‘Hit Man’ Director Richard Linklater Says Studios Weren’t Interested Because the Film Is ‘Passionate’ and ‘Carnal’

The many nuances of adulthood aren’t on display in movies anymore, “Hit Man” director Richard Linklater told the BBC on Thursday. “Traditional” studios turned the movie, which debuted on Netflix in May, in part because “there isn’t ‘adult’ in movies anymore,” he added.

When he and the movie’s co-director, co-writer, and star Glen Powell got together to discuss the project, Linklater told told him “it’s gonna have sex, it’ll be passionate, it’ll be carnal, the desire that drives everything.”

“Glen’s character starts off very dispassionate, but by the end of the movie he’s a different guy, he’s discovered passion, and the movie has this strong chemistry and sexuality,” Linklater told the outlet. “I think what’s out of fashion, people say there’s no sex in movies anymore, but there isn’t ‘adult’ in movies anymore, as sexuality in movies equals adult.”

The storied filmmaker added that as a teen movies made him excited to arrive at adulthood, which looked “interesting” and “fun,” but “somewhere along the way Hollywood inverted that. It’s like they said, ‘we’re going to make films where you can stay 13 forever, you stay that little kid with little kid concerns’, so I guess it drifted away as its complexities weren’t the subject matter of mainstream cinema as it had been before.”

Powell agreed. He told the outlet that “relationships don’t really crackle any more in movies” and said he, Linklater, and costar Adria Arjona had several conversations about “what’s actually sexy” while making the movie.

“We asked ourselves ‘what is actually exciting to our audiences?’ What is new?’ And we had so much trust between the three of us, we could actually talk about his kind of stuff,” Powell explained. That trust was built as the trio began to know and understand one another, something that allowed them to have “very honest conversations that I think made all those scenes in the movie.”

Powell and Arjona detailed a few of those conversations in an interview with InStyle Magazine published on Sunday. “Adria did this really, really smart thing where she would print out — we would send images to each other of things we found to be hot and sexy,” Powell explained. “And so we would talk out these sex scenes and these images and these poses and these moments.”

Arjona appreciated the space to explore the movie’s sexuality. “That was really beautiful that they allowed me to have a space to bring something that I feel comfortable with and wanted to do on-screen,” she shared.

“It did feel like the ideal version of going to work as an actor: ‘Hey, we’re going to play with our friends. Let’s just have the best time ever,’” Powell added. “Especially in this environment, with these scenes; there’s a lot of eyeballs on these sex scenes, right? There’s a lot of people that are trying to determine what is sexy, what is appropriate.”

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