Comedic superstar Jonah Hill, best known for his roles in the films “Superbad” and “Get him to the Greek”, goes for a change of pace with “Cyrus”, a drama in which he plays the disagreeable son of a woman (Marisa Tomei) who is trying to juggle a relationship with her boy and a new love (John C.Reilly).Ashley Hillard caught up with the amiable actor at the L.A press day.
This is a very different role for you, Jonah.
Yeah, its definitely more of a dramatic stretch for me. It was the first time ever it was difficult for me to go home at the end of the day and shake off what I was doing earlier in the day and just hang with my friends or my girlfriend and be normal after playing such a severely affected guy.
Why this movie?
My desire to want to do it, and a reason I wanted to do it, is because it reflected a different taste of mine in film. Ive always wanted to do something like this but never knew if Id get that opportunity. Which is fine, because I love all the movies that I’m known for greatly. But it was a very different thing than you’re use to seeing me doing – and it was challenging, but in a great way.
And what kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
Its my families favourite movie I’ve ever been in. Some of the movies I’ve done my parents can appreciate that other people love them but they themselves aren’t massive fans of them. They just don’t like some of the language in the other movies. They do like Superbad and Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get him to the Greek but this was just more their thing.
I take it working in a drama with such heavyweights as Marisa Tomei and John C.Reilly was a little nerve-wracking?
It was scary and frightening enough – and then it was compounded by the fact that I’d be working with John C.Reilly and Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener! – who are some of the best dramatic actors working..or ever… in my opinion. I was intimidated but that sort of washed away pretty instantaneously – and I used that intimidation to kind of fuel my performance. I just went for it – I didn’t want to regret not going for this and then seeing it on TV later. I learnt a lot from John – he is someone who does both comedic and dramatic acting both flawlessly.
Did you base the character of Cyrus on anybody in particular?
Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like Cyrus. There are parts of people that I’ve met along my life journey, but he was a difficult character to build because he is so different. I would never be friends with this guy – I don’t like him at all. He is so manipulative. I did eventually find a way in but that way in wasn’t through liking him but by feeling sympathetic towards him. I realized though that this guy is the way he is because of how he was brought up –it’s not necessarily his fault.
Do you want to more dramas?
It’s already opened more doors. Bennett Miller, who did Capote, saw this movie and he’s cast me as the second lead in a new Brad Pitt movie called Moneyball. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright are also in it. But it’s literally me and Brad Pitt as the two leads – he plays Billy Beane, and I play Paul De Podesta, who worked for Billy. I have a shave and a haircut coming soon. He’s very Ivy-league – you’re going to see a very prepped up version of me in the movie.
Do you know Paul De Podesta?
I’ve spoken to Paul, and we’ve texted back-and-forth, and asked questions and stuff, but I purposely am not meeting him face-to-face before we shoot because I don’t want to do a physical impression of him – we don’t look-a-like and I don’t want to do a physical interpretation of him, I really just want to capture his spirit and the way he was. I don’t want to walk like him or talk like him, I really just want to capture what he was about at that time and who he was at that time.
Brad, I’ve seen has the short hair and has shaved for the part. Do you prefer that look?
On him? [Laughs] I have to rehearse tomorrow with him, I don’t want to tell him I’ve been answering questions about whether I prefer him with or without a beard.
Are you a baseball fan? Who’s your team?
I am. Dodgers.
What research are you doing for “Moneyball”?
I’m studying a lot of statistics – Paul really knows his statistics… he knows an incredible amount, and that was part of their system they used. So I’m really studying the system. I’m getting a statistics tutor and really taking it seriously.
Do you play fantasy baseball?
No, but I’m starting with one up for the movie, actually.