Pop Culture

How Glenn Powell Feels About His ‘Spy Kids 3-D’ Experience

Powell said that filming ‘Spy Kids 3-D’ made him eager to become a full-time actor.

Glenn Powell had a great time filming Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. Powell made his film debut in one of the most meme’d movies of all time, and it sounds like he managed to avoid many of the pitfalls that pull other child actors down. He told The Hollywood Reporter that filming Spy Kids was “one of the best days of my whole life.”

Powell is a household name these days with a long resume of successes on TV and a few recent blockbuster hits including Top Gun: Maverick and Anyone but You. Spy Kids 3-D marked the very beginning of his acting career at age 13. He played the role of “Long-Fingered Boy,” and he said that spending the day on set was completely transformative for him. He told THR: “I will never forget that moment.”

“I was 13. I shot my part, and then I hung out behind the camera,” Powell said. “The entire crew had the most interesting jobs on the planet. You had endless friends on set. And Spy Kids 3-D was arguably our Dune.”

The actor was very self-effacing in the interview, also joking about his very first audition. He went out for a reality competition show called Moolah Beach, but said that he couldn’t show off a sufficient “special talent” for the producers. He said: “I was not on Moolah Beach.” He then told the story of Endurance 2 – another reality show which he did make it on, only to be eliminated in the pilot episode.

“It’s the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a freshman in high school,” Powell said. “Not only are you the runt of the grade, but you just failed on a strength performance thing in front of the world, and the amount of s- that I got was extraordinary. It made me just ferocious.”

Spy Kids 3-D remains one of the most recognizable titles on Powell’s resume. The actor was even inducted into the Austin Film Society’s Texas Film Hall of Fame by writer and director Robert Rodriguez – a fellow Texan. The movie itself has become a popular reference on social media where users regard it as a unique cultural artifact.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over was released in 2003 and was a critical flop but a commercial success at the time. It is a direct sequel to the first two movies, but this time it centers mostly around Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) as he is sent on a mission to rescue his older sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega). Carmen is trapped inside a virtual reality game, and Juni needs to infiltrate it to find her. The CGI-heavy adventure that follows has some surprising celebrity cameos, and more melodrama than most movies can muster these days.

Powell’s character introduces Juni to a mini game where players can battle with giant robot mechs for additional points. He sets Juni up with a powered suit he will wear for the rest of the movie, then conspiratorially asks him to do a good job so that he can earn some bonus points. After Juni’s match he returns to deliver one more smug line before sending the protagonist on to the next part of the story.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is streaming now on Paramount+ along with the first two titles in the series, and Top Gun: Maverick. Anyone but You is streaming now on Netflix. Powell will be back in theaters on July 19 in Twisters.

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