Since his breakout role in The 40 Year Old Virgin, and his rise stardom through films like Superbad and Moneyball, to now releasing his first feature directorial effort, Jonah Hill has propelled himself from shy guy to Hollywood hero. We take a look at where he’s come from, where he’s been and where he’s going in the future. This is the mysterious mind of Jonah Hill.
So you know Jonah Hill as “the guy from Superbad” or “the funny guy from *insert movie here*”, and that’s ok, because that’s how we all saw Hill the first time we saw him in a film. That is unless we saw him first in something like Moneyball, for which he was nominated for his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Hill has always been a sort of enigma in Hollywood, starting his career as a part of that group of comedians making movies, lead by heavyweights Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen as they wrote, produced, directed and starred their way into the spotlight with a lot of hard work and dedication. They started in film in 2005 with The 40 Year Old Virgin, which Hill had a small part in. Hill’s first role was in a film called I Heart Huckabees the year before.
This led to more small roles in other films until in 2007 we saw him in a whole new light with the Rogen-penned film Superbad. Hill shined as he starred alongside Arrested Development alum Michael Cera and breakout star Christopher Mintz-Plasse. This launched Hill into a new level of stardom and became a household name to anyone who was a teenager in High School at the time.
The inspiration for this article came from a podcast produced by A24 Studios, in which Hill sat down with Cera and reminisced about old times and the friendship they developed on the film. The link to that is at the bottom of the article.
From there, Hollywood opened up all kinds of opportunities for Hill, who then went on to star in multiple side roles in films until his next lead film role Get Him To The Greek in 2010. This lead to him taking a more dramatic turn in Moneyball starring opposite of Brad Pitt, and Hill held his own with an Aaron Sorkin penned screenplay that was full of technical dialogue and displayed that the kid who was type-cast in comedies had serious chops and a respect for cinema, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
He continued his rise starring opposite Channing Tatum in the reboot of 21 Jump Street, keeping his comedy roots while also working with some of the biggest directors in Hollywood. He took the lowest possible paycheck in accordance with the SAG of $60,000 to work with his idol Martin Scorcese on The Wolf of Wall Street. His appearance in the film cemented him as a household name, and earned him his second Oscar nomination for Actor in a Supporting Role. Those other directors include a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and a supporting role in The Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!.
Something, something, something, a Jump Street sequel and a few more starring roles later and we land in 2018, when Hill released his first film as a director: Mid90s. Produced by A24 and written by Hill, it tells the story of a young boy outcast from social and home life who finds friendship in a group of skaters at a local skate shop. Based on Hill’s love of skateboarding growing up, even though he was “never particularly good at it”, it’s where he cites he found his one of his first loves.
What Mid90s did for Hill is it proved that he was a force to be reckoned with in more areas than one. It proved that he had a passion and drive that was previously unknown to the public, and it proved that he was able to craft a story based on experience and one that took a lot of love and care to build from the ground up. The film received a lot of critical praise, and grossed $9.3 million off a $1.7 million budget, which is a modest and respectable profit.
The attention to detail in the film is also incredibly admirable. Everything down to the trash is period accurate, including the soundtrack that included a lot of Hip-Hop and Grunge music, with Hill citing that “Tribe (Called Quest) was to us what The Beatles were to our parents.” What was also a huge detail that leads into Hill’s current venture is the footwear worn by members of the cast and crew.
Hill is a huge supporter of German footwear company Adidas, and has since made multiple collaborations with them, including one that just dropped this week. He has said that he “rocked Samba’s every day growing up” and that they’re “the illest shoe ever.” His Jonah Hill x adidas Samba’s come in three colourways and are retailing for $170 in Australia.
As for the future, Hill has already written a play with Spike Jonze that “played for one night and then we closed it.” He has cited his love for writing and the joy he gets from it. Working on multiple writing projects and developing a second feature seems like the logical next step for Hill when it comes to entertainment, but who knows what ideas are churning in the mysterious mind of Jonah Hill?
Oh, and I forgot to mention. He’s done all of that, and he’s only 36.
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