Netflix’s true-crime comedy “Hit Man” almost went to Brad Pitt.

A big star showed up at the New York Film Festival the night after Bradley Cooper’s surprise visit.

At the premiere of “Hit Man” on Tuesday, Richard Linklater told the excited crowd, “I have a treat for you guys.” “Here is Glen Powell… Glen Powell Sr.!”

Linklater was talking about Powell’s dad, who came to the festival with his wife and daughter holding cutouts of the “Top Gun: Maverick” star, who couldn’t go because of the Hollywood actors’ strike.

The sweet act was just one of many great things that happened at the sold-out showing of “Hit Man” on Tuesday. The movie has become a huge hit at fall film festivals, and Tuesday’s showing was the last one. Netflix bought the movie last month, but there is no release date yet.

Based on a 2001 Texas Monthly piece by Skip Hollandsworth, the movie tells the mostly true story of Gary Johnson (Powell), a philosophy professor-turned-undercover cop. Gary’s job is to act like a hitman. He meets people who want to kill someone and helps the police catch them. But things go wrong for Gary when he falls in love with the beautiful Maddy Masters (Adria Arjona), who might hire him to kill her cruel husband.

Linklater, who is 63 years old, first read “Hit Man” when it came out in print. He wanted to adapt it for the big screen, but he didn’t have the rights.

“Back in the early 2000s, Brad Pitt had bought the rights to it at some point,” Linklater said during a Q&A after the movie. “Someone wrote a story. It kind of just moved around.”During the pandemic, Powell, who was 34 at the time, found the original story and bought the rights to it.

Linklater said, “Glen called me up and said, ‘Hey, Rick, I read this story.'” “And I told him, ‘Glen, I remember reading that story when you were in middle school.’ We immediately started talking.”

The two have worked together before on Linklater’s films “Fast Food Nation” (2006), “Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016), and “Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood” (2022). But “Hit Man” was the first time they wrote a script together. Linklater had written the “Before” series with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.

Arjona also worked on the script when she joined, and the three of them did a lot of practicing before they started filming last fall. Linklater thought it was important for the movie that she be in it.

He got laughs by saying, “She had to check a lot of boxes.” “To be a real femme fatale, you have to be like, ‘Would you give up everything you’ve worked for, your whole life, for her?’ Yes. “She marked that off.”

With its beginnings that are stranger than fiction, “Hit Man” could do very well on Netflix. With the 2020 true-crime series “Tiger King,” which followed tamer Joe Exotic as he tried to kill his rival Carole Baskin, the streaming service started a cultural trend.

Linklater said, “I’ve always found it interesting that hitmen are a thing.” “If you think about it, it’s so silly. Like that idiot from “Tiger King” getting a hitman!”

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