Actor. Writer. Director. Style Maven. Menswear Icon. Auteur. Jonah Hill.
We don’t get people like this very often. There are people who fall into the lexicon and are perennially in the spotlight, but like most, their shine peaks and they return to the fringes until it is yet again their turn in the foreground. We often have names for such peaks in popularity. Linsanity. The McConaughissance. We also have those who have potential to reach the upper echelon of fame. Think Chalamet right now. But seldom do we get someone who, no matter the stage in his or her press circuit, remains eternally beloved. Think Clooney. These are the people whose entire careers are their McConaughissance. Think Jonah Hill.
Jonah Hill has made the impressive leap from comedic sidekick to indie auteur. His transformation (both physical and stylistic) from the nerdy fat kid in his early roles, to staring alongside the likes of Leo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt is nothing short of inspirational. Even early on, in his most awkward phase, Hill was still stealing scenes. From 2006’s Accepted it is Hill’s “Ask me about my wiener!” line that was echoed throughout high school hallways for years to come, and as his star grew, as did his talents.
Following these early years, Hill fell into the good graces of the Rogen/Apatow movie factory. He had supporting roles in films like Knocked Up and Funny People, but this is also the era where Hill steps into the spotlight and puts his comedic acting chops on full display. In what is quite possibly, the greatest comedy of the 2000s Jonah Hill once again finds himself incredibly quotable as the star of Superbad. Hill was no longer the quiet kid on the sidelines, and while he would reprise those roles in the likes of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but in Superbad Hill had solidified himself as a movie star.
While he remained a staple in the Rogen productions, Hill also built his own career in much larger budget comedies, like the Jump Street franchise. Hill brings the similar sense of humor, but his co-stars have been upgraded from his pot-smoking buddies to full-fledged action stars. It was around this time that Hill branched out. Instead of just walking the tight rope of Hollywood actor trying to keep his career on track, he begins walking two tight ropes in complete different worlds. He now has a career as a dramatic actor. Now, all of the sudden, the curly headed fat kid with glasses is now slim and being nominated for Oscars. Yes, that is plural. Even in fame, Hill stays his relatable, lovable self by bringing his mom to the Oscars.
The shift to drama for Hill was one I’m sure many saw coming, but few had faith in. How many countless stories are we forced to watch where funnyman tries to prove himself as an artist? This was certainly not Jonah Hill’s prerogative. He never came across as an actor who felt himself as being pigeonholed. He is an actor who loves making movies. He doesn’t come in, overacting, expecting to be the star. He wants to do what he can to make good movies. He was nominated twice for “Actor in a Supporting Role” he is there to help make good movies. (And it must not have been easy tasking, having to offer “support” to two of the greatest actors of our generation, Pitt and DiCaprio)
In fact, his transition into dramatic films was so unselfish, one of his earlier dramatic movies, Django Unchained, he doesn’t even show his face. He just wants to do his part to make a good movie. Now, we have Hill making great movies through great acting. From 2011-2016, we have Moneyball, Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Lego Movie, and War Dogs. Hill gets his two Oscar noms for Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street and delivers one of the greatest comedic acting performances of his career in War Dogs. He is simultaneously drama and comedy. His willingness to play his part and make good work is what has gotten us to where we are now. Peak Jonah Hill.
While his rise through the movies has been quite the thing to see, I said Jonah Hill was much more than an actor. I said he was eternally beloved. I claimed he is one of the few who the spotlight truly never leaves, and that takes much more than a dalliance with the silver screen. Sure, he was definitely a charming guest on Late Night when he made appearances. That helped, but many are charming.
Hill was often the source of tabloid photos documenting his seemingly constant, fluctuating weight. We had Jonah Hill FitWatch2kXX. It always seemed to be a topic of conversation. It is impressive to note, he climbed the Hollywood ladder without being in “movie star shape”. He endured the unflattering photos. Losing weight is hard, it can be embarrassing, and he battled that struggle with cameras in his face. Just Google “Jonah Hill” and your suggested auto-fill options will say “weight loss”. He even gained an additional 45 pounds to star in War Dogs. Remember, he’s Jonah Hill, anything for the movie.
What is most impressive is he didn’t get comfortable. He didn’t settle there. He had a very lucrative career ahead of him as the “funny fat guy” but following War Dogs we saw tabloid photos of Jonah Hill holding green juices and rocking gym shorts and he is now the current, thin Jonah Hill of 2018. This most recent FitWatch plastered Instagram and Twitter feeds as we saw Hill walking the streets holding cold brew and wearing a beanie, even in L.A. heat. And as this most recent weight loss progression started, the cameras stayed in Hill’s face but for an entirely different reason.
Amid his astounding weight loss, the focus started shifting from what Hill’s body looked like to what he was wearing. After years of being a sartorial savant on the red carpets, being draped in Tom Ford or Ralph Lauren, Hill started to flex his street style muscle. Instead of showing the public how good he can look with a stylist and a hair team in the nicest tuxedo, he showed the everyman how to let your personal style work for you. He basked in skate shop brands, loose fitting chinos, and this camel hair coat to name a few.
He doesn’t rep the idyllic fashion house or simply wears the trendiest thing, but rather stays loyal to the skate shops he’s always loved. He wears clothes the have a good fit made by brands he likes. He even starred in a commercial for skate brand, Palace.
Now Jonah Hill is a bon-a-fide celebrity. He does the Late Night circuit when he has a movie coming out and otherwise is often photographed on the street putting his most recent style on display. Hill’s star has gotten so big and his style so prolific, there are even Instagram accounts dedicated to clothing choices. Fashion writers in Brooklyn have set up an annual Jonah Hill Day in appreciation of his fashionable flex. He was personally invited to Kanye West’s private listening party for his most recent album. Now that is clout. And he is only 34.
As he has grown in Hollywood, from goofy kid to a beacon of style it seems Hill is capable of it all, which leads us into his venture into the final frontier, indie film. Hill has been in indie films before, but never like this. Many actors make their leap from studio film to the indie sector as positioning for an Oscar. They have shown they can make money at the box office, and now they need to show they have the acting chops. They aren’t just selling tickets; they are artists. Not Jonah Hill.
Hill has Oscars under his belt, and his most recent switch into indie film isn’t a vanity project to show he can act, but rather a passion project where he goes behind the camera to write and direct with the upcoming, mid90s. Always a risky move with an actor, but the future is promising with production house, A24, taking the film on.
We have watched Jonah Hill grow before our eyes. From Seth Rogen sidekick to demanding attention through merely his fashion choices, he is now a staple member of Hollywood society. He is one of the premiere actors in his class and with his shift into writing/directing; he very well may become one of the best filmmakers as well. It is a very good time to be Jonah Hill. As a young actor in his early thirties, he has proven range and creative fortitude. Any one of his many skills could be the altar a lesser actor builds their career on. He is funny, but he’s not just funny. He is dramatic, but doesn’t take himself seriously. Regardless of his cinematic future, Jonah Hill has a healthy and enduring career on the streets of New York and L.A. by doing what he’s always done. He’s just supporting the things he loves.
Like, comment, share. Look up to people. Support cool things. Happy #MillenialFriday