In the latest HFPA Interview, Jonah Hill talks about the making of Netflix’s “Maniac,” getting his first break at 18 years old, and about taking friends such as Emma Stone and Michael Cera boxing.
Highlights from the interview include:
Hill’s take on his directorial debut: “I wanted to be a writer and director my whole life, that was always my dream. And I accidentally, on that path, fell into this wonderful 15-year acting career. And so having gotten to make a lot of different kinds of films as an actor and work with essentially all my heroes, I was just in this amazing film school for 15 years. And so I wanted to wait until (A) I had the skills and the maturity to be a director because I hold the job of director in such high regard and (B) have a story that I was really passionate about telling.
Hill on casting skateboarders for “Mid90s”: “I just did a lot of research and had connections in the skateboarding scene and I knew I was going to cast skaters as actors. Skaters and turn them into actors as opposed to actors and turn them into skaters, which is the common mistake made with movies involving skateboarding in the past. We had a young producer who was in the skate scene named Mikey Alfred who brought in a hundred people in the local skate scene in L.A. and I just had to try and find which ones had what it took and also that wanted to become actors.”
Landing his first role in David O. Russell’s “I Heart Huckabees”: “I would write these one act plays and his kids would come watch them. And I would also do prank phone calls a lot of the time. And he thought they were unique and interesting I guess. You’d have to ask him, but he saw something in me.”
How working on Netflix’s “Maniac” came about: “Cary Fukunaga and Emma Stone came over to my house and they bombarded me and were, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And I was, ‘Of course.’ Cary, very talented and Emma is one of my best friends and just someone I love and respect. And we started out together and it’s been so beautiful to watch her grow as a person and an artist. And honestly I just wanted her to be contractually obligate to spend four months with me,” he joked.
Hill on one of his favorite hobbies to do with friends, such as Emma Stone and Michael Cera: I spend a lot of time with Spike Jones. We spend a lot of time as friends and collaborators and we just hang out a lot. Same with Bennett Miller; Michael Cera lives in New York and Emma [Stone] when she’s in New York … I’ll take people boxing a lot. I really love boxing so if someone’s in town a lot of times, I’ll take them and come box with me.