Inside Glen Powell and Adria Arjona’s real-life “Hit Man” meet-cute

The two stars needed incredible chemistry to pull off the story of a fake assassin, and they quickly found it.

It didn’t involve an attempted assassination, but Glen Powell and Adria Arjona had almost as cute of a first meeting in real life as their characters in Hit Man.

The new film is adapted from a Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth, and as Powell and director Richard Linklater previously told Entertainment Weekly, they figured out how to adapt the story of Gary Johnson (a man who posed as an undercover assassin to help police trap wannabe criminals) into a film by focusing on a female character, briefly mentioned in the original article, who could unravel the whole scheme.

Related: The true story behind Hit Man, Richard Linklater's new Netflix caper comedy

“When it came to casting, it sounds crude, but she had to be the kind of woman that a guy would put everything he’s worked for and his actual life on the line for. She has to be smoking hot, she has to be vivacious and funny, all those things,” Linklater tells EW. “I’d seen Adria in a few things, so I figured we should talk to her. When I first met her on Zoom, I just knew immediately.”

But Linklater also knew that he couldn’t force the choice on his star and co-writer. Powell and Arjona would have to find the connection themselves — and they did.

<p>Brian Roedel/Netflix</p> Adria Arjona and Glen Powell in 'Hit Man'

Brian Roedel/Netflix

Adria Arjona and Glen Powell in 'Hit Man'

“They were meeting around 4 p.m. because, as it turns out, they didn't live that far from each other,” Linklater says. “I expected a call around 5 or whenever the meeting was over, but I didn't hear from him until like 9. I was sitting there wondering, what happened? Then he calls me and says, ‘Yeah, we just left. We just ordered more drinks and stayed together for four hours.’ Then we were both like, okay, we're off to the races here!”

Powell’s star is clearly ascendant right now, but many of his recent movies have depended on chemistry with costars like Anyone But You’s Sydney Sweeney. Since Powell co-wrote Hit Man with Linklater, he knew such chemistry would be even more important here. But with Arjona, he struck gold again.

“The hard part with chemistry is that it either is or it isn't. There is no way to force it,” Powell tells EW. “Rick and I knew that Madison is such a tough character because you have to believe that Gary, who is extremely logical and thoughtful about everything, throws everything out for the fantasy of being with this woman. So we didn’t know who we were going to cast.”

Powell continues, “I'd seen some of Adria's stuff, but when her name came up and Rick sat down with her, he thought she was perfect. And then I felt the exact same way. When you spend so much time writing something, you know that there are certain foundational elements of storytelling that need to work. If they don't work, you don't have a movie. So thank God we had Adria because now we have a movie.”

Related: Master of disguise: Glen Powell breaks down his many Hit Man personas

As Arjona remembers, she and Powell quickly realized they had things in common. Once they forged that connection at their first meeting, it stayed intact throughout the production.

“The thing that clicked was our love for our families,” Arjona tells EW. “That was something that we very much have in common. And then we both actually love our job. Just being on set and creating these characters is my happy place, and it’s his happy place, too. We shared that from the get-go, and I think that's what really helped us to develop these characters and this dynamic. It created the chemistry because we had the exact same goal, which was to make the best version of this movie possible.”

Hit Man is streaming now on Netflix.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.