by: Anne M. Raso
Jonah Hill has been called the "John Candy of the now generation" but the 26-year-old really brings his own shctick and talents to the table. He excels as both the "failure to launch" twenty-something son from hell in Cyrus and as the goofy but ambitious Hollywood record company exec in Get Him To The Greek! In all honesty, you can't really compare J.Hill to the late Candy--Hill has his own brand of wide-eyed vulnerability and can deal with any slapstick situation put his way, but he also has a certain hipness rather than the "silly old Uncle" vibe that Candy had.
We were lucky to catch up to Jonah at the recent press day for Cyrus. He seems to have been thrilled to work with Marisa Tomei (playing his free-spirited freelance masseuse mom) and John C. Reilly (playing the beau whom nosy and socially inept Cyrus is trying to get out of the picture via mind games).
Financefoodie.com asked Hill if he was ever the major slacker that the title character Cyrus is. He chuckled, "I was never really a slacker, but I don't know if I did things that were defined as productive! I was always pursuing creative endeavors but I don't know if that was always valued by certain institutions like strict schools...that is why I found a school that was geared more towards the creative side (of things)."
His turning point in terms of making show business his life came in college: "Being a writer and director was always my goal and when I went to school here in New York (at the New School), I wrote these plays and would try to cast them but I didn't have a good enough bedside manner to work with the actors and get them to do what I wanted! So I actually took acting classes so I could learn how to speak to actors---and I kind of fell in love with acting through that process."
Hill is notorious for being able to turn serious subjects into funny ones--he was able to create emotional disturbance in the character of Cyrus (which opens on June 18th) that was hilarious and touching at the same time (something that film critics are lauding him for now). At this point, the young actor might be really only known for his roles Superbad and Get Him To The Greek but the role of Cyrus has many more layers. He remarks, "It was a challenge in a great way! The movie has the potential to get slackers to have a look at themselves--and maybe even get their butts out of the house once and for all!"
Hill is not only helping slackers, but is hoping to help new filmmakers get their first projects off the ground. When we asked him about his career goals, Hill said rather selflessly, "I always said that if I had any success in this business, I would use that success to help up-and-coming filmmakers get their voices put out there."
In terms of his preferred type of flick to act in, Hill concludes with that famous impish-bordering-on-crazy grin, "I love doing comedies but I love doing all genres. It's just about doing a good movie...it's not about the kind of movie it is...and you hope that people want to go and see what you'd like to see!" 'Nuff said?
[Photo: Anne M. Raso - Hill solo, all others - Fox Searchlight]