'22 Jump Street's' Jonah Hill loves mixing it up

Jonah Hill. (WENN.COM)

Jonah Hill. (WENN.COM)

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

NEW YORK — For someone whose resume bristles with comedy, Jonah Hill is quite a serious guy.

The hilarious actor from Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Get Him To The Greek and This Is The End is also the serious two-time Oscar nominee for Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street.

He's also one of the writers and producers on both 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street.

The thing is to mix it up, says Hill. "All the people I've grown to love and respect through creative work strive to better themselves, to challenge themselves, and they're all complex people. I'm not funny all the time, I'm not serious all the time."

He continues, "You have different facets to your personality and to express that through work was important to me. I tried not to stay within one mould. I tried to be the kind of actor who could express himself through other types of films."

22 Jump Street, which reunites Hill with Channing Tatum as inept undercover cops at college, has been a seven-year project for Hill. "It's something I started working on when I was 23, and I'm 30 now — between the first one and this one, and yeah, it's great to really be part of the fabric of something."

How did he know at 23 that he could make it as a writer? Some guys can't even make their own beds at that age.

"I couldn't make my own bed," says Hill, laughing. "I still lived in my parent's house. But I knew I could write."

The L.A. native started writing while he was studying drama at the New School in New York. Hill was writing plays, and an introduction to Dustin Hoffman led to his getting cast in I Heart Huckabees, Hill's 2004 film debut.

By 2007, Hill was suddenly everywhere — his films Rocket Science, Knocked Up, Evan Almighty, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Superbad all came out that year.

He was an overnight sensation.

Hill has appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Funny People, Cyrus, The Watch, Django Unchained and several other films, each hit taking his career up a notch.

"As an actor," he says, "you're working for the director. You're servicing their vision. For Phil [Lord] and Chris [Miller] you're doing the same, but you're not just playing your part. As a producer you also work on the movie being good as a whole."

He adds, "So on a movie like Wolf of Wall Street, I'm only focusing on what I'm doing in that scene at the moment. I don't have to think about anything else, because Martin Scorsese is thinking about everything." Hill laughs.

"And he's the best."

All this work is not without its benefits, says Hill. For one thing, the Jump Street franchise means that Ice Cube knows who Hill is, "Which is awesome," he jokes. For another, there's his friendship with Channing Tatum, which informs their screen chemistry.

"I don't think you can artificially create that," says Hill.

"That comes with real friendship, like the way you butt heads as well as the way you are besties and have the greatest time ever.

"It is a very real, honest friendship and I'm proud to be part of it."

Twitter: @LizBraunSun

liz.braun@sunmedia.ca

 


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