Jonah Hill on Bad Raps, Crying Over Cyrus, and Having Your Impostors Killed


If Jonah Hill could tell you one thing, it would be this: You don't know Jonah Hill. That was a point the star of Superbad and Funny People couldn't emphasize enough when I met with him in Park City yesterday to discuss his hilarious and affecting work in Cyrus. In Jay and Mark Duplass's first foray into the semi-big leagues, Hill plays the title character -- a devious, passive-aggressive man-child who makes John C. Reilly's life a living hell when he starts to infringe upon the cozy domestic arrangement Cyrus shares with his young mom, played by Marisa Tomei. We spoke with Hill about the fun of showing fans some creepy new colors, the horrors of Twitter identity-theft, and what is shaping up to be the "proudest year" of his life.

Well, for starters, I want to congratulate you. You took this weird, fascinating character Cyrus to dark and emotional places that I have to admit really took me by surprise.

I laugh so hard when I go online and read the talkbackers. I've only starred in one movie, and for the character that Greg Mottola asked me to play, it was honest that he was a real loudmouth person who spouted out dick jokes. I was in this one very popular movie that people only know me from, and that was the character people know. This is the second time I've been one of the stars of a movie, and it's a completely different character. And Get Him to the Greek is a different character from either of those.

So you find people conflate you with your Superbad persona a lot.

Guys like us who know about movies or pay attention may not, but the general public -- say a mom from North Dakota came up to me, she'd say, "I loved Superbad!" That's what she knows of me. Then when you read what people write about me on the internet, which I'm guilty of doing, they just draw conclusions from that one movie. I have other movies coming out, so wait and see if any of those are similar.

Well, there was also your character in Funny People.

Funny People, yeah. But as an actor, you're kind of doing what the director wants you to do. It's their movie. And I played a comedian -- that's what comedians are like!

In seems in both films you play someone who finds himself being squeezed out of a situation he wants very much to be a participant in, and you manage to draw a lot of laughs out of your growing resentment and frustration.

Well, in Judd [Apatow's] movies, I think Judd noticed inherently that he found it funny when I was angry. So that's where maybe the loudmouth, angry, screaming thing comes from. But in this movie, I think it's very quiet and controlled. I'm just happy you noticed that, and I hope the assholes who write on the internet notice the same thing.

So their primary complaint is that you're only capable of doing one thing?

They say, all he does is scream and curse. And like yeah, in that one very popular movie that's what I did, and it was completely appropriate for what Greg Mottola asked me to do. In this movie, I do something else, and I hope they see that and ... uh ... shut up. [Laughs.] Here I am saying that I'm not angry. It's more that I'm mad at myself for even reading this shit.

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