Is Hit Man a True Story? Was Gary Johnson a Real Fake Hit Man? Well, Sort Of

The following article contains major spoilers for Hit Man.

Richard Linklater’s new Netflix rom-com, Hit Man, was inspired by a 2001 Skip Hollandsworth article in Texas Monthly, which opens as follows: “On a nice, quiet street in a nice, quiet neighborhood just north of Houston lives a nice, quiet man.”

The piece goes on to establish the banal little details of this nice, quiet man’s nice, quiet life. He likes to zen out in his Japanese garden; he has a sweet tooth for the classics, psychology and philosophy; Gandhi is his main guy. He has a bunch of cats, and a pond full of goldfish in his backyard. Hardly the sort of stuff you’d expect of a cold-blooded assassin. But perhaps it’s more credible of a man who pretends to be one.

This will all be familiar if you’ve seen Hit Man, in which Glen Powell portrays a fictionalized version of Johnson as a mild-mannered cat-dad with an unfashionable head of curtains, bookish wire-framed specs, and disinterest in all of the girls—and hey, a lot of the guys — in his psychology class wanting to fuck him, recalling that scene with the girl who blinks “love you” for Doctor Jones in The Last Crusade. Linklater and Powell, who tag-teamed on the script, stick close to the original text for this stuff. But that’s before it starts getting…bizarre.

Johnson is recruited by the local police to perform sting operations for them, in the course of which he discovers a knack for pretending to be an assassin, playing dress-up for unknowing perps putting cash on the heads of their wives, husbands, and terrible bosses.

The Gary Johnson secret sauce? His disguises are bespoke for each client: the gun-toting redneck gets a MAGA wannabe; the guy who has watched too many Cold War movies gets a Dolph Lundgren-type Russkie (wearing a full leather trench coat in the middle of a piping-hot New Orleans summer! Such gullibility deserves jail time, really); and Madison (Adria Arjona) gets a hot, mysterious hunk named Ron. Later, he and Madison fall in love, she kills her husband, Gary covers it up, they murder the rival cop who cottons on, and they live happily ever after.

So yeah. There’s gotta be a gun bag’s worth of invention, right? Let’s put our crosshairs over the facts.

Isn’t Gary Johnson’s whole thing, y’know, entrapment?

Not according to Texas law. But, the ethics of the whole thing did come up in court quite a bit, apparently. According to Hollandsworth, defense attorneys would suggest that their clients would not have followed up on their murderous tendencies had Johnson not wound up at their doors. But Johnson – who was interviewed for the piece—said that he fully believed that they would have found another means to the same end. “They were not going to back down,” he said. Still, many ended up with only light sentences or probation.

Johnson really did change up his hitman fits

“Johnson is the Laurence Olivier of his field,” Hollandsworth writes. It turns out that the real-life Gary Johnson was every bit the killer chameleon we see in Powell’s version for the screen: the article details no end of ruses and disguises he adopted to con his cons, adapting them for what he thought his would-be clients expected.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top