To this day, I’m still not sure if I’m a Jonah Hill fan or not. On the one hand, I think he can be super funny in films like Superbad, 21 Jump Street, or most recently, This is the End. But on the other hand…there’s just something about him that makes him seem so unlikable to me. Like Danny McBride, Hill has a tendency to be cast as the asshole character in a lot of his films. Stuff like The Sitter, 40 Year Old Virgin, and Funny People have all clouded my vision of this Jonah Hill character. Usually I’m fine separating an actor from the roles he plays, but there’s just something about Jonah Hill that I just find unappealing. Yet I’m fascinated by the guy all the same. Recently he’s made a switch to more dramatic roles, like his Oscar nominated work in Moneyball and his soon to be supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. And by approaching the more straight path of being a “serious actor” (surrrrre…), Hill of course turned down some very big roles in his career. And now we’ve learned three of them—that of The Wolfpack in The Hangover. Yes, he was offered all three parts by director Todd Phillips himself. True story.
The tantalizing scoop came courtesy of Bullet. The interview itself is a few weeks old, but I didn’t become aware of it until an article from The Playlist yesterday. I highly recommend you read the Bullet interview though—it’s a super interesting portrait at what has become of Jonah Hill—or maybe more realistically, what was always Jonah Hill but didn’t truly come out until his recent “success.” Because he was searching for that success, the actor apparently turned down a ton of comedic roles in films like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and, most tantalizing of all, The Hangover series. Hill fully explains turning the roles down by claiming that “a genuine fear of mine was that I was going to be known as ‘The Guy from Superbad’ for the rest of my life.” Because of that, Hill turned down “any one of the three main parts in The Hangover” that Todd Phillips offered him. Yup, all three of them. Can you imagine a Stu played by Jonah Hill? Because I certainly can’t.
When all is said and done, I think Hill made the right choice by not taking a role in the series. But even after the Bullet interview, I’m still not sure what to make of Jonah Hill. Is he a huge asshole? A misunderstood artist who’s just trying to be treated more seriously? I still have no idea, but I’m not sure I’m liking what’s become of Jonah Hill. Hopefully the sense of humor hasn’t been completely drained from him.