Adria Arjona Helps Make “Hit Man” the Best Rom-Com We’ve Seen in Forever

Hit Man. (L to R) Adria Arjona as Madison Masters and Glen Powell as Gary Johnson. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix

Hit Man is a hit man!

Glen Powell is Gary Johnson, a bermuda short wearing, mild-mannered college professor who moonlights as a hitman for hire. Adria Arjona is Madison, the sultry señorita who wants the services of a hitman.

Ah yes, the beginnings of a classic caper are afoot.

Adding to the adventure is the chemistry of this picture-perfect couple. Too bad morality takes over and Gary actually talks Madison out of killing her cult-like controlling companion.  What sounds like the final act in this tale is actually the very beginning of one of the best rom-com movies I’ve seen in years. Señores y señoritas, esto es Hit Man.

“Casting Madison was the crucial moment, really,” says director/writer Richard Linklater (Boyhood and Dazed and Confused). “It had to be someone a guy would risk everything he’s worked for to be with her. And yet she had to be very sympathetic.” Adria Arjona, we promise, is exactly that. In other words, she is the gorgeous girl who makes this dude detour from his life in the best way possible.

The Puerto Rican actress, likely best known for her roles in Andor and Father of the Bride, is beautiful. The kind of beauty that looks gorgeous with no makeup at the grocery store. She has the kind of beauty that reminds you that envy is one of the seven deadly sins. However, her work and talent make her relatable and you can’t help but want to be her bff. She’s the amiga you want to down margaritas with before dancing together on the bar. It’s those qualities that made her perfect for the role in Hit Man.

On the surface, it’s a romantic comedy, albeit a freaking fun one. But surprisingly, it goes deeper, a lot deeper. Gary, dipped in mundane and sprinkled with dork, grows into a hella hot hunk of a professor who you’d want to hear talk about philosophy until the year 3024.

For Madison, well, “Madison is a survivalist,” says Arjona. “I think she kind of finds her own personality through people.” Her character is trying on different personalities like us ladies try on swimsuits. She’s figuring out her best looks while finding out what doesn’t fit her well. Honestly, what lady can’t relate to that?

“I don’t see Madison as a femme fatale, I see a woman trying to play the illusion of a femme fatale. And that was really fun to play with. I just had so much fun sort of crafting that,” she adds. And let us tell you, she has crafted one helluva character in Madison.

Together she and Powell have a chemistry that would make Walter White sit up and take notes. “Glen and I met, and we just had immediate sort of chemistry,” says Arjona. “We couldn’t stop talking both about the movie and about our personal lives and how our personal lives, you know, could kind of thread into this movie. And we just had the best, the best time.”

The idea for the movie came from a Texas Monthly article published two decades ago. Yes, there is a real Gary Johnson. And yes, he really did do part-time work as a hitman for hire. Powell discovered the story while in the height of the pandemic and called Linklater to discuss. The two collaborated and wrote a script that would turn out to be one of the best rom-com films in years.

Hell, if I see a better written, better executed movie this year, I will be shocked. It’s that good! And it’s not just me who thinks so. While screening the film at Sundance in January of this year, I caught fellow Latino Anthony Ramos at the premiere. “I loved it, I loved it. It was so good.” Ramos told me. “Recommend, highly recommend!”. Not even Gary Johnson could talk me out of feeling this way!

Hit Man is in theaters for a short time before dropping on Netflix on June 7.

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