Need a 'Hit Man'? Netflix spoofs L.A.'s famous lawyer billboards to market new movie

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Los Angeles has become famous — or perhaps infamous — for its ubiquitous personal-injury lawyer billboards, which have only surged in number since the pandemic. So it’s not terribly surprising that Netflix, to promote its buzzy new action comedy “Hit Man,” decided to take this city staple and re-imagine it with a deadly twist.

In the romantic action-comedy, directed by Richard Linklater, Glen Powell plays a mild-mannered professor who moonlights for the police posing undercover as a hit man — and ends up falling for a woman (Adria Arjona) who enlists his services. To capture the playful, slightly dangerous spirit of the movie, which begins streaming on Friday, the Netflix marketing team crafted a series of billboards showing Powell’s character in several of his different assassin personas with slogans that play off familiar legal ads like Call Jacob, Sweet James and Accidentes, albeit with more ominous messages: “Keep Your Hands Clean: Call Dean,” “Ron the Hit Man: I’d Kill for Your Business,” “Accidents: I Make ‘em Happen.”

Each billboard includes a phone number (717-4-HITMAN) that, when called, plays a message from Powell: “I hate to break it to you, but I’m not actually a hit man. But just because I’m not really a hit man doesn’t mean I can’t play one.” Callers are then invited to leave a message; more than 2,500 people have dialed the number, according to Netflix, with some 350 of them leaving voicemail messages. (It’s unclear how many of those are sincere requests for the services of a paid killer, but one hopes that number is zero.)

The billboards and bus bench ads, which popped up throughout the city in recent days, will remain up for at least another week. (Similar ads have also appeared in New York.) If one happens to catch your eye, try not to rear-end the car in front of you — though if you do, L.A. has plenty of lawyers standing by to take your call.

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