The otherwise modest figure of Richard Linklater was the star attraction at the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday evening as the beloved filmmaker’s latest feature film, Touch humanhad its world premiere at the Lido.
The film – a darkly comedic thriller about an unlikely undercover killer starring a wildly charismatic Glen Powell and Adria Arjona (both absent due to the SAG-AFTRA strike) – proved a huge hit with festival audiences in Venice, receiving a standing ovation from the fans. six minutes, to cheers from the crowd.
Based on a true crime magazine article written by Skip Hollandsworth (with whom Linklater collaborated on his 2011 film, Bernie), Touch human tells the story of a real, soft-spoken psychology professor who worked as an undercover hit man for the New Orleans Police Department. But when he breaks protocol to help a desperate woman trying to run from an abusive boyfriend, the character finds himself becoming one of his false personas, falling in love with the woman and flirting with turning into a criminal.
Speak with The Hollywood reporter ahead of the world premiere, Linklater – the indie pioneer behind it Dazed and confused, Youth and the For trilogy of movies – revealed it was actually its lead actor Powell (who starred in the director’s feature film). Everyone wants some!! but was catapulted into the mainstream thanks to last year Top gun: Maverick) that helped get the project going.
“When I read the original article, I thought this material would be a great place for a dark comedy,” he said. “I’ve had a few meetings about it over the years, but it didn’t really come across as a full story — until Glen Powell called me during the pandemic and said, ‘Hey, I just read this great article about a hit man . The two then co-developed and co-wrote the screenplay during an intense period of collaboration during the pandemic.
Linklater also lamented the current challenges facing indie film making in the US.
“It feels like it went with the wind — or with the algorithm,” he said. “Sometimes I talk to some of my contemporaries who I came up with in the 1990s, and we say, ‘Oh my God, we could never do that today.’ So on the one hand, you selfishly think, “I think I was born at the right time. I was able to participate in what always feels like the last good era for filmmaking.’ And then you hope for a better day.”