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Jonah Hill Reveals He Turned Down 'The Hangover,' Currently Prepping Mystery Directorial Debut

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 26, 2013 at 4:05PM

Is Jonah Hill getting a swelled head or taking himself too seriously? That's the current narrative being tossed around, partially thanks to a recent Rolling Stone interview for "This Is The End," in which he appeared to be standoff-ish compared to his more jovial co-stars. But can you blame the guy for not wanting to answer questions about his romantic life, workout routine and farting? (Yes, the magazine did try and go in those directions.) The one quote that's perhaps most important is this one: "I've done one of the biggest challenges you can do in Hollywood, which is transition from being a comedic actor to being a serious actor, and I'm really prideful of that. I could have made a billion dollars doing every big comedy of the last 10 years and didn't, in order to form a whole other life for myself. Now I have fulfillment doing both."
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Jonah Hill

Is Jonah Hill getting a swelled head or taking himself too seriously? That's the current narrative being tossed around, partially thanks to a recent Rolling Stone interview for "This Is The End," in which he appeared to be standoff-ish compared to his more jovial co-stars. But can you blame the guy for not wanting to answer questions about his romantic life, workout routine and farting? (Yes, the magazine did try and go in those directions.) The one quote that's perhaps most important is this one: "I've done one of the biggest challenges you can do in Hollywood, which is transition from being a comedic actor to being a serious actor, and I'm really prideful of that. I could have made a billion dollars doing every big comedy of the last 10 years and didn't, in order to form a whole other life for myself. Now I have fulfillment doing both."

And Hill elaborates on that in another chat with Bullett magazine, where the actor reveals two major movies he turned down following "Superbad" and his rise to sudden fame. He shares that he was offered “any one of the three main parts in 'The Hangover' " as well as an opportunity to play sidekick to Shia LaBeouf  in "Transfomers: Revenge Of The Fallen." “They were both really big decisions, and ones that most people didn’t understand,” he explains. “I knew I could be a dramatic actor, but I also knew I couldn’t go from 'Superbad' to 'Schindler’s List.' ”

But Hill worked for that shot to do something more substantive. After turning down those gigs, he sought out the Duplass brothers and made "Cyrus." Following the heat from his Oscar nominated turn for "Moneyball" and smash hit "21 Jump Street," Hill used a Sony party in Cancun (where he met with Quentin Tarantino, who offered him a role in "Django Unchained"), as an opportunity to talk with Leonardo DiCaprio about taking a part in "The Wolf Of Wall Street." And the competition was fierce. “Even though it’s about excess, it’s really about the darkness of money and greed and drugs and power,” Hill said. “I knew that I was being considered among a list of other actors, but not my contemporaries—Andrew Garfield or Joseph Gordon-Levitt—people who are usually up for the same stuff as me. I was hearing names like George Clooney.” 

However, Hill kept pushing and when Scorsese called wanting to meet him, the actor insisted for it to be an audition instead. “I was like, Fuck it. Even if I don’t get this, Scorsese called me in to meet with him and I didn’t pussy out,” Hill said, sharing that he read three scenes for the director. Two weeks later he got the part.

So, needless to say, Hill is eager to both climb out of the man-child niche that has been carved for him and perhaps give the appearance that he's more than just one of the Apatow bro-gang. But can he sometimes go a bit too far or get too introspective? Perhaps. Of the upcoming, recently wrapped drama "True Story," co-starring James Franco and being produced by Brad Pitt, Hill got so lost in the character -- he plays a New York Times reporter who discovers a murderer was arrested in Mexico using his alias, yet only wants to speak with him -- he needed his Mom on the set. “Most of the movie is about my character losing everything he cares about and his obsession with a guy who killed his own wife and infant kids," Hill says. "I would start to get happy on set for a second, or think about something funny, and immediately feel guilty because these people died.” 

Either way, Hill has big plans and is currently finishing up a script for something he'll direct on his own. “It focuses on what it’s like to work in a field where immaturity is not only allowed, but also encouraged,” he teased without revealing any more details. 

Meanwhile, Bullett has shared some unflattering (at least out of context), unpublished quotes with Salon from their interview (which seems like kind of a dick move) such as this: "When Brad [Pitt] and Angie [Jolie] came to my birthday party last year, I think that was pretty shocking to a lot of people because that was at a small bar, but my birthday party this year was at my house and, um, some of the guys from 'The Wolf of Wall Street' came over. My friends weren’t like, ‘Oh my gosh! A famous person’s here.’ More than that, it was the actors there who were like, ‘Man, it’s so awesome how close you are with all these people who don’t give a fuck that you’re in movies or that anyone else is in movies.’ Because no one cared that Leo [DiCaprio] was there."

And the point he's (clumsily) trying to make isn't that he's hanging with famous people and you're not, but rather that he values honest relationships over starfucking. But mostly, he doesn't care what you think: "You can dis me all you want on a blog, or write whatever you want in this magazine and I’ll just be like, ‘Whatever, man. Scorsese thinks I’m awesome.’ [Laughs.] He hired me and didn’t fire me, so I can kind of not care now. It really did give me personal assurance that I’m doing the right thing and that I’m talented in certain ways because he’s so important to me."

So yeah, Hill is moving on and growing up and finding out the limits of his skills. And if that means he won't answer your question about farting, well, so be it.

This article is related to: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street , The Hangover


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