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The Unbelievable True Story Behind ‘Hit Man’ On Netflix—Who Was Gary Johnson?



The Unbelievable True Story Behind ‘Hit Man’ On Netflix—Who Was Gary Johnson?

Richard Linklater’s anticipated movie Hit Man has formally arrived on Netflix. As you’re watching the romantic motion comedy, you may be questioning whether or not Hit Man relies on a real story and whether or not Gary Johnson was a faux contract killer who existed in actual life.

Starring and co-written by Glen Powell, the High Gun: Maverick star portrays Gary Johnson, a psychology professor who discovers he has a hidden expertise as a faux hitman, together with theatrically imitating his suspects with humorous costumes, accents, and mannerisms. He begins to imagine false identities to entrap criminals for the native police, however the state of affairs turns into tough after he meets a potential consumer named Madison (Adria Arjona).

Madison desires to rent Johnson to kill her husband, however she finally ends up stealing his coronary heart and igniting “a powder keg of deception, delight, and mixed-up identities,” in line with Netflix’s Tudum. Whereas speaking to the streamer, Linklater described Hit Man as a film about “identification and self and fervour.”

The director continued, “However on a plot stage, it’s only a man who will get in slightly too deep. His passions lead him in a path the place he’s deceiving somebody he’s in love with, and being another person. They need to cope with these repercussions.”

Is Hit Man On Netflix Primarily based On A True Story?

Sure, Netflix’s Hit Man is loosely primarily based on the true story of Gary Johnson, a person who posed as a contract killer for the Houston police through the late Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties. Linklater got here throughout Johnson’s unbelievable story in a 2001 Texas Month-to-month article written by Skip Hollandsworth.

The filmmaker had beforehand tailored one other Hollandsworth piece for his 2011 movie Bernie, however he struggled to discover a central arc for the movie. That modified when he met Glen Powell, and collectively, they started writing Hit Man, which made its debut on Netflix on June 7 after a restricted theatrical launch.

“I keep in mind Glen saying, ‘Properly, what if we simply don’t stick with the information? What if we minimize unfastened as soon as?’ ” Linklater recalled to Netflix’s Tudum.

He and Powell determined to give attention to one story from the article by which Johnson declines to arrange a police sting to catch a girl who’s employed him to kill her abuser, finally resulting in a romantic connection between them. Nonetheless, there are a number of main variations between Powell’s portrayal of Gary Johnson and his real-life counterpart.

Who Was The Actual Gary Johnson?

The true Gary Johnson, the person who impressed Hit Man on Netflix, was an precise faculty professor who was a faux hitman working for the town’s police. Johnson was the main target of a 2001 Texas Month-to-month story that detailed how he turned “probably the most sought-after skilled killer in Houston” whose undercover investigations led “to greater than sixty arrests.”

Johnson moved to Houston in 1981, hoping to attend the College of Houston’s doctoral program in psychology. When he wasn’t admitted, he accepted a job as an investigator for the district lawyer’s workplace. In 1989, he discovered his “true calling” when a 37-year-old lab tech named Kathy Scott contacted a bail bondsman and advised him she wanted a hitman to kill her husband. When the bail bondsman referred to as the police, his bosses advised him, “Gary, you’re our hit man.”

So, at any time when the police discovered by way of an informant that somebody wished to rent a hitman, they enlisted Johnson. The informant would introduce Johnson to the person looking for a contract killer. Johnson, who was wired, needed to get the individual to explicitly state their intention to have somebody murdered after which pay him for the job.

“He’s the right chameleon,” distinguished Houston lawyer Michael Hinton advised Texas Month-to-month. “Gary is a very nice performer who can flip into no matter he must be in no matter state of affairs he finds himself. He by no means will get flustered, and he by no means says the incorrect factor. He’s one way or the other in a position to persuade people who find themselves wealthy and never so wealthy, profitable and never so profitable, that he’s the true factor. He fools them each time.”

Hollandsworth described Johnson as “one of many biggest actors of his era, so gifted that he can carry out on any stage and with any type of script.”

Though Hit Man takes Johnson’s title and the overall premise of his distinctive story of working undercover as a faux contract killer, some components of the Netflix movie are completely fictional. For instance, Linklater stated that “the true Gary did slight disguises, however to not the extent that we see within the movie.” As an alternative, Glen “pushed all of that to the max.”

The true Johnson additionally helped an abuse sufferer who was being mistreated by her boyfriend, however there isn’t a proof that he was romantically concerned together with her because the movie portrays. Nonetheless, Johnson, like his on-screen character, additionally struggled together with his love life; the Texas Month-to-month piece mentions that he was married 3 times and was described as “a loner” by his second spouse.

“He’ll present up at events and have time, and he’s at all times pleasant, however he likes being alone, being quiet,” his second spouse advised Hollandsworth. “It’s nonetheless superb to me that he can activate this different persona that makes folks assume he’s a vicious killer.”

Johnson handed away in 2022.

Hit Man is streaming on Netflix. Watch the official trailer beneath.

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