Home Adria (1992- ) ‘Hit Man’ | Anatomy of a Scene FilmyMeet

‘Hit Man’ | Anatomy of a Scene FilmyMeet

by Arun Kumar
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I’m Richard Linklater, director and co-writer of ‘Hit Man.’ So in this scene, Glen Powell, who’s playing Gary Johnson, the undercover hit man, is under threat from Jasper, played by Austin Amelio, the New Orleans police officer who he works with undercover, who’s totally on to him. Gary has been dating Madison, whose husband has turned up dead. We know Gary didn’t do it and the audience knows she did it. But the police force doesn’t know. But Jasper sure has a hunch what happened, and he’s kind of created this entrapment scene where Gary goes in and records their conversation, and he hopes to catch him there. “Great. Remember, audio only. Got to get a good recording.” “Got it.” So if it was a chess match, it’s check. It’s not checkmate, but boy, you better come up with a good move. So he inputs into his phone kind of a script that he’ll have to, in an impromptu way, get with Madison and just weasel their way out of because it’s audio only. They have to say all the right words while he’s sort of directing her. “— time. I’m catching heat for the death of your husband. They’re thinking one of us did it.” “Well, it wasn’t me.” “Look, I know you did it. It’s [MUTED]: obvious, and I don’t blame you.” “I didn’t kill him. Wait, wait, wait. Who’s accusing me of this? This is bull -[MUTED]:, and you, out of all people, should know that I was incapable of this.” “O.K., then who did? What the hell happened?” It’s a tall order for anyone to be on your feet, thinking that quickly and acting another way. And it’s pretty much the apex of the movie in the intensity of what’s at stake for them, what could happen to their relationship. And also, it’s kind of a make-up scene. They’ve broken up the scene just earlier, when he found out she did actually kill the guy. And he could have run. But this is also — in the romantic side of the movie, this is kind of a make-up declaration of commitment to each other. “— protect me, he pulls out a gun out of nowhere and sticks it in Ray’s face.” “Find out more about the guy with the gun.” “Ray freaks out. He leaves. I run away. And that was the last time I saw him.” “So who’s this guy, the one who pulled the gun? What’s his name?” “I don’t know.” Although Glen and I worked on the script together, when Adria Arjona came in as Madison, that really took the whole thing to another level. This film doesn’t work without her. And she was just our creative partner, and this scene is a really good example of that. The three of us worked on it together so much. And just sitting around a table, asking questions and refining it, then rehearsing it, then rehearsing it on location, then ultimately then performing it. “I’m a grown woman. I am single. And he wasn’t random. He was a [MUTED]: good dancer.” “Well, I’m happy for you, because your mystery man, he’s a suspect. I’m hearing they’re looking for him.” It was just a joy. We had a good time. But it’s, you know, it’s an intense scene, and it was pretty intense. Pretty intense thing to shoot, too. “— did me. So you know what? If they find him, you let me know.” “You know, that first time we met at the Please You, your motive didn’t seem financial.” This scene becomes kind of a performance within a performance within a performance, kind of. And for it to work at all, he has to direct the scene. He’s kind of writing and directing it. She’s acting in it. And once she realized what he’s doing, she has to go along with it. So they’re both playing their part, but it makes it a very multilayered undertaking for sure. And it’s fun to see your hero, the guy you’re invested in, kind of figure his way out of a really sticky, tight situation that I don’t think any of us would be quick enough to find a way out of this. But somehow, he does with her. And, you know, it’s the couple getting back together, too, at the same time. So to me, it’s a screwball comedy scene with really, really — I mean, if you don’t pull it off, you’re going to jail, you know? So the stakes couldn’t be higher in a legal sense. But it is kind of a culmination of their own relationship to date. “Hey, I am on your side. That is why I’m here. I am trying to help you get away with this, not because I’m some great guy or anything, but as soon as the heat’s off of you, it’s off of me, too. We can dig our way out of this mess together.” “There is no together.” “I can push this whole thing off on someone else. But before I do that, you have to tell me the truth so I can get this right.” “You know what, I’m done. I’m done.” The physicality of the scene is fun because actors are usually never — their body motions and expressions usually match what you’re saying. In this thing, it’s very different. They’re having to say everything right, but actually, like a game of charades, they’re indicating to each other what they’re doing and communicating on a physical level, nonverbal level, while their verbal rhetoric has to be kind of perfect. So it’s a dance, and it’s just fun to see them figure it out as they go. “Great.” “You know, if you see me publicly, don’t say hi. Nothing personal. I just got to keep this clean.” “Fine by me.” [DOOR SLAMS]

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