Jonah Hill was a guest on the new HBO sports talk show, Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons. You might remember Any Given Wednesday as the show on which Ben Affleck went on a maybe-drunken rant about how Tom Brady was wronged in Deflategate. Jonah looked good and like he’s lost a significant amount of weight since he filmed War Dogs, his film out now with Miles Teller. (In no way do I mean to body shame him, but if he was a woman his weight fluctuations would be noticed more by the media.) Unlike Ben Affleck, Jonah was sober, funny and well spoken. To start, he told a story about how he got chewed out for talking while he was seated courtside at a Lakers game by their ex-coach, Phil Jackson. He said that that Jackson yelled that he was going to kick him out if he didn’t stop talking. Then they talked about the politics of Jack Nicholson’s courtside seats, with Jonah saying he heard an unsubstantiated rumor that Nicholson puts a clause in his film contracts that he gets time off to attend all the home games. When they started discussing Jonah’s career, that’s when it got interesting.
Did you think you were going to be a comedy guy [after Superbad]? Did you expect the evolution of what’s happened [in your career]?
You don’t expect anything. I think when you’re 21… you like joking around. That’s where I was in my life, kind of joking around with my friends and making phallic jokes. I always loved comedy but I always was more into movies like Goodfellas. There’s not much opportunity when you’re 21 to be in films like that…. it’s not like I look like Brad Pitt or was some unbelievable actor when I was a kid.I don’t think I would have broken into entertainment without starring in movies like that. Superbad’s a movie I’m as proud as of Moneyball and Wolf of Wall Street.
People have a really hard time seeing you as anything else if you ever do comedy. If you make people laugh it is very hard for them to see you [differently].
They were talking about Ray Liotta’s character in Goodfellas looking like he actually did cocaine
I did so much fake cocaine in Wolf of Wall Street I got bronchitis for three weeks [and] had to be hospitalized… it’s vitamin powder but it doesn’t matter, because if you ingest that much matter into your lungs you will get very sick. We were just literally doing fake coke for like seven months, every day. I’ve never had more vitamin D in my entire life. I could have lifted a car over my head.
It is interesting pretending to be on drugs too. I use music, I’ll make a playlist for every scene. I tried to make music I felt kind of jittery and chaotic. And just drink a ton of coffee and red bull.
Jonah also talked about how his films are often about characters making questionable moral decisions, and how interesting it is that people interpret that different ways, like stock brokers telling him how inspirational they find Wolf of Wall Street. He also told a story about how director Martin Scorsese helped him relax during a key scene in WOWS, by just having him sit quietly for 20 minutes. He said “there is no better living director on this planet than Martin Scorsese.” I liked this interview and now I get why Jonah Hill is a two time Oscar nominee. He can act, and he’s thoughtful about it. I don’t know if I’m buying the story about him being hospitalized for bronchitis after doing too much “fake cocaine” though. If that’s exactly what happened, why is this the first time we’re hearing about it?