Hit Man Movie

Hit Man movie

Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated film “Hit Man” has made its debut on Netflix. As you immerse yourself in this romantic action comedy, you might ponder whether “Hit Man” is inspired by true events and if the character Gary Johnson, portrayed by Glen Powell, was based on a real-life fake contract killer.

Hit Man movie

In the movie, Powell, also co-writer, plays Gary Johnson, a psychology professor who unexpectedly discovers his knack for impersonating a hitman, complete with elaborate costumes, accents, and mannerisms. He begins assuming false identities to assist the local police in apprehending criminals. However, things take a complicated turn when he encounters Madison (played by Adria Arjona), a prospective client who seeks his services to eliminate her husband.

 

Madison’s proposition leads to a twist of fate as she captures Johnson’s heart, setting off a chain of deception, humor, and tangled identities, as described by Netflix’s Tudum. In an interview with the streaming service, Linklater described “Hit Man” as a film exploring themes of identity, self-discovery, and passion. Hit Man movie

 

The director elaborated further, stating, “But on a plot level, it’s simply about a man who becomes entangled in his own web of deceit. His passions drive him to a point where he finds himself deceiving the person he loves, assuming different identities along the way. The film delves into how they navigate the repercussions of these actions.” Hit Man movie

 

Yes, Netflix’s Hit Man is loosely inspired by the true story of Gary Johnson, who pretended to be a contract killer for the Houston police in the late 1980s and 1990s. Linklater discovered Johnson’s remarkable story in a 2001 Texas Monthly article penned by Skip Hollandsworth.  Hit Man movie

 

The filmmaker had previously adapted another piece by Hollandsworth for his 2011 film Bernie, but he faced challenges in finding a central arc for the movie. However, things took a turn when he crossed paths with Glen Powell. Together, they embarked on writing Hit Man, which premiered on Netflix on June 7 following a limited theatrical release.

 

“I remember Glen suggesting, ‘Well, what if we don’t adhere strictly to the facts? What if we take some creative liberties?’” Linklater reminisced during his conversation with Netflix’s Tudum.  Hit Man movie

Hit Man movie

Together, he and Powell chose to hone in on a particular anecdote from the article where Johnson refuses to orchestrate a police sting against a woman who has hired him to eliminate her abuser, eventually leading to a romantic involvement between them. Nonetheless, there exist notable disparities between Powell’s depiction of Gary Johnson and the actual individual. Hit Man movie

 

The real-life inspiration behind Netflix’s “Hit Man,” Gary Johnson, was indeed a college professor who worked as a faux hitman for the city’s police. His story was detailed in a 2001 Texas Monthly article, portraying him as “the most sought-after professional killer in Houston,” credited with leading undercover investigations resulting in over sixty arrests.

 

Arriving in Houston in 1981 with hopes of enrolling in the University of Houston’s doctoral psychology program, Johnson pivoted to a role as an investigator for the district attorney’s office when his admission was denied. His pivotal moment came in 1989 when a woman named Kathy Scott sought to hire a hitman through a bail bondsman to kill her husband. The police, upon being informed, designated Johnson as their go-to “hit man.”

 

Tasked with posing as the contracted killer, Johnson, wired for surveillance, engaged with individuals seeking to hire him for murder. He skillfully navigated these encounters, convincingly assuming various personas to elicit explicit requests for murder and subsequent payment. Hit Man movie

 

Described as a masterful performer by Houston lawyer Michael Hinton, Johnson possessed an uncanny ability to adapt to any scenario convincingly. Despite the risks, he managed to persuade a diverse array of individuals, from the affluent to the less privileged, of his authenticity, consistently achieving his objectives. Hit Man movie

 

While “Hit Man” draws inspiration from Johnson’s story, certain aspects of the film are fictionalized. Director Linklater noted that while Johnson did employ disguises to some extent, the film embellishes this aspect, with Glen Powell’s portrayal pushing these elements to their limits. Hit Man movie

 

The real Gary Johnson did indeed assist an abuse victim who sought his help, as depicted in “Hit Man,” but there is no evidence to suggest that their relationship turned romantic, unlike the portrayal in the film. Nevertheless, Johnson faced personal challenges in his own love life, mirroring aspects of his on-screen character. The Texas Monthly article notes that Johnson was married three times and was described as “a loner” by his second wife. Hit Man movie

 

His second wife shared insights into Johnson’s demeanor, highlighting his ability to effortlessly switch between personas while maintaining a preference for solitude. Despite his adeptness at assuming roles that belied his true nature, Johnson’s inclination towards introspection and solitary moments remained apparent to those closest to him.

 

Sadly, Johnson passed away in 2022, leaving behind a legacy that includes his remarkable ability to navigate complex situations and his impactful contributions to law enforcement through his undercover work as a faux hitman.

Hit Man movie

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