‘Hit Man’ Director Richard Linklater Laments Hollywood’s “Sexless Characters, Superheroes Without Genitalia”

Director Richard Linklater rues that Hollywood has taken to creating sexless characters and superheroes without genitalia.

The writer/director of films including the Before trilogy and Boyhood is behind Netflix’s Hit Man, one of the standout successes at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Linklater calls the movie, starring Glen Powell and Adria Arjona, a “sexy crime thriller meets screwball comedy” and says the plot hinges on Arjanoa’s character Maddy being “the one he will risk everything for, just to sleep with her.”

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Linklater told The Times of London: “Sex and violence is what cinema is great at. Sex was always the great seller; I don’t know why they backed off from that. Hollywood started feeding this new generation characters that were sexless. Superheroes don’t have sex. They don’t have genitalia, frankly.”

Hit Man follows Gary Johnson (Powell), a professor who moonlights as a fake hitman for the New Orleans Police Department, inveigling targets into arranging hits, and then shopping them to the cops. Arjona’s Maddy is his latest mark, until he falls for her.

Linklater said: “She’s got to be the one that he will risk everything he’s worked for, and everything he owns, just to sleep with her. Sex is the thing that drives people to do all kinds of crazy things. Most fights, most male aggression, is sexual. So it’s like, ‘OK, we’re not kidding around. They’re going to be actually f**king, and enjoying it.’”

Linklater based Hit Man on a true story, chronicled by Skip Hollandsworth in 2001 article in Texas Monthly.

The director is also in the midst of one of his perennial projects (following Boyhood which was shot over 12 years). Merrily We Roll Along is based on the 1981 stage musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth. Linklater cast Oscar nominee Paul Mescal shortly before BBC romantic drama Normal People turned him into a star. So far, Linklater has filmed two segments out of nine in a project he plans to finish in 2041. He told The Times: “I’ll probably be around. And if I’m not, I have a few other people who could finish it and it would still be a decent film.”

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