Jonah Hill shot to stardom in 2007 after playing Seth in the smash hit comedy Superbad. He has since gone on to work with legendary filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and The Coen Brothers. While many comedic actors never get their chance to break free from their slapstick stereotypes and show off their acting chops, Hill managed to do it soon into his career and has been nominated for two Academy Awards!
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Jonah Hill.
1. He Originally Wanted to Write and Direct, Not Act
Hill has been a huge movie buff his whole life, and his dream was always to write and direct his own films. After the success of Superbad, he went on to star in a string of comedy films and rode that wave for over a decade until he finally directed his first movie, the critically acclaimed Mid-90s.
2. Jonah Hill Isn’t His Real Name
Like many actors in Hollywood, Hill acts under a stage name. Not too far from his real name though, though. Hill was born Jonah Hill Feldstein on December 20, 1983.
3. He Wrote and Performed in His Own Plays
While in college, Hill wrote his own stage plays and performed them in the Black and White bar in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. The plays received positive feedback, and he gathered a small following. This helped him realize that he had a talent for writing and acting and that his true desire was to star in films.
4. He Has a Background in Skateboarding
Like many kids who grew up in Los Angeles, Hill fell in love with skateboarding at a young age, which later inspired the premise of his movie, Mid-90s. This is loosely based on his early life growing up in California and the friendships he blossomed in the tight-knit world of skateboarding. Hills friends were mostly skater dudes from East LA.
5. His Parents Are Very Successful in Their Own Rights
Many actors in Hollywood come from parents who also act or write and direct movies, not Jonah, though. Hill’s parents are very successful in different industries. His father was an accountant for hard rock legends, Guns n Roses, and his mother was a costume designer.
6. He Took a Small Salary of 60,000 Dollars for his Role in The Wolf of Wall Street
Hill has stated in many interviews that Martin Scorsese is his favorite filmmaker of all time, and Goodfellas is his favorite movie of all time. So, when the chance to work with Scorsese came knocking at his door, he took a measly salary (by Hollywood standards) of 60,000 dollars. His co-star in the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio, reportedly took home a staggering 10 million dollars for the celebrated picture. This didn’t phase Hill, though, and the movie went on to become an instant classic and bagged Hill his second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
7. He Has Suffered from Body Image Issues His Whole Life
After fluctuations in weight over the years, Hill has often been quizzed about this in interviews and has spoken out about how uncomfortable this makes him. Hill took to Twitter and said the following:
“I know you mean well but I kindly ask that you not comment on my body good or bad. I want to politely let you know it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good. Much respect.”
Hill also got a tattoo to celebrate body confidence. That tattoo reads “Body Love”.
8. He Was Originally Set to Star in Uncut Gems
Hill is no stranger to dramatic roles and was originally set to star in The Safdie Brothers’ follow-up to their 2017 masterpiece, Good Time, with Uncut Gems. After Adam Sandler’s agents turned down the role without him knowing, the lead character role of Howard Ratner was up for grabs. Jonah was announced to star but later turned down the role, and Sandler stepped back in.
9. His Sister Acts Too
Hill’s sister, Elizabeth Greer “Beanie” Feldstein, has taken up acting as well and is kicking up quite a storm. She made her first appearance in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and has since gone on to grab a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the critically acclaimed comedy, Booksmart. So, it appears that talent definitely runs in the family!
10. He is an Avid Surfer
When talking with GQ, Hill showed off his impressive surfboard and stated that it’s one of his favorite hobbies. Saying: “Life is so serious, like, I just want to try and have a good time and smile.” Don’t we all, Jonah.. don’t we all!
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