Dazed And Confused Director Compares Top Gun’s Glen Powell To Ben Affleck Early In His Career: ‘He Just Thought Big’


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Back in 1993, acclaimed director Richard Linklater gave audiences Dazed and Confused, one of the best high school movies of all time. Its plot was simple, as it revolved around a group of ‘70s teens and their shenanigans on the last day of school. A lot stars, who would eventually become big names, were a part of the ensemble flick, including Ben Affleck, who played high school bully Fred O’Bannion. Linklater actually believes that Top Gun: Maverick‘s Glen Powell — who he’s collaborating with for the fourth time on the film Hit Man — is very similar to a younger Affleck and explained the “big” reason why.

Richard Linklater and Glen Powell are Texas natives, who are filming movies in their home state compared to Hollywood. Having previously collaborated for Fast Food Nation, Everybody Wants Some!! and Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood before Hit Man, they’ve gotten to know each other quite well. After working with the 35-year-old actor for four films, the Boyhood director told Men’s Health that he believes Powell is similar to Ben Affleck due to their serious passion for the craft of acting:

You gotta love it enough that you like every part of it. Ben Affleck had a certain quality like that. He just thought big, even as a young man. It was like, ‘Oh, he has a big picture.’ Glen does, too.

You could argue that it’s definitely beneficial to cast actors who take their careers seriously. Making a film is a collaboration, one that sees an actor play a role as envisioned by the director. And it doesn’t matter how big the production is, one must bring their A-game. It’s certainly interesting to hear that the filmmaker sees parallels between these two actors, but it actually makes sense. Glen Powell is surely on the rise, and few would argue that Good Will Hunting star has crafted some incredible stories in the cinema sphere. He thinks big, to say the least.

One of Ben Affleck’s best movies is easily Dazed and Confused, in which he played the role of Fred O’Bannion perfectly. The then-20-year-old played a high school senior who took pleasure in butt-paddling incoming freshmen. His targeting of these young teens made the scene in which the freshmen boys dump paint on O’Bannion one of the best moments of geeks beating the bullies in a movie. A little behind-the-scenes fact for you on the coming-of-age film is that Affleck’s role as O’Bannion is so iconic that his character’s paddle is mounted to a wall inside Austin’s famous Top Notch Hamburgers. He truly made in impact and, now, the Top Gun: Maverick star is looking to make his mark.

In Richard Linklater and Glen Powell’s fourth collaboration Hit Man, the actor plays a college professor who poses as an undercover hitman to assist authorities. Things get a little tricky, however, when a woman, played by Adria Arjona, is in serious need of the his help. Something I love about the Oscar-nominated director is his ability to explore different genres and willingness to cast up-and-coming actors. With Powell on the verge of solidifying his leading man status (most recently pivoting back to the rom-com genre with Anyone But You), I see this talented actor’s career going nowhere but up. 

It appears Glen Powell and Ben Affleck are among the big-thinking actors in Richard Linklater’s book. With his keen talent for finding ambitious young actors, it’s no wonder this indie director is responsible for introducing Hollywood to a number of today’s A-listers. As for his latest movie, Hit Man will receive a theatrical release and will also be available to Netflix subscription holders, as the streamer bought the distribution rights. A release date has yet to be announced for it. In the meantime, you can watch Powell in the 2023 new movie release Anyone But You, which is in theaters now. 

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