Hit Man: Where Was the Netflix Movie Filmed?

‘Hit Man’ introduces us to Gary Johnson, who is a slick, in-demand hitman in New Orleans. What his clients don’t know about Gary is that he is actually in cahoots with local authorities and only adopts the persona of various stereotypical hitmen to fool them and have them arrested. The fake hitman takes on the role as a thrilling escape from his day job as a philosophy professor. However, when a woman seeking an escape from her abusive husband hires him, Gary is forced to bend the rules when the two give in to mutual primal attraction.

Based on a Texas Monthly article of the same name by Skip Hollandsworth, ‘Hit Man’ is directed by Richard Linklater. Under the creative supervision of cinematographer Shane F. Kelly, the film benefits from the laid-back atmosphere of New Orleans. Its visual gallery flicks between sunbathed rustic scenes and glimmering shots of city nightlife, begging further investigation into its shooting sites.

Hit Man Filming Locations

‘Hit Man’ was filmed entirely in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. Principal photography for the movie began on October 4, 2022, and was wrapped up by November 13 of the same year. The cast and crew seem to have a great time joking behind the scenes and exploring the city. “This experience has been so special I had the honor of working with one of my favorite filmmakers, Richard Linklater, and I loved every second of it,” wrote lead actress Adria Arjona in an Instagram post. “I also had the best partner in crime I could’ve ever asked for on this movie (Glen Powell)! I’ll miss playing Madison and sharing dad jokes in between takes.”

New Orleans, Louisiana

The production of ‘Hit Man’ was based in the Big Easy and featured charming local landmarks as well as offbeat areas. Renowned for its rich cultural heritage, diverse architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, New Orleans offered the team behind ‘Hit Man’ a unique blend of old-world charm and modern filming infrastructure. The city’s Film New Orleans office provides assistance to filmmakers navigating the permitting process, securing locations, and accessing local resources. Furthermore, Louisiana offers competitive tax incentives and production rebates, making for an attractive filming destination.

In the opening scenes of the film, we can see a nod to the city’s conflicted Confederate past with the empty pedestal that once held the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The statue was removed intact and relocated in 2017 with pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement and the centrally located Lee Circle was renamed to Harmony Circle. In the shots we can also see the street sign for Allen Toussaint Boulevard which has been renamed from Robert E. Lee Boulevard.

Further shots of poetic crossroads and their signs introduce us to the city. These include intersections of Pleasure and Piety and Law and Desire. When we first see Gary Johnson working at his day job as a professor, the segments were actually shot on location at the University of New Orleans. Situated on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain at 2000 Lakeshore Drive, the university boasts a picturesque campus combining old architecture with modern amenities.

When Gary meets his first client in the movie, the meeting takes place at the Pho Bang Restaurant on 14367 Chef Menteur Highway. The quaint interior of the Vietnamese restaurant can be seen as Gary carries out his over-the-top hitman introduction. The following meeting features Ted’s Frostop Diner at 3100 Calhoun Street in the background. The site where Gary and Madison’s first meeting takes place is the Please U Restaurant on 1751 St Charles Avenue. In business since 1946, the narrow restaurant with counter seating offers an authentic Louisiana diner experience.

When Gary and Madison are having a conversation about how he doesn’t seem like a hitman, they are sitting in a vibrant pub with colored glass, patches of fabric draped from the ceiling, and small bulbs lighting up the room. This is actually the Vaughan’s Lounge on 4229 Dauphine Street, a laid-back bar that often has live music. Established in 1959, the bar has an old-town aesthetic and hosts live performances every Thursday night.

The film wasn’t initially set in New Orleans and would have instead taken us to Houston, Texas, where the real-life story of Gary Johnson took place. This may have suited director Johnson as he is a native of Houston himself. “That’s a big part of it. The film industry, especially at the indie low-budget level, you really have to go where they want you,” explained Johnson in an interview when asked about the choice of the shooting location. “Unfortunately, we caught a window where Texas didn’t really want our film even though it was written for Houston. But it was an easy lateral move to go to New Orleans. It’s equally a town where this could have taken place. Even more so, maybe.”

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