Glen Powell Feared He'd Spoiled 'Hidden Figures'

Glen Powell discusses his challenging experience with film previews.

by Nouman Rasool
Glen Powell Feared He'd Spoiled 'Hidden Figures'
© Rick Kern/Getty Images

Glen Powell, celebrated for his role as astronaut John Glenn in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film "Hidden Figures," recently shared his initial trepidations about his performance during an episode of the "Therapuss with Jake Shane" podcast.

Powell candidly expressed his initial dissatisfaction after viewing an early cut of the film, fearing his portrayal might detract from the overall impact of the story. "Hidden Figures," a historical drama, highlights the critical contributions of three African-American women—portrayed by Octavia Spencer, Taraji P.

Henson, and Janelle Monáe—who were pivotal in NASA's early space missions. Their efforts were instrumental in launching Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, into space. Despite the film's eventual acclaim, Powell recounted his profound anxiety after his first viewing.

Powell's Rough Cut Woes

Describing the experience, Powell said, "It does get in your own head. Watching a rough cut is akin to editing footage of yourself—it’s all too easy to be overly critical." His unease peaked to the extent that it physically affected him.

"I remember leaving the Fox lot where I first saw the film—before final edits, effects, or sound design were complete—and I literally puked in the bushes, convinced I had ruined the movie," he confessed. Powell's worry stemmed from a fear of undermining the significant legacy of the women the film portrayed.

"These women delivered phenomenal performances, and here I was, worried that I’d somehow lessened their story," he reflected. However, Powell also acknowledged the transformative power of post-production. "But once the music and final edits come into play, the film starts to feel different.

You see it come together and remember that we all aim to do our best, especially when portraying real-life figures with such crucial stories to tell," he explained. Beyond "Hidden Figures," Powell continues to make strides in his acting career.

He is currently starring in the action-comedy "Hit Man," now showing in theaters. Fans of Powell can look forward to streaming the film on Netflix starting June 7. As Powell's experience underscores, the journey from filming to final cut is often fraught with personal doubts and professional challenges, yet it also demonstrates the resilience and dedication actors bring to their roles, ensuring that vital stories are told with integrity and depth.