Richard Linklater thanks Netflix for believing in ‘Hit Man’
(Credits: Brian Roedel / Netflix)

Film News

Richard Linklater thanks Netflix for believing in 'Hit Man'

Ahead of the release of his new movie, Hit Man, director Richard Linklater has thanked Netflix for believing in the project when nobody else would.

The new movie, which stars Glen Powell, arrives on Netflix on June 7th after a brief limited theatrical release. The decision to join forces with the streaming service for Hit Man was an easy one for Powell and Linklater as Netflix truly believed in the project, which was a receptiveness they didn’t feel from the Hollywood old guard.

Hit Man features Powell leading the cast as a professor who poses as a hired killer, only to end up falling for a prospective client played by Adria Arjona and embark on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

The feature is an original story, which Linklater feels was misunderstood by studios when they discussed the idea. In a new interview with the BBC, the director said he and Powell “wrote it speculatively and we didn’t get paid anything, we just tried to get the film made.”

However, despite their best efforts, it took a while to find a backer for the project. Linklater revealed: “Among the frustrating conversations we had with studios and people like that was they wanted Ron to be a real hitman, something they’d seen before.”

Rather than wait for financial support, they decided to make Hit Man and find a distributor after it was completed, noting, “Anyway, then we made the film, and it got a wonderful response. Netflix was always passionate about it, but the others kinda weren’t, I think they weren’t sure if they could sell it to an audience.”

Explaining the issues with other studios, Linklater claimed they wanted “something they’d seen before” which comes with less risk. He claimed it’s easier to get a “sequel or an origin story” made because it taps into “something that already exists”. The director added: “You don’t get in trouble for what’s obvious and commercial. What changed is that films got greenlit by the marketing department and then it’s become really safe choices.”

Hit Man was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is when Netflix stepped in to acquire the distribution rights in a lucrative $20 million deal.

The decision to not rely on industry support to get Hit Man made was a seismic risk from Linklater and Powell, but its paid dividends for the duo who didn’t have to dilute their creative vision in order to appease the financiers.

While Powell has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most notable rising stars, he’s been a long journey to get to this position. He first teamed up with Linklater in 2006 on Fast Food Nation, and they also collaborated in 2016 on Everybody Wants Some.