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Glen Powell Says Matthew McConaughey Inspired Him to Leave 'Matrix' Movie Hollywood for Texas: 'A Wrong World'

Glen Powell Says Matthew McConaughey Inspired Him to Leave 'Matrix' Movie Hollywood for Texas: 'A Wrong World'
Glen Powell Says Matthew McConaughey Inspired Him to Leave 'Matrix' Movie Hollywood for Texas: 'A Wrong World'


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Glen Powell has opened up about why he decided to leave Hollywood and return to his home state of Texas.

After living in Los Angeles for over 15 years, the 35-year-old actor told The Hollywood journalist that he recently moved to Austin, where he can be closer to his family and finish his studies at the University of Texas.

When speaking with the outlet, Powell said he was inspired to move back to the Lone Star State permanently on the advice of fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey.

“He says Hollywood is The Matrix, man. You plug in and it's a fake world,” the “Top Gun: Maverick” star recalled McConaughey telling him.

Glen Powell/Matthew McConaughey

Glen Powell has opened up about how Matthew McConaughey inspired him to leave Hollywood for Texas. (Getty)

Powell continued: “He says, 'Then I go to Austin and unplug. Everything is real. These are my friends, these are my family, my actions matter there. And he's right.”


“If you're here and you're living in the Matrix all the time, there's no separation between those worlds,” he said of Hollywood.

“And for me, especially as my parents get older and my niece and nephew get older, I want a separation of those worlds.”

McConaughey, originally from Uvalde, Texas, moved to Austin from Malibu with his wife Camila Alves and their three children in 2014.

Matthew McConaughey speaking at the University of Texas

McConaughey, his wife Camila Alves and their children moved to Austin in 2014. (Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Powell, an Austin native, moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career dreams. After making his film debut in 2003's “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” Powell was in his senior year of high school when he landed a role in Denzel Washington's 2007 film “The Great Debaters.”

After being impressed by Powell's talent, Washington introduced the actor to his agent Ed Limato. Powell told The Hollywood Reporter that he was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin when Limato called him and asked if he was attending the premiere of “The Great Debaters” in Los Angeles.

Powell recalled that he met Washington and Limato, who signed him as a client, and that he decided to move to Hollywood after his first year of college.

However, Powell said he struggled for years before he started landing acting gigs regularly. He won his first role as a leading man in the 2018 Netflix romantic comedy “Set It Up” alongside Zoey Deutch. After “Set It Up” became an unexpected hit, Powell said studios began to take notice.

Powell was asked to audition for the role of Rooster, the son of LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, in “Top Gun: Maverick”, but Miles Teller was chosen for the role instead. Powell recalled that losing the role was a “big blow” for him because he had really wanted to play Goose.

Glen Powell speaking in Austin

Powell recently returned to his hometown of Austin. (Nicola Gell/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images)

However, “Top Gun: Maverick” star and executive producer Tom Cruise urged Powell to take on the role of Lt. Jake 'Hangman' Seresin. Powell said Cruise became his mentor as they worked together on the hit sequel.

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Top Gun: Maverick” was not released until two years after production ended. Meanwhile, Powell told The Hollywood Reporter that he almost went bankrupt.

“I had never made a lot of money on a movie, including, and I was depleting my bank account to the point where my accountant was like, 'This pandemic can't last much longer,'” Powell said. “But Tom was already Tom; I was waiting for my life to change.”


Released in May 2022, “Top Gun: Maverick” became a mega-success at the box office. Powell reached a new career high with the surprise success of his next project, the 2023 Netflix romantic comedy “Anyone But You,” in which he starred alongside Sydney Sweeney.

However, Powell admitted that he was uncomfortable with some aspects of his newfound fame and began to experience an “aquarium feeling” from his life in Los Angeles.

Glen Powell in a gray jacket holds a microphone and looks at Sydney Sweeney in a plunging red dress who also looks at him

Powell reached a new level of fame after starring alongside Sydney Sweeney in Netflix's “Anyone But You.” (Mark Von Holden/NBC via Getty Images)

“What makes me feel conflicted about parts of this moment is that I like to choose when I'm in front. And I'm more than happy to do a press tour. I love it. I love being at a Jimmy Fallon you go out, you sign autographs, you do all that,” he said.

But Powell said he wasn't comfortable with “this idea that you hold office” in Hollywood.

“Someone's going to go, Hey, buddy, do you want to come to this guy's house? Yeah, come on. And then you show up, and all of a sudden you're there for, like, someone's tequila launch 'one and all of a sudden there's a photographer and you're like, Wait, what are we doing here?'” he said.

“And I think you get enough of it to just want to bring your family as close as possible or run to them,” Powell added.

Powell's parents, Glen Sr. and Cyndy Powell, also share daughters Lauren and Leslie, who grew up in Austin alongside the actor. Glen, Cyndy and Lauren, mother of fraternal twins Witt and Gwen, still live in Austin, while Leslie pursues a singing career in Los Angeles. Powell previously shared that his family often visited him on set, and Glen Sr. and Cyndy played cameo roles in almost all of his films.


Glen Sr. and Cyndy recently trolled their son with humorous cardboard signs on the red carpet at the Austin premiere of “Hit Man,” the action comedy in which Powell starred and produced. Powell was also inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame during last week's event.

After experiencing success in his career, Powell told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought the real reward was “getting to this point in Hollywood is that I can now leave Hollywood.”

“It’s like I’ve won the opportunity to return to my family,” he added.

Glen Powell on the red carpet raising his arms in front of parents holding signs

Last week, Powell's parents trolled him at the premiere of his new movie “Hit Man.” (ERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Powell said his new Austin home is a half-hour from Glen Sr. and Cyndy's house.

“I think it's going to be good for my head, my heart and my soul,” the actor said of the decision.

Although Powell hoped his UT graduation would coincide with the premiere of “Hit Man” and his induction into the Texas Film Hall of Fame, he said his plans were pushed back due to his schedule charge. Powell said he has to take two classes before he can graduate, which he plans to complete by next year.


When asked why he was still determined to graduate from college after the success he achieved, Powell responded, “I think it's really important to my mom and it's more of an emotional thing for Me.”

“Plus, I’m so close I can taste it,” he added.




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