Jonah Hill Talks MONEYBALL, THE SITTER, 21 JUMP STREET, THE ADVENTURE’S HANDBOOK and Directing

     May 24, 2010

Get Him to the Greek movie image Jonah Hill, Russell Brand slice

Yesterday I got to go to the Greek Theater in Hollywood as Universal was holding the press day for Get Him to the Greek at the famous theater.  In the coming days I’ll have full interviews with Jonah Hill, Russell Brand and writer-director Nicholas Stoller, but for now, I wanted to post what Jonah Hill said about what he’s doing next and what happened to some of his other projects.

When I did the set visit for Get Him to the Greek last June, Hill mentioned one of his next projects was going to be The Adventure’s Handbook with Jason Segel and Jason Schwartzman.  Since the project never materialized, I asked what happened.  Hill explained that while they got greenlit, they had scheduling conflicts due to Segel and Schwartzman’s TV shows.  He then said since he’s booked for Moneyball and The Sitter, he wasn’t sure when the project might get made.

Hill also talked about 21 Jump Street, Moneyball, The Sitter (for director David Gordon Green) and what kind of project he might want to direct.  Hit the jump for more:

Get Him to the Greek movie poster Jonah Hill, Russell BrandFor fans of Hill, he said (during a roundtable interview) that his next two projects are definitely Moneyball and The Sitter.  You can click on either title for more info.  He also said they’re still writing 21 Jump Street but he’s happy the online expectations are so low.  He said:

“the best thing that movie (21 Jump Street) has going for it is that people’s expectations for it are so low that our movie is already so much better than what sh*t-talkers on the internet think it is. So we’re just high-fiving because that’s like the best thing you can have – people think your movie sucks and then it turns out being pretty awesome.”

Here’s part of the interview.  Look for the entire transcript – with audio – soon.

Question:  This movie and Cyrus and coming out a couple of weeks apart, and neither of these characters are what you might assume are a typical “Jonah Hill character.” Is that important to you to have these films where you play something that isn’t the sort of foul-mouthed wacky slacker kid you’ve played in the past?

Jonah Hill: That’s a really good question because I think, you know, I’ve only starred in one other movie, which is Super Bad, where I’m a foul-mouthed, loudmouthed, obnoxious, horny teenager in that movie, which is completely appropriate for that movie. I think the misconception is that because that’s the only movie I’ve starred in, that’s what I’m like as a human being, and fortunately or unfortunately, probably fortunately, that’s not the case. Since then I’ve done a lot of cameos and side characters and stuff, and have definitely been written off as one type of thing. I understand that completely and it totally makes sense and I’d probably do the same thing, but the truth is I think [people should] judge me on this year and judge me on next year, because between Cyrus and this movie, I think both characters are completely unrecognizable from my characters in Super Bad and Knocked Up.

Oh, absolutely.

Hill: I really appreciate that compliment, and even between these two movies, they just don’t seem like the same character at all – they’re unrecognizable from each other, and I’m really prideful about that. I work really hard and I could have sold out a thousand times between now and Get Him to the Greek and Cyrus, and chose not to out of respect and appreciation for my career, which I value. And next year it’s the same thing – Moneyball, which is a straight-up drama with Brad Pitt and myself and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and then The Sitter with David Gordon Green, which is like an R-rated, f*cked-up Adventures in Babysitting-type of movie. Those two years to me are like all four characters will be unrecognizable from one another, and I’m really prideful about that. I hope that didn’t sound dickish (laughs). But I am super excited to take people’s expectations and change them.

Are you working on different stuff besides The Adventurer’s Handbook?

Hill: Yeah, we’re getting 21 Jump Street into shape and we’re going to start that early next year. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, are directing that, and they just had an amazing take on the movie.

He was Tweeting from a prom, wasn’t he?

Hill: Yeah, they did. Mike Bacall and Phil Lord and Chris Miller went to like two different proms and talked to all of these kids in high school, and they’re just amazing. The best thing that movie has going for it is that people’s expectations for it are so low that our movie is already so much better than what sh*t-talkers on the internet think it is. So we’re just high-fiving because that’s like the best thing you can have – people think your movie sucks and then it turns out being pretty awesome. Like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, I would have written it off before seeing it, and I was like, this movie is great! So I think Phil and Chris just had a great take on the movie.

What is your character going to be like?

Hill: Well that one is, uh – he’s, well, I don’t want to get too much into detail, because I don’t want to give you the grand, total 45-minute pitch of the movie, but basically we want to make a really funny, grounded high school movie with action set pieces in it. To me, that’s really cool. When they asked me to remake it, I initially went, “pfft, f*ck that – I’m not doing that. It’s stupid.” Then I thought about it and I watched the show again and revisited it, and the thing I responded to was the concept, because to me there’s a real Back to the Future element in that you get to go back and relive a very important time period in your life, and that’s what I found fascinating. And then, the big idea I had which Mike Bacall and I cracked was that these guys are cops in their mid-20s, and they’ve gained all of this confidence since high school, and then they go back to high school and they immediately revert back to insecure high school students again. That to me was sort of the big idea that we cracked that I really fell in love with about the movie.

They also take it very seriously in the show, which is why it’s funny now.

Hill: Yeah, but it’s not a spoof of the show. It’s honestly not. It’s not a spoof of the ‘80s, but to me it’s great. If I didn’t know about it I would talk sh*t about it like people on the internet do, but in my opinion, that’s the best thing we have going for us.

What happened to Adventurer’s Handbook?

Hill: Basically, we got greenlit and then we had scheduling conflicts because of Jason Segel and Jason Schwartzman’s television shows. We basically had to fit it into this window and their shows went over [schedule] or whatever and we just couldn’t do it, and then luckily I got offered Moneyball shortly after that.

Jonah_Hill_Image_1What do you think will happen with it now?

Hill: Well, I think we got so lucky in that everyone we wrote it for said yes, which very rarely happens. And especially Schwartzman’s role is so, I just can’t imagine anyone else playing Schwartzman’s role. It’s just built for him, you know what I mean? So I’m going to make Moneyball and The Sitter with David Gordon Green and then Jump Street and then after that, I want to find the first movie to direct. That’s my goal, so Adventurer’s is something that we still love and we aren’t disregarding doing it, but we have got to see how it comes back together.

You’ve been talking about wanting to direct for a while. Is there a certain genre that you think will sort of be your first choice?

Hill: I don’t want to discuss it in that way because it could end up being something totally different. I have to find something that – being a recognizable actor, I understand that when I do direct a movie, people such as yourselves are going to judge the sh*t out of me, so whether I like it or not, it’s going to be an extra-harsh judgmental endeavor. So for me, I want to make sure it’s done correctly; I’m not going to just throw together some sh*tty mlovie. This is where I want my career to end up, so for me, I think a lot of ways I think about it is I just go quality over genre; I just want it to be good.

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