Ditch detention and pop quizzes! Forget inspirational speeches about chasing your dreams (unless those dreams involve becoming a millionaire matchmaker). Glen Powell’s latest film delves deeply into the true narrative of a school teacher who, well, gave up textbooks for Rolodex full of zeros that somehow turned into millions! 

Glen Powell in a still from Hit Man
Glen Powell in a still from Hit Man | Netflix

Inspired by a 2001 piece written by Texas Monthly journalist Skip Hollandsworth, Glen Powell plays the title hired murderer in Netflix’s upcoming film. The fascinating backstory, however, is something that’ll blow your mind. Buckle up for an entertaining (and possibly insane) story of a teacher’s crazy journey from grading essays to grading compatibility!

From dorky professor to deadly decoy: Glen Powell plays fake Hit Man in Netflix’s thriller film

Glen Powell as Ben in a still from Anyone But You
Glen Powell as Ben in a still from Anyone But You | Netflix

Glen Powell is all set to feature in Netflix’s upcoming screwball comedy and thriller film, Hit Man. The plot depicts the story of Gary Johnson, who passed away in 2022 in the film (and unfortunately, in real life, too). Johnson was one of the most valuable resources available to the Houston police department: a chameleon actor who could adopt several personas for contract killers to trap criminals who were going to have people bumped off.

Johnson was referred to as “the Laurence Olivier of the field” in Hollandsworth’s piece. His work was delicate, but it was really very easy. If the police learned that someone wanted to order a hit, they would set up a meeting between the target and one of Johnson’s killer characters. As a part of his job, he continued interviewing the client until they openly admitted what they intended to do. 

Director Richard Linklater and Powell state in a report that they thought Johnson’s role was to “assist people in their communication skills.”

That’s all my job is — to help people open up, to get them to say what they really want, to reveal to me their deepest desires.

Gary Johnson was “hired” to kill over 60 people in the 1990s and the period leading up to the article, and he assisted in the prosecution of numerous individuals who had ordered the crimes. That’s how Powell and Linklater attribute his portrayal of Gary Johnson, or at the very least, the identity of the real Johnson. Powell portrays dorky Professor Johnson in Hit Man.

Despite Johnson’s untimely death in 2022, Netflix’s Hit Man preserves his remarkable tale. The portrayal of Glen Powell offers a darkly comic look at a man who saved convicts by getting them to confess their “deepest, darkest desires.”

Who was the real Gary Johnson?

Glen Powell in a still from Fast Food Nation
Glen Powell in a still from Fast Food Nation | IMDB

Gary Johnson was a psychology professor who, as a hitman, helped the New Orleans police catch people who had committed gruesome crimes. He tailors each hitman to the prospective client, wearing many disguises during his tenure. However, his life is turned upside down when a battered wife hires him to kill someone, and they get caught up in a wild, romantic, and illegal scheme.

Hit Man is an amazing, brilliantly cunning piece of fiction. Watch the killer comedy and thriller film today, streaming on Netflix!

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