Austin Amelio Makes For Glen Powell’s Perfect Foil in Hit Man

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HIT MAN IS a movie that is simply built on charisma. After building his star persona in recent years by playing memorable roles in movies like Set It Up, Top Gun: Maverick, and Anyone But You, Glen Powell gets to go full movie star as Gary Johnson in Hit Man. Based on a Texas Monthly article, Hit Man is the fourth collaboration between Powell and director Richard Linklater—following Fast Food Nation, Everybody Wants Some!!, and Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood—and lets Powell really put his skills and charm on full display.

Gary, in reality, is a fairly regular guy who works as an associate professor at a college. But Hit Man gets its title from Gary’s side hustle—in this world, a professional hitman simply doesn’t exist. But people don’t know that, and try to hire someone to off their boss, or lover, or whoever, all the time. That’s where Gary steps in, helping the local authorities by donning a number of different personas personalized in a series of sting operations to catch people hoping to arrange the murder of someone causing them trouble.

It’s a good gig—until two key people enter Gary’s world. First, there’s Maddy (Adria Arjona), one of Gary’s “clients” looking to get rid of her abusive husband; when Gary takes a liking to Maddy, and things start getting suspicious, he draws the attention of his law authority colleague, Jasper (Austin Amelio), who’s a real scumbag and piece of work.

hit man l to r adria arjona as madison masters and glen powell as gary johnson cr courtesy of netflix


We don’t want to spoil much more by way of Hit Man‘s plot from there, but trust that things get twisty, wild, and, yes, fun. But while the movie succeeds thanks to a surprising script co-written by Powell and Linklater, everything is elevated due to the charisma and charm of the performers. It’s no secret that Powell is blowing up after Maverick and Anyone But You, and Hit Man (and Twisters later this summer) should send things into a whole new stratosphere.

But the movie is even further elevated by the performances of those around him. Arjona is undeniable as Maddy, a femme fatale figure of sorts in Linklater’s decidedly darkly comedic neo-noir story. But it’s Amelio’s Jasper—a slimy, dirty undercover cop whose energy is almost the exact opposite of Powell’s shiny charm—who provides the conflict of the movie, and does a great job at it.

If you finish watching Hit Man and start wondering why Jasper looked so familiar, or where you can see him elsewhere, keep reading and we’ve got you covered.

Stream Hit Man Here

Austin Amelio plays Jasper in Hit Man

austin amelio jasper hit man

Brian Roedel

Hit Man marks Amelio’s second collaboration with Linklater after 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!!, which marked his feature film debut. Amelio was born and raised in Austin, Texas, where he actually was an avid skateboarder; Linklater himself is a noted Austinite.

But if you think that means the director just hooked it up, you’d be sorely mistaken. “I had to work my ass off to get that audition,” Amelio told Esquire in a recent interview about landing the Wants Some role, also noting how big a fan of Dazed and Confused he was.I had to audition five or six times for him for that film. So I was pulling out my hair.”

While the 36-year-old has appeared in a handful of other movies, including Terrence Malick’s 2017 film Song to Song, TV fans likely recognize him most from a certain universe filled with the undead. Amelio played Dwight across 58 episodes and several seasons of both The Walking Dead and its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead.

Amelio will next appear in the horror film called The Reunion and a Spanish-language TV series called When Nobody Sees Us.

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