HFPA in Conversation: Jonah Hill’s Dreams Became Reality

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros January 23, 2019
Actr, director Jonah Hill

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Twice Golden Globe nominee Jonah Hill has been sidetracked from directing and writing, his true calling, for last 15 years. It all started back in drama school when he took an acting class.  “I wanted to learn how to talk to actors and I got such positive feedback that I started acting”, he explains to HFPA journalist Bárbara de Oliveira Pinto.

Hill got his first acting job in his freshman year.“I didn’t really have that much of a college experience. But I got to work with many great filmmakers, first one was David O. Russell. So having gotten to make a lot of different kinds of films as an actor and work with essentially all my heroes, I was just in this amazing film school.

He didn’t rush to direct his first movie. “I wanted to wait until I had the skills and the maturity to be a director and I had a story that I was really passionate about telling. I hold the job of director in such high regard but first and foremost I identify as a writer.”

His directorial debut, Mid90s, was released in the United States at the end of last year. He also wrote it. “It’s just a magical experience, it’s the greatest experience of my life and if I’m lucky I’ll get to do it again.”

What kind of director Jonah Hill is? “It is very important for me for everyone to feel respected and heard and equal. There was also a lot of young people. I started very young and I really didn’t like it when people talked to me like I was a kid. So I try to talk to everybody and treat everybody - no matter their age, if they’ve done zero films or 100 films -  with the same respect. And I think it was a pretty joyous set, everyone seemed to have a great time.”

Listen to the podcast and hear how he liked filming in Los Angeles; if he misses anything from the 90s; if he reads reviews; what gets him up in the morning; what he does first in the morning; his collaboration with his sister who is an actress; why he wanted to be on the TV show Maniac; how he describes his friendship with Emma Stone; how people get his respect; who are his mentors; why the phone is important for him; what kind of writing routines he has; how he handles fame; what has been the most exciting experience at the Golden Globes; what is his new hobby; why he doesn’t like to go on vacation; and what success means to him.