Here the Hollywood funnyman talks about his experiences of babysitters when he was a kid, how he got into the comedy business in the first place and the secret to his dramatic weight loss.
I was a troublemaker, definitely. I stirred the pot. Just general misbehaving. My mum makes fun of me because I did do a lot of bad stuff, but I always got caught so I always served the time for the crime. I never got away with anything. I always got busted. The other kids’ mums didn’t want them hanging out with me for a couple of years. Then I became a little angel. Now I’m an angel.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: HOW WAS WORKING WITH THE KIDS ON THIS?
It was great. I loved them. I was a fan of Max Records from ‘Where The Wild Things Are’; we talked to Spike Jonze about Max and he said really great things about him, and sure enough, he was great. And the other kids, Landry (Bender) and Kevin (Hernandez), they were all great. I like kids, especially as acting partners because they are so spontaneous, and I like to improvise and be spontaneous especially in the broader comedic stuff like this. The spontaneity is everything. And their minds are so disconnected and so spontaneous that it’s really a great challenge as an actor to play off that energy. I like to bring that energy to the comedy stuff.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: IS IT JUST REALLY FUNNY TO GET A NINE-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND TEACH HER TO KICK SOMEONE IN THE BALLS?
Yes. It’s really funny. It makes you laugh even though you know it’s a cheap joke. It still makes you laugh. There is just something funny about kids doing inappropriate stuff. I think ‘South Park’ is a great example of that. These are actual little kids and the idea of the movie is that there are all these movies that I didn’t think were very good that were like: “Oh, you don’t want this guy babysitting your kids, he might give them too much candy, or something.” I wanted to make the punk rock, R-rated, middle finger to those films, which was like: “Oh you ‘really’ don’t want this guy watching your kids.” That to me seemed like a cool idea for a film, for a funny movie.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: I’M SURE MANY OF OUR READERS HAVE YOUNGER SIBLINGS, SO HAVE YOU GOT ANY ADVICE FOR BABYSITTING? HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO GO TO BED?
Candy. Candy. Candy wins their heart always. You can get them to act however you want by candy bribes. If I need them to do something, I throw a candy bar at them and say: “I’ll give you more candy. There’s more where that came from if you give a performance, and don’t talk too much!”
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: DID YOU HAVE A BABYSITTER WHEN YOU WERE A KID?
Yeah, she was cool. Her mum worked for my dad and she turned me on to some really good music, like The Pixies, Black Flag – she was into punk music. I had a crush on her. She’s actually been getting a lot of talk-time on this junket. This has probably been the most she’s been talked about for ever.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: IS IT TRUE DUSTIN HOFFMAN’S KIDS GAVE YOU AN INROAD?
Yeah. Dustin is the one who encouraged me to be an actor, and got me my first audition for my first movie. And I knew him through their kids. They went to college with me, and high school.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: IS THERE AN ONGOING DIALOGUE WITH DUSTIN? DO YOU STILL SPEAK TO HIM?
Yeah, he was really proud that I was doing ‘Moneyball’. He was really proud of me taking that step, and he respects Bennett Miller (director) a lot. We spoke after he read that I was doing ‘Moneyball’ and he said, “I’m proud of you for taking that step in your career. I think it’s important.”
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: WHY DID YOU START IN COMEDY?
I love comedy, I love drama, I love it all, so for me, the movies I have made, what I became known for, like ‘Superbad’ and stuff – what Judd (Apatow), myself, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and all those guys were all doing at that time, they were the coolest movies being made. That was my opinion. They were the most counter-culture, against-the- mainstream movies that became the mainstream. So for me, it wasn’t about, ‘I want to be this or that,’ it was about, ‘What are the coolest movies I can make right now?’ And I thought we were – with Judd leading that – accomplishing something really different and cool. And now that has been copied a million times, so what’s new? What’s cool? What other stuff is there? How can that evolve? And for me the evolution included doing things like ‘Moneyball’ and ‘Cyrus’ and evolving in that way. And also I grew up. I was a kid, 21 or 22, when ‘Superbad’ came out. I was a kid. Not that I’m an old man now, but I’m maturing and evolving as an actor and as a person.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET CREATIVE?
Honestly, now that I have become healthier, I find exercising really helps me be creative and clears my head, if I run or something, or work out. I get just a clarity of energy. You know when you work out and you feel like, ‘Oh man, I feel really good, I feel inspired, I feel interesting thoughts coming’. It wipes clean all the worries of the day, and then you can have this blank canvas.
JONAH HILL INTERVIEW: CAN YOU TELL US YOUR REGIME?
To find out his answer to this question and many more you can check out the full interview published in our back issue online, click here to read now!
Written by Tim Lockwood/Hot Features