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SXSW Video: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Filmmakers Talk Comedy Home Run '21 Jump Street'

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 13, 2012 at 7:20PM

Whatever question there might be about how well a smart horror parody like SXSW opener "Cabin the Woods" will do with mainstream audiences, there is none with updated buddy cop comedy "21 Jump Street," which also played well at the Paramount Theater here, and will prove a huge b.o. home run.
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'21 Jump Street' SXSW Q & A
'21 Jump Street' SXSW Q & A

Whatever question there might be about how well a smart horror parody like SXSW opener "Cabin the Woods" will do with mainstream audiences, there is none with updated buddy cop comedy "21 Jump Street" (March 16), which also played well at the Paramount Theater here, and will prove a huge b.o. home run.

Jonah Hill gets to take some credit as producer and co-star of "21 Jump Street," loosely based on the Johnny Depp TV series, in which he's brilliantly paired with Channing Tatum as two bumbling rookie cops sent undercover to expose a high school drug ring. Identified as a funnyman since he broke out in David Gordon Green's "Super Bad" at age 21, Hill is now 28; he slimmed down for this role, and is hitting his stride.

"It's a silly movie but it has a lot of truth to it," said Hill at the Q & A (see video below). "Which is why it's so cool to me. Channing breaks your heart and makes you laugh... This movie would have sucked without him." The filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller ("Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs") came on the project in 2010. They clearly all want to make a sequel.

21 Jump Street

The Duplass brothers' "Cyrus" was a turning point for Hill that led to Catherine Keener pushing him to director Bennett Miller, who cast him as Brad Pitt's "Moneyball" statistician sidekick, which earned Hill an Oscar nomination. Hill returned to comedy with "21 Jump Street," Green's "The Sitter" and Seth Rogen's upcoming "Neighborhhod Watch" and "Robopocalypse," and he's also partnering with Mark Wahlberg on actioner "Good Time Gang."

Hill raves about Tatum in our interview on his upcoming films below (the full interview is here). "He's so different in this movie, it will change your perception of him," he says. "He never looks bad. He's going to have a fantastic career. He's so funny. It's just shocking. That was the whole intention, pairing me up with someone."

This article is related to: Festivals, SXSW, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Interviews, Interviews , Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, comedy


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.