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UNO Campus Plays Supporting Role in Hit New Movie “Hit Man”

NEW ORLEANS — The campus of the University of New Orleans serves as a prominent backdrop for a number of scenes in the new hit movie “Hit Man,” which is now in theaters and streaming on Netflix. Actor Glen Powell stars as Gary Johnson, a University of New Orleans professor who moonlights as a fake hit man for the New Orleans Police Department.

The neo-noir thriller/comedy is directed by Richard Linklater, best known for films including “Slacker,” “School of Rock,” “Dazed and Confused,” and “Boyhood.” Within hours of its release, “Hit Man” had a sky-high score of 97% positive reviews on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie, which was filmed in New Orleans during the fall of 2022, features the Liberal Arts Building, the Geology & Psychology Building, the Washington Oak patio between the University Center and the Recreation & Fitness Center, the Amphitheater and classrooms. In addition to UNO’s campus, various other New Orleans neighborhoods are showcased throughout the film.

Powell, who cemented his leading man status with roles in “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Anyone But You,” plays a psychology and philosophy professor at UNO who assists the police with undercover sting operations.

According to Kathryn Dungy, professor and chair of history and philosophy, Powell shadowed the late UNO philosophy professor Frank Schalow, attended his lectures, chatted with him about philosophy in order to better understand his character and even entertained Schalow’s beloved cats.

“Professor Schalow died a couple of days before the theatrical premiere,” Dungy said. “We are thankful to Glen Powell for releasing a bit of Frank’s charming and quirky personality to the world.”

The screenplay was based on real-life events reported in a Texas Monthly magazine article, and written by Linklater and Powell. The real Gary Johnson was a part-time psychology instructor at a Houston-area community college who posed as a hitman to help police make arrests. The movie was originally going to be filmed in Houston but, according to Linklater, the decision was made to shoot in New Orleans due to Louisiana’s motion picture tax incentives.


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