’s a group of people we both know who can’t help but be the center of attention.

Hudson: You are the man everyone is looking for because everyone loves you so much. So it was really nice for me to see you play something that was like, “He’s really handsome, but I want to like him more.”

power: Sometimes you can fall into the trap of wanting to be liked on camera. And in a movie like this, where you know a lot of eyes are going to be on you, you don’t want to be Draco Malfoy. But Tom gave me this advice: “For the ending to work, you have to lean into that completely. Everyone else in the film doubts their own abilities. You’re the only man who doesn’t question it. So if there’s any kind of apology in something you say, the movie won’t work. Lean into the douchebaggery of it all.

Hudson: Lean in.

Power: I keep getting cast as a douchebag. Even what I did with Ollie in “Scream Queens,” where I’m a super dork.

Hudson: Correct. I feel everyone is starting to get to know us now that we’ve had many drinks together – with family.

power: Hammered with the Russells and the Hudsons.

Hudson: Let’s finish Tom. Because we like to talk about Tom. My son recently wanted to skydive. And I didn’t know what to do with myself. He’s 18. I thought, “I have to call Tom.” And Tom was so all for it.

power: Did you call Tom about Ryder skydiving?

Hudson: I was like, please, who do I call? I don’t want him going to a weird place. And Tom was so excited. By the end of this call I wanted to dive solo. Somehow he had convinced me how incredible skydiving was. And you worked with Tom, and you’re a pilot now. Did he give you that talk about flying and its importance?

Power: I grew up with the Blue Angels on my wall. I’ve always loved airplanes. But when you see Tom’s love of flying, that’s the most contagious thing. He will fly on set in his P-51, this old World War II plane. It’s that reality-warping field where he can convince you that anything is possible. He goes to the set like it’s his first day, every day. He’s talking about lenses. And he texted me at night about a scene I was filming the next day.

Hudson: He also says, “Look, it’s not going to work out if it’s not great.” And “Top Gun,” if that wasn’t great, that would have been terrible. It would have been such a downer. We needed such a good “Top Gun”.

This is one of those things that happens all the time. You’re making a movie. And then you do another movie which is another airplane movie. And then the only thing anyone wants to talk about is, “Are you just going to do airplane movies now?” Because you had Top Gun and now Devotion, and you’re a pilot in both. People will always ask you about piloting like that’s all you’re ever going to do.

power: I paid a visit to the Pentagon yesterday, and it’s by far the most famous I’ve ever felt in my entire life. “Devotion” – I found that book and developed it for five years. So when I missed the Rooster role, the conversation I had with Tom was, “Hey, I didn’t get this role, but I actually have a naval aviation film that I’m developing. Maybe that’s just what I’m going to to do.” And he convinced me there’s room for two. And I’m really happy because everything I learned on ‘Top Gun’ has to be put into ‘Devotion.’ But it does look like, ‘Hey, are you going to do anything else?”

Hudson: Jonathan Majors is a Major. I loved your chemistry.

Power: When you’re up against someone who brings it, there’s no better feeling. He is a man who is absolutely central. I knew he was Method. So during our first conversation, I said, “No matter what, we need to be able to look each other in the eye and understand what’s real and what’s not real.”

Hudson: I worked with Daniel Day-Lewis on ‘Nine’. I got the best of Daniel Day-Lewis. The Daniel I got wrote me letters every day, very loving and kind. And then I remember one time when Leo DiCaprio, because they were doing “Gangs of New York,” he thought, “What was Daniel like?” I’m like “Great.” He says, “Really?” When you’re working with someone who’s really Method, you don’t know who you’re meeting every day.

power: Do you still have those letters?

Hudson: I do.

power: “Knives Out” seems like the greatest experience of all time. And also, each of those actors has a great reputation. You were filming in Greece while Linklater and I had just finished co-writing a movie exploring the seedy parts of Houston strip clubs. It’s not Greece.

Hudson: You and I are going to do a rom-com – a much-needed, well-written rom-com – in Italy. If someone has the ability to be funny and poignant and has a certain je ne sais quoi about them, girls like me or Reese or Sandra, we’re like, “Would Glen rom-coms do?”

power: I love the image of you, Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon talking about me.

“Almost Famous” is one of my favorite movies. That’s not an easy role. And the world fell in love with you – and you went on this ride of the Golden Globes and the Oscars, and you were…

Hudson: Twelve. I was so young. It was amazing. It felt like a dream. I remember the day after the Oscars. The whole pricing thing is this months-long process. And this is me at age 21: When I woke up the day after I lost, I was like, “Oh, wow, that just happened.” For me it was the most beautiful coming-out party you could wish for. And being from the family I come from, my parents’ concern was that I didn’t understand the peaks and troughs of what this business really is.

That moment for them was like, “Oh, she’s going to be okay.” Because I felt grounded. The process was a whirlwind, but I was in love with my then-husband and I wanted to settle down. The day after, I got a four-page letter from Kurt, and you know Kurt: He’s not exactly the father to be emotional. But he wrote me this four-page letter, which I shall keep to myself. That was my coming of age. Looking back now, I’m like, “Wow, I was a baby.” I was a baby. I want that for my children. I want that with my friends. I really want to be able to see everything in perspective.

Power: The one thing I realized when I got to know your family is that everyone has the most grounded perspective. There is not one ego in the bunch.

Hudson: Well, Oliver.

Power: One of my favorite moments in “Scream Queens” was when they broke up a shirtless scene for Oliver at the last minute. And he was like, “I’m out of shape.” And instead of trying to get in shape, he ate more. I was like, that sums up Oliver.

Hudson: Glenn, I love you. I’m so glad they paired us up because we have such a great history.

Set design by Jack Flanagan

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