After the disappointment of not landing the role of Rooster, Powell was wary of taking the filmmakers up on their offer to play Hangman, the cocky, antagonistic pilot who fills a similar role as Iceman in the original movie.
"Once Tom found out, he was like, 'Bring him in here,'" director Joseph Kosinski told Entertainment Weekly. "So Glen came in and I sat down in a room with him and Tom. Tom said to him, 'What kind of career do you want Glen?' And Glen said, 'I want your career, Tom.' Tom said, 'How do you think I got here?' And Glen said, 'By picking great roles.' And Tom said, 'No, it's by picking great movies and then I made the roles good.' For Glen that was a real eye-opening moment. He took the role that, on the page, wasn't as big as it is in the film and just turned it into something really, really special."
Cruise continued mentoring Powell throughout shooting and beyond — even gifting him with real flying lessons! "I would be updating him about my progress and he would check in with me," Powell revealed to Entertainment Weekly. "After I got my pilot's license, there was a little card that just said, 'Welcome to the skies.' And there was a certificate for a stunt driving school next to it. That's next."