Capone's THIS IS THE END set visit report continues with a quick chat with Jonah Hill!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Wrapping up my set visit coverage for THIS IS THE END this week with a couple more interviews done between takes. At some point toward the end of our time on set, writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg took the small group of writers to the room where rough edits of certain, already-finished scenes were being edited into rough sequences, just to get a rough idea of how the scenes were being pieced together and to assemble a "sizzle reel" for studio types wanting to get a look at the film and folks like us.
During our time in the room, we were shown maybe four or five rough cuts of scenes from the film, some of which revealed cameos that, up until recently, were unknown to the world at large. At the time, names like Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Rihanna and a couple other were being tossed around, but the scenes we were shown (which I won't detail here) showed a few others. The scenes were fantastic, funny, and foul. Clearly, special effects were going to play a much bigger part in THIS IS THE END that we had expected.
What I noticed as the we watched the scenes, as well as the sizzle real, was that Seth and Evan were not watching the footage; they were watching us watching the footage, gauging our reactions, conducting their own spontaneous focus group. And it occurred to me that we were probably the first people not involved in the production to see this footage. I have no idea if everything we saw is in the final film, but based on the trailers, I'm guessing much of it is.
One of the last interviews we did was a really quick chat with Jonah Hill, who was as fun and honest with us as he always is. I find it really strange that certain reporters are trying to paint Hill as an interview subject who won't play along with stupid questions or as an actor that takes himself too seriously to be funny during an interview. First of all, faulting the guy for making the successful first step toward branching out from comedy to drama with CYRUS and MONEYBALL (or the upcoming Scorsese film THE WOLF OF WALL STREET or the drama TRUE STORY, also opposite James Franco) is a tough step for any comedic actor.
There's no way Hill has forgotten where he came from, but that also doesn't permanently bind him to only doing comedies and wanting to be taken a little seriously by the press. Trust me, Jonah Hill will also be fully capable of being playful and open during interviews if you don't approach him with a "dance monkey" attitude. I actually think some of his comments in the below interview are interesting, especially the ones about him seeing this film as something of a closing the chapter on a certain kind of film for this gang, or at least him. This one is a quickie, but please enjoy our on-set chat with Jonah Hill…
Question: Danny [McBride] said you're the nicest one out of the group who are trapped. How do you handle a crisis like this?
Jonah Hill: This whole movie is so complex--playing yourself and playing a version of yourself. It definitely feels like a cap on a certain era in all of our lives and coming up together. It's cathartic for me in a lot of ways. I wanted to play a version of myself--and they'd originally written it differently--but I wanted to play someone who always saw the sympathy in a situation, someone who was an overly sympathetic version of myself. And I poke fun at myself. Obviously, everyone does in this movie. I went to dinner with an actor who was shooting out here the night before we started shooting, and he had a big diamond stud earring in his ear. So the day we started shooting, I said I wanted to wear a big diamond in my ear, and they thankfully let me do that.
Question: At what point did you know you wanted to be in the movie, and at what point did you first read the script and see their version of you for the first time?
JH: They asked me maybe a year ago? I'm not really good at time--I usually mark time by movies. It was right after I finished JUMP STREET, I think. I came over to Seth's house, and they discussed it with me. There are a few people in my career I've been lucky enough to work with who I would do anything for, and Seth and Evan are guys, who, if they ask me to show up, I show up. It doesn't really matter what it is. They've been great friends, and I definitely will always be there to support those guys specifically. They deserve all the respect they have.
Question: How has the dynamic of your friendship changed seeing these guys as bosses on set calling all the shots?
JH: When I was younger, they obviously gave me my big break--them and Judd and Mottola with SUPERBAD. They were running the show with Greg and Judd back then, too, so it's not like this feels like a boss-employee relationship like it has on other films. We're close friends in real life. The next couple of jobs I have coming up, I'm more going in an employer-employee situation, and Seth and Evan don't treat anyone in that way. They don't treat people like they're their bosses, which is why people love working with them so much.
Question: When you say this is a cap to a period in your lives, do you feel like there's something changing now that makes it different from SUPERBAD or when the Jay and Seth short was made?
JH: I mean for me personally; I can't speak for anyone else. My "college" experience was making movies with these guys. We all started out together and have grown and evolved in different ways. To have everyone assembled together for a movie like this, and have had them start together is rare. I know this is my last comedy for the next year-and-a-half probably, so it feels like a cap to my early 20s. I don't know how to put it without making it sound like it was important to anyone else but me, but for me, it was important because these guys starting me out...it's rare to get to work with this many people you've known for years and years and years. The next three things I'm doing are more emotionally daunting and hardcore, and this is really fun. It's cathartic and fun; there are no other adjectives I have for it. It's fun, there's no pressure or intensity; it's just really a laugh.
Question: When they asked you to do it, did they already have you in the script?
JH: You'd have to ask them. The first script I read, I imagine they wrote it for these guys. I just kind of showed up. They were like, "Hey, you want to come play yourself?" and I said, "Sure!" I'd do anything for these guys.
Question: How different is the dynamic from KNOCKED UP, where you and Jay and Seth had a lot of scenes sitting around?
JH: That was my first bigger movie role, I think. Well, I had done a modern classic called ACCEPTED before that--I think it's on the AFI 100 list, if you've never seen it [laughs]--but I don't know. I was younger and learning about having bigger parts in movies and learning from Judd, Seth, and Evan and those guys. I really like John Cassavetes movies, and how it they feel like people hanging out and talking. That's why KNOCKED UP, when those scenes were really good, it just felt like people were hanging out, and you were kind of spying on them in a certain type of way. I think in this movie, too, I try to emulate the vibe of whatever is going on in the movie while you're on set, so the talking and joking around with one another almost right up until they yell "Action" fuels the casualness of the scene and the strong relationships you have with the people in the movie. These people are supposed to know each other really well. [Jonah is called back to set] Oh, well. I hope those are good answers. This is my first interview about this film, so I haven't really formulated my go-to answers [everybody laughs]. This is a workshop for me.
-- Steve Prokopy
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