Last week it was announced that Robert Rodriguez’s Hypnotic will begin shooting in September 2021—nearly a year and a half after its previously scheduled April 2020 start date. The Austin filmmaker’s new thriller has been beset by its own real-life twists ever since COVID-19 forced Rodriguez to relocate its production from Los Angeles to Austin. Filming was later shut down amid a legal battle with insurers. But cameras are finally slated to roll this fall, barring any further hiccups or pandemics.

Obviously, a lot has happened since last April, so you’d be forgiven for forgetting all about Hypnotic. Here’s a refresher on everything we know about it.

What’s Hypnotic about?

Deadline describes Hypnotic as an action thriller about “a detective who becomes entangled in a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program while investigating a string of high-end crimes.” Rodriguez has also called it a “very modern Hitchcock-type movie” with “a lot of twists, and you never really know what’s real.” 

What’s a “high-end crime”?

I don’t know. White-collar, embezzlement-type stuff? Stealing Fabergé eggs? It’s called Hypnotic and it involves a “secret government program,” so maybe there’s some kind of mind-control angle.

Who wrote it?

Rodriguez wrote the script with Max Borenstein, the guy behind Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla vs. Kong.

So could this “secret government program” turn out to be radioactive monsters?

That would certainly be a twist!

Who’s in it?

Ben Affleck stars as the detective, and Queen of the South’s Alice Braga recently joined in an as-yet-unspecified role. That’s all we know. It’s a Robert Rodriguez movie, so there’s a better-than-average chance that Danny Trejo will cameo.

Will Ben Affleck’s character do pull-ups at some point?


It’s definitely shooting in Austin?

Definitely. There was a brief period during which Rodriguez considered moving production to Vancouver, as a shortage of COVID-19 tests made filming safely in Austin impossible. But with coronavirus cases waning, Rodriguez has fully recommitted to shooting at his Troublemaker Studios space in East Austin. Supposedly, the script is set in Austin as well

What does this mean for Texans?

Last year, Solstice Studios told the Austin Chronicle that Hypnotic would create around 467 jobs, including roles for 292 Texas-based crew members and 96 Texan actors. If you’re in the Texas film industry—which took a considerable hit last year—this is obviously great news. Solstice also estimated that the production could book more than two thousand nights at local hotels. All told, Hypnotic could pump millions into the economy. 

Wait . . . does this mean Ben Affleck will be living in Austin for a while?

At least intermittently—with occasional visits home for his kids, I would imagine. But yes, you’re likely to see some paparazzi shots of Affleck vaping wearily in the Second Street district. Or smoking gloomily near the valet stand of Otoko. Or drearily contemplating Lady Bird Lake as he emits a cavernous cloud that resembles his soul gratefully escaping his body. 

You might also see him at Dunkin’ Donuts.

That’s true! Affleck runs on Dunkin’.

Hey, I just thought of something! Does this mean Jennifer Lopez might also be in Austin? Did you see they got back together?

I did . . . although it seems inappropriate to comment on their personal lives.

What if we did it down here?

I guess that would be all right.

Safely down here, where no one can hear us.


This is nice.

It is, actually. I feel much less guarded.

Can you believe Affleck and Lopez just picked up where they left off?

Oh, I don’t know if it’s that simple. They have a lot of history, sure, but I think they’ve probably both grown as people over these last seventeen years. I think our culture has evolved, too. We’re much less invasive and judgmental. 

The “Jenny From the Block” video really was obnoxious, though.

It was.

Still, isn’t it crazy that they could both forge lives with other people, then just turn on these old feelings like it was nothing? I mean, Affleck was married to Jennifer Garner for ten years before they split! Lopez was engaged to Alex Rodriguez just two months ago!

Look, the idea of a “one true love” soulmate is nice and all, but it’s just a romantic construct. The truth is we can fall in love with lots of people over the course of our lives, but love doesn’t always overcome life’s hurdles—such as the diverging paths of two rising superstars, for example. Love is a matter of timing, and sometimes the right person is only for right now. So maybe instead of asking whether they’re rushing into something, we should celebrate the idea that Affleck and Lopez finally found their moment.

That’s beautiful. Thank you.

You bet.

So, will Hypnotic be any good?

It will probably be pulpy and fun and sort of exhausting, like most of Robert Rodriguez’s movies. But haven’t you missed that?