We’ve talked to Jonah Hill a lot over the last few years and while he’s always been great to chat with, he really went above and beyond during our set visit to Get Him to the Greek. He sat down with us for over an hour and was rather entertaining as he talked about movies, his friends and how he stays grounded in Los Angeles. Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Hill, his upcoming projects and more.
Q: Was this your idea for the script? Jonah Hill: Nick and I went to Canter’s Deli one day and we’re friends and were just talking and it was right after “Sarah Marshall.” He’s like, “What do you want to do now?” Because I was having a hard time finding a movie that I wanted to be the lead in after “Superbad” because I love that movie so much that I kind of took smaller parts and writing and producing jobs because I didn’t want to jump out in front of a movie that I wasn’t going to be as proud of, because I really appreciate that movie. So I didn’t want to jump out to starring in movies and have them be not good. It’s scary to do a movie that people like because what if your next movie just sucks. He’s like, “I think you and Russell are really funny together. I have this idea that we have 72 hours but he’s off the wagon and f*ckin’ crazy. You kinda have to deal with this insane person.” I was like, “I can see that being really funny.” So I was like, “Yeah, you should write it.” We kind of pitched around ideas and four or five of the main set pieces we kinda came up with during that lunch, and then he just went off and wrote a million drafts of the script.
Q: Why the decision to change the character? Hill: It was done early on because my character in “Sarah Marshall” is so weird and stalkerish, I wanted to play a normal [person]. I wanted to be the audience’s perspective. It’s like these people are f*ckin’ crazy. I’m you. I’m the people watching, like whoa, what if I was in that position or what if I was in this position. It would be weird to watch a weird stalker guy be the main character of a movie. It’d be kinda just hard to get an emotional depth to that at all.
Q: Are there any jokes that you’re playing a different character? Hill: Not besides the one we’ll make right now. I do find it funny. It’s weird but when you watch the movie, hopefully you just won’t notice it because it’s just a different story.
Q: Is there any “Sarah Marshall” reference? Hill: There’s a little reference to it that I think is funny. I don’t want to give sh*t away. It’s better doing these interviews once you’ve seen the movie because it’s like, “Oh, I know what you’re talking about.” I don’t want to give away a secret, people read it and then be like, “Why should I see the movie? I know all the fun sh*t that’s going to happen.”
Q: What will you have to do to help Russell in this scene? Hill: It’s sort of like our last moment together, like I actually got him here. It’s sort of our last connection of like whoa, we actually finished what we accomplished, what we set out to do. So it’s kind of like an emotional moment, closing of the movie.
Q: Is your character beat up by now? Hill: Yeah, he’s f*cked. He’s been run ragged for 72 hours. He hasn’t slept. When you see the movie, it’s so hard doing this interview because once you see it, you saw the journey, how messed up I am from beginning to getting here. But it’s still lovely to talk to all you guys. I know there’s absolutely no point to any of this but it’s lovely to see you all again and sit around and chat.
Q: What’s the beginning of the journey? You’re sent to London from L.A.? Hill: All over, London, New York, Las Vegas. We detour from all these places we’re supposed to be going. He’s fully off the wagon on heroin and I’m a guy who’s used to normal people so he just takes me through the f*ckin’ mud. He just drags me through the mud with him and I’m not used to it.
Q: But it was your character’s idea. Is he pissed off? Hill: I don’t think he’s pissed. I think he’s just like, “f*ck, I don’t want to get fired, I want to do well and I love this guy’s music.” I’m like a fan of his and I want him to succeed, but he kind of learns what a mess this guy really is underneath the persona. It’s like a lot of times when you meet some of these people that you really look up to, they’re a lot darker and weirder than you want them to be, and not as interesting. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes because they’ll usually let you down. So it’s like this guy’s meeting a guy he really looks up to, part of the reason why he’s in the music business, and he’s a complete wreck.
Q: Talk about working with Sean Combs? Hill: Now that’s interesting. We can talk about that.
Q: He’s been twittering. Hill: Has he really? He’s always on that thing. I don’t know. I’m not on Twitter. I don’t go on it or anything like that, so I don’t know much about it but he’s always on his phone like, “Hey, 100,000 people just read this message that I wrote.” I’m like, “Cool. I’m playing Wii in my trailer. I don’t know.”
Q: He says you guys are locked in. Hill: Yeah, he’s f*ckin’ great, man. You’ve got to get him to be himself. That’s sort of the trick that I’m learning through this movie. A lot of people that go through really classical acting training don’t understand our type of movie because it’s so improvisational and loose. If you just prepare to say your lines exactly how they were written, it’s going to throw you off because I’m immediately going to say something that’s not in the script and you’re going to have to react completely differently than what you planned on doing. So I think Sean, I kind of have to ask him questions and then when he’s angry at me, I’ve kind of got to really make him angry at me is the idea. So he’s supposed to be angry at me. I’ll do something to really piss him off while we’re shooting, and then he’ll start yelling at me for real. He’ll start screaming at me.
Q: What does it take to make Sean Combs angry? Hill: I just interrupt him a lot and sort of ask him questions that have nothing to do with what he’s talking about. This is while we’re filming. Then I’ll ask him questions as my character to his character. He finally just gets frustrated and starts yelling at me and it’s really funny. That’s what we end up using in all the cuts and stuff, put it together.
Q: Does he know you’re doing this on purpose? Hill: I think now he’s starting to pick up on my methods. I do it a lot though. I plan on being a director and when I do that, I think you really have to f*ck with people. You have to make them feel what you’re trying to make them feel. If you’re trying to make someone happy, you gotta try and make them happy. If you’re trying to have a normal conversation, you’ve got to have a normal conversation. If you’re trying to make them sad, you’ve got to make them sad. I think that’s how you get real performances out of people.
Q: Torturing them? Hill: Absolutely. Stanley Kubrick made Shelly Duvall go crazy during “The Shining.” It’s like one of the best performances ever. Maybe he shouldn’t have gone that far, but I love that movie.
Q: You guys are good at getting to the reality and heart of things. How does that continue? Hill: Well, it’s weird because usually our movies have a lot to do with like minded people. Usually it’s me and Seth [Rogen] or Michael Cera or Segel or whoever, and it’s a lot of people who are pretty similar in the way they think. This is kind of the biggest movie we’ve made where it’s a guy around people, none of whom think similarly to him. Sean’s character and my character are like aliens to each other and Russell’s character to my character are like aliens to each other. I don’t understand these people’s minds. My character doesn’t understand how a rock star thinks because this guy lives in a one room apartment with his girlfriend. He’s not out at a nightclub every night.
Q: Is that not your real life? Hill: No. Besides the fact that I make movies, there’s nothing interesting about my life at all, unfortunately.
Q: Have you had any Hollywood experiences with crazy people? Hill: With Sean. He’s taken me out a few times, he’s forced me, he’s kidnapped me into going out to nightclubs and sh*t with him. It’s interesting.
Q: What do you do, sit there and watch him be Puff Daddy? Hill: You call him Sean. That’s the funniest thing is I’ll go with my friends and be like how’s work? “Oh, I did this scene with Sean.” They’re like, “You sound like an idiot referencing as Sean. He’s f*ckin’ Puff Daddy or P.” It’s like you sound pretentious immediately going, “Sean was really cool, he’s really mellow” but when you sit and talk to him, he’s totally smart and locked in to what you’re saying.
Q: Does it give you a lot of liberty ad-libbing and working with other people on set? Hill: I don’t hold anything back ever. I’d say you shoot whatever and then they’ll use what’s good. I don’t really hold back as far as ad-libbing. I always just go as far off page and explore every corner so that when they’re editing, let’s say something doesn’t work. You have 10 other options to draw from.
Q: What’s a typical amount of takes? Hill: Sometimes we shoot a scene all day.
Q: Do you still have to do clean takes? Hill: Yes, for TV.
Q: Did you talk to any music assistants? Hill: Yeah, my dad and brother do this. My dad’s an accountant for musicians and my brother manages bands.
Q: What have you been saying no to since “Superbad”? Hill: I mean, nothing I’d like to mention. Just things that didn’t feel right, didn’t feel like the next step. This feels like a really natural next step. “Funny People” is a supporting part but I love the movie and I love my performance in it. I’m prouder of that than anything I’ve ever done. This feels like the next evolution to be the lead of a movie. It’s not only on me. I’m playing an adult. I have a girlfriend in the movie, I have a job. It just seems like the next step. I didn’t want to be like The Jonah Hill Movie, Jonah Hill is, like, Boner Party or whatever. You just want to do things naturally and don’t do too much so people don’t get sick of you. My next job after “Superbad” was producing the “Bruno” movie. I just want to try and do as many different things as I possibly can.
Q: Writing too. Hill: Yeah, I spend most of my [time], I do a lot more writing even than acting professionally. The next movie I’m shooting, I wrote and it’s me and Jason Schwartzman and Jason Segel called “The Adventurer’s Handbook” for Universal.
Q: You said you want to direct too. Hill: Yeah, I wrote a movie that I’m going to direct after that. It’s smaller. It’s more like contained. Again, with something like that, you don’t want to go too big and then if it’s not great… it’s a really small independent.
Q: Last question. Hill: I’m not in a hurry if you guys have more. I don’t want to sound like I want to keep talking, but if you have more questions, I’m not like in a hurry. Thank you though, for trying to rescue me, but I’m okay. (talking to the publicists) I want you guys to not write that I was sweating so I’ll answer any additional questions. I don’t know why I’m so hot. I apologize, it’s very unbecoming. I run hot.
Q: How much input did you have on “Bruno”? Hill: I was one of the producers so I would give my input and the director and Sacha would take whatever we had to say. I got a lot of good stuff in there though. It was exciting.
Q: How did you get that gig? Hill: It was really cool. I was really lucky. Basically, Sacha loved “Superbad” and we became friendly because he loved the movie so much. Then when I finished the “Superbad” press tour overseas, it was like my life had completely changed and I was kind of freaking out a little bit because I was nervous. I just wasn’t used to people recognizing. There was never any pressure to my career so I just took any movie that came my way, because I wasn’t getting hired and stuff. Then I just was scared to take another movie as an actor and I’d been writing before I was acting, so I just auditioned. He needed another writer so I went in and said, “Hey, can I come in and write some jokes?” He was like, “Yeah, read the script, tell me what you like and dislike and write some jokes.” So I wrote like 100 jokes and told him what I liked and didn’t like about his script. Then he said, “Yeah, come back tomorrow.” Then I came back then and he said, “Come back tomorrow.” I did that for a week. He’s like, “We’ll pay you for the next two weeks.” Then after that three weeks, he was like, “You’re hired, you have the job.” I was like cool, because he’s one of my heroes. I would sit around in college and watch “Da Ali G Show” with my friends and I was like, “This is like a dream.”
Q: Have you learned a lot from Nick [Stoller] as far as directing? Hill: Yeah. I learn a lot from every director that I work with. I sit on set and watch them, everyone. Especially Judd [Apatow] and Sasha are very, very open. Also, Nic and [Greg] Mottola. They’re all very, very open to their process because most people don’t ask. Most people go back to their trailer, but I literally sit there and go, “What are you doing now? What’s that guy’s job? What does he do? What are you doing now? What lens is that? What lighting setup are you doing here?” I have this great school in front of me and it’d be stupid to just go back and sit around and not take it all in.
Q: What’s “Adventurer’s Handbook” going to be? Hill: It’s cool. It’s really exciting. This is the first movie that I think I have real writing credit on that’s getting made into a movie. It’s me and [Jason] Segel and [Jason] Schwartzman basically in “Indiana Jones” and “Goonies.” Our points of views are very grounded but it’s basically like an ’80s adventure movie. We basically go on this adventure together and immediately get chased by drug dealers around the world.
Q: Is it PG-13 or R? Hill: Oh, it’s R-rated.
Q: Are you guys looking for something? Is that why they chase you? Hill: We basically find this handbook that we think is very special that has a map to this sacred island on it. We’re going to find the island because we’re all bored with our lives and then mayhem ensues. I lose my passport and we immediately get chased by these people who are after something else.
Q: Who’s directing that? Hill: Akiva Schaffer is directing it. I don’t know if you saw the digital shorts.
Q: When are you going to be filming this? Hill: Hopefully spring of next year we’re gonna start because of Schwartzman and Segel’s shows. We have to go during their hiatus.
Q: It seems like in the last six or seven years the comedy has gotten smarter. Hill: Cool. I think so, too, but it’d be a little weird if I said that. “Since I started making comedies it’s really changed the way that the world views”… no.
Q: But I mean Judd is influenced by Albert Brooks. Hill: Albert Brooks is definitely one of my biggest influences, for sure.
Q: You can feel that in these movies that would typically be like a sex comedy. Has that sprung from Apatow or what are your thoughts about this renaissance in comedy? Hill: I think that has a lot to do with Judd’s movies being successful. That allows the studios to give people more freedom to make a subversive $20 million movie because usually their movies cost $80 million. So there’s not as much risk involved with it. I think that Judd’s movies have turned a lot of profit and so that helps everybody. I mean when “The Hangover” came out, it was an R-rated comedy and when that did well–I haven’t seen the film yet–I jumped for joy because it means that my business is doing well which means that’ll help me make “The Adventurer’s Handbook” for a little more money. Let’s say that I want to hire some subversive young independent actor for the fourth part with me Segel and Schwartzman, that allows me to do that because R-rated comedies not made for a lot of money are still doing well, at least for a little bit. So I think audiences embracing them allows for a great time. I wouldn’t compare and I wouldn’t say anything on this subject because I’ve been in some of these movies. So any answer I give you sounds completely pretentious and stupid, but my favorite time period for film was the ’70s with all the [Martin] Scorsese movies. “King of Comedy” is like one of my favorite movies and “Lost in America.” I really love that, too. But those movies were really subversive and the audience went to go see them and that’s why they were allowed to be made. So I think as long as the audiences are open for it the movies will keep getting made. If the audiences all of a sudden decide that they don’t want to see these kinds of movies anymore they’ll stop being made because some rich people are getting money from it and so they’re allowing us to make them, thank the Lord, at least for right now.
Q: In the ’70s audiences were more cynical and embraced these films. Do you think it’s a generational thing? Hill: I don’t know. It’s very philosophical. I think it has a lot to do with what’s going on in the country. I think that comedies seem to pretty much, at least right now comedies are doing well because I think people want to laugh and not think about everything for a little bit.
Q: What’s really made you laugh recently? Hill: “Observe and Report.” I thought that was the best movie this year so far. I loved “Up.” I saw that twice and thought that was really moving and really great.
Q: Did you cry? Hill: I did cry. I totally did. I thought that it was extremely touching and hilarious. I would say that you kind of have no heart if you didn’t like that movie. If you’re the biggest cynical *sshole or the most intelligent or idiotic person, how could you not be interested in that story. It was so moving. Those Pixar movies are incredible.
Q: Has there been anymore talk about the “Superbad”/”Pineapple Express” sequel? Hill: I wish. I would never want to do a “Superbad II” but the only way that I thought it was ever interesting was if it was going to be like a crossover movie. I think that Seth [Rogen] and Evan [Goldberg] are pretty special about the movies that they do. I think they’re really care about them. I know that Michael [Cera] and I, when we talk about “Superbad” we very fondly discuss the work that we did and the way that the movie turned out. If it wasn’t as good which it probably wouldn’t be I wouldn’t want to f*ck with the good work that we did. It was such a great experience from the second we started rehearsing the writing until the movie came out. It was just a great experience with all of our friends. So you don’t want to make something that could possibly sh*t on something that you’re very proud of. Try and do something new also. I hope that the things that I do are different.
Q: Is “Adventurer’s Handbook” kind of your action fix like “Pineapple” was for Seth? Hill: I think it’s my adventure fix. I grew up loving adventure movies like “Goonies” and “Romancing the Stone” and “City Slickers.” They were just so fun to me. I love “City Slickers.” I think it’s a really great movie and this movie, we were watching an “Indiana Jones” movie when we heard they were making “Indy 4” and my friend, one of the guys that I write with I write with these two guys, Max Winkler and Matt Spicer Spicer found this “Adventurer’s Handbook” at Barnes & Noble and he was just reading it one day and it says, “What happens if you get swallowed by an anaconda, you cut your way out.” We were sort of laughing at all the things.
Q: So it was a pocketbook, like how to survive, that kind of thing? Hill: Yeah, this book and we started watching “Indiana Jones” and these movies are so funny because Harrison Ford, they never act like anything that’s happening is crazy. If this was happening to me, like if a f*cking giant ball was running after me I’d be like, “That’s weird and f*cked up. That’s crazy. That’s insane.” So we just pictured me and Segel, who we wrote that part for, and Schwartzman, three of the four guys we wrote for those two guys and myself and were started talking about who we went to high school with and character traits and friends of ours. We were like, “What if we made this movie about four guys who wanted to go just discover themselves, who are somewhat looking for something in their lives and they find this book and the book causes them to go find this island just to connect with each other and fulfill some quarter life crisis that they’re going through before they get married and have to deal with how f*cking mundane life is?” In those movies everything kind of seems to go right. Something terrible happens and then something great happens. So our idea for this was what if every time that something fortunate happens something f*cking thirty times worse happens immediately after? So that was our idea, to never let these guys have a victory, basically. It’s truly a fun ride. It’s like a really cool, grounded adventure movie if that exists.
Q: It took three years? Hill: Yes, and we sold it and it was great and now we’re almost done. Working Title is producing it with myself and Max and Matt. Akiva is directing. We start in March or April, hopefully.
Q: Is the tone that you guys wrote, will it be a straight forward film or will you have those moments of craziness? Hill: There’s nothing like any spaceship landing in the movie. I’m not referencing “Indiana Jones.” That was like an accidental reference. It’s not going to be as surreal as Akiva’s stuff is with the digital shorts. We want to make a grounded version. We want the action to feel almost like “Children of Men” where it’s like, “Holy sh*t, these guys are going to die.” You never feel like those people are going to die in those movies. We’re like, “Whoa, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Jason Schwartzman are going to pass away from this gun battle,” and it’s like they’re sh*tting their pants because they’re so scared and have no idea what to do because they’ve never held a gun before. David O. Russell is one of my favorite directors and the first director that I ever worked with. “Three Kings,” I think the action in that movie is so funny and real. It felt like real guys in action but it was scary and sometimes hilarious. That movie is great. I think that if you watch the way that Akiva shoots stuff, there is such a thick awkwardness to people talking to each other and I felt like him dealing with us talking to people who don’t speak the same language, also a lot of comedy directors don’t have a really strong visual style and I think that Akiva is really great with comedic material. When I watch a lot of those shorts I think he’s really strong visually which I think is a really great aspect to comedy that I think Nic was trying to do by hiring Bobby Yeoman on “Get Him to the Greek” and Judd is doing hiring Janusz Kaminski on “Funny People.” I think that’s something that’s going to take comedy even higher. When Tim Orr shoots “Pineapple Express” or “Observe and Report” it’s like, “Whoa,this actually looks like pretty f*cking awesome and it’s really funny.” That’s my opinion.
Q: Do you spend a lot of time with those guys, those cinematographers, figuring out how they do that? Hill: If Brad Pitt walked in here I wouldn’t look twice. If Gordon Willis walked in here I would sh*t my pants. Like, Bob, I sit and ask him “Rushmore” questions and “Bottle Rocket” questions to the point where he has to ask me to leave him alone. I’ll sit there and go, “So, the curtain shot in ‘Rushmore’ or in ‘Darjeeling,’ the final shot, how do you get the camera out of the train and how does that work?” He goes, “We swung a rope and I ducked under it.” To me I just get off on that stuff. I find that stuff to be incredibly fascinating. Sorry. I get super into this stuff.
Q: We saw Judd out there. What’s it like knowing that he’s out there watching over you? Hill: It’s not weird. I’ve done it like five other times. We were just in my trailer, bullsh*tting and talking. I don’t get nervous around him or anything like that. I’ve known him since I was a young man.
Q: Is it easy for you to adjust to night shoots like this? Hill: Sometimes. I actually don’t mind night shoots so much because I have the day free which is kind of awesome. It’s kind of nice to be out in the sun. I have a Vespa and I ride that around and just bullsh*t.
Q: You work from ten to eight. Do you use the day or do you just crash? Hill: I try and make myself wake up by at least 2:00pm or something so that I can do something. It’s kind of a waste, especially when you’re in L.A. because it’s beautiful.
Q: What do you like to go do? Hill: I like to see movies which doesn’t really utilize the sunlight a whole bunch. I have a Vespa. I like to ride that around. I have a bicycle that I like to ride around. I really like aquariums and so I go to the aquariums a lot. I tried to go to the zoo a couple of weeks ago but the line was too long. I just left. I like Venice a lot. I used to live around there. I like to walk places because it’s nice outside.
Q: How dark does this movie get? Like “Almost Famous” which is about rock is sweet doesn’t get as dark as I want it to get. Hill: I like “Almost Famous” a lot.
Q: So how far does this film go? Hill: I think we’re to a point where you’re like, “Oh my God.” But I mean the guy is a drug addict and that’s sad. He’s obviously using something to cover up thinking about things from his actual life. Any time that happens to me I think that’s a real dark thing to come from. I think it’s less sad than someone who’s like, “I’m a sad guy,” than someone who’s like, “My life is f*cking awesome,” but you can tell that they’re really sad. I think like Danny McBride who’s a good friend of mine, their humor comes a lot from that, I think. It’s like, “I’m totally together. I’m the sh*t,” but deep down they’re just an emotional wreck. To me it’s better to be like, “I’m pissed about this,” or “I’m sad about this,” than to be like, “Everything is fine.” It seems like so Stepford Wifey to be like, “Everything is normal. There’s nothing wrong with my life. I’m perfect.” But then inside you’re just freaking out. I think that rock stars and a lot of time movie stars, that’s a lot what “Funny People” is about; how famous people or how people look at a movie star or a rock star and they go, “Oh, man, they have no problems. They have money. They’re famous,” but it’s like, “These people are and these people are, too, and they f*cking hate themselves and are desperate to maintain some form of people telling them that they’re special and narcissistic.” There are no real friendships or love in their life and that’s f*cking sadder than someone with no money working a normal job.
Q: What keeps you grounded? Hill: I have a wonderful family that lives in town and my brother and my best friends are my best friends from high school and college. I just don’t do stupid things. If I date a girl I generally knew her from way before I was doing any of this or I’ve been friends with her for a long time before we started dating. I made that mistake a lot where I would meet someone and immediately be like, “Hey, I like you a lot,” and now I just realize that I have to spend a long time being friends with somebody or know them for a long time. Everyone in my life I’ve known long before anyone wanted me to be in a movie. Thanks for saying I’m grounded. I appreciate that. I try.
Q: Judd said that this is the most ambitious of the films since you’re shooting in New York, Vegas, London and here. Hill: Yeah. I’ve never done this before.
Q: How much of the film takes place in these cities and are you looking forward to one of the cities more than the others? Hill: I’m definitely looking forward to shooting in New York City the most. It’s always been a dream of mine to shoot in New York City because I went to college there at New School University and it just seems crazy to shut down a whole street to shoot your movie. Even in Las Vegas, it still never hits me that… it was easier on “Funny People” because Adam Sandler was the star of the movie and I was just the character in the movie and it was like, “This is all for him.” But then it’s weird that on this movie, it’s like, “Whoa. I’m the star of this movie. That’s crazy.” There’s no Adam Sandler here. This street is shut down because I’m making a movie here. There’s a scene where I’m driving my car by myself and the whole street is locked off and it’s like, “This is just here for me to drive this car down a street.” In New York I think that will blow my mind because there are so many pedestrians and people that I’ll probably know from just walking down the street. I go there a lot. I also just love movies about New York, like most of Woody Allen’s movies are about New York. It just seems so cool to be shooting a movie in New York City, so romantic.
Q: How much of the movie takes place in each place though? Is it an equal share of the movie? Hill: I’d say so. I’d say it’s pretty equal. I think that’s why the movie feels so high energy, because you’re traveling constantly. You spend fifteen to twenty minutes in each place and then you’re in a whole new city. It’s cool to see what these guys would be like in Las Vegas or what these guys would be like in New York or in London. To me that’s cool and I think that a lot of movies don’t do that because, frankly, it’s a pain in the ass to travel so much. It’s beneficial for me because I get to see all these cool places.
Q: Are you taking him to these places? Hill: He’s detouring, basically. We’re just supposed to fly from London to L.A. and Aldous makes some detours that I’m not happy with.
Q: Why do you go to Vegas? Hill: Because he wants to go to Las Vegas. He wants to visit his dad and look for more debauchery. I’m just desperate the whole time to get him to Los Angeles.
Q: Where does most of the debauchery take place, in Vegas? Hill: Everywhere. Honestly, I’d like to say Vegas, it seems appropriate to say Vegas but everywhere. Part of the struggle of the movie is that my character has this really serious girlfriend who’s a doctor and works weird hours and we’re kind of fighting and we kind of split up before I go on the trip. I’m like, “This is what I wanted, to be single and partying with a rock star and girls are paying attention to me.” I hook up with girls throughout the movie that Aldous hooks me up with. It’s like, “This is what I wanted,” and then you realize, you do that, and this is very much what I’ve found in my life when I’ve tried to be cool and do that, I immediately find out meaningless it is and how vacant it seems because you’re like, “Whoa. I have an actual connection with somebody that I’m giving up to talk to these people who I’m meeting at a nightclub for two hours.” You don’t seem impressed by that.
Q: I think it’s sweet. Hill: It’s true. Anyone who’s going to have sex with you at a nightclub that’s known you for two hours, you probably don’t have a deep connection with that person or have a lot to talk about. That’s been my experience.
Q: Is this going to be about two hours? Hill: No. I think this one will be a little shorter. It should be.
Q: Intentionally so? Hill: No. I think it’s just really high energy and doesn’t seem to slow down. I watch all the cuts and the dailies. It’s a very high energy film and so it’s not really about taking a breath. You kind of want to be, like, “Yeaaaahhhhh!! OK. See you guys.” You want it to be like, “Lets have the greatest time ever! Oh, it’s sad. They connected. See you guys. Big crazy ending. Bye.”
Q: Can you talk about some of the cameos… Hill: I was going to make a joke and say some really old uninteresting ones.
Q: How far back would you go? Hill: I don’t know. Here’s how jokes always form in my head. I think of the initial references which is the easy one and then I spend an extra three seconds thinking of the most obscure thing I can think of. So that’s my process.
Q: Have you shot any extra stuff for the DVD on this? Hill: Yeah, we’re shooting stuff. We had this idea for the DVD where Russell [Brand] and Puff Daddy switch entourages and also how I’m the only person who doesn’t have an entourage in this movie.
Q: And in real life? Hill: Yeah. I’ve never met anyone with an entourage before, but then I realize I do but they’re just like dudes who are exactly like me. None of them are really cool. Russell’s entourage is all dudes that kind of look like him and are cool rock star looking dudes. Puff Daddy’s are all dudes that are kind of like hip-hop guys that dress cool like him. My guys are kind of like my friends from high school which I guess you would consider my entourage because they hang out a lot and the guys that I write with are on set because we’re rewriting “Adventurer’s” and so I guess I do but they’re not really cool. It’s not like that show or anything like that. We don’t do anything fun.
Q: Has Russell changed at all since “Sarah Marshall”? Hill: No, because Russell was super famous in England already. I’ve said this in an interview. Someone asked me about it for a magazine that he was in. I said, “Russell acts famous in the best way possible where you don’t hate him at all.” If I acted like a famous guy you would hate me because it’d be so weird. He doesn’t act famous like a douche. He acts famous like he knows that people are looking at him but he’s saying hello to everybody. He’s like old school famous people. Normal people, when they get famous in acting it’s really like off putting in my mind, at least. I get very judgmental of that, but with him he is this grandiose figure and you wouldn’t want him to be anything else. That’s his thing. Either you do that or not. I almost find it a hard time because I’m technically the lead of this movie and for me it’s not in my nature to go around, like, “What’s up, guys?” But I have to do that to set the tone. It’s weird. I’m not used to that and you’re supposed to do that as the lead actor of a movie. You’re supposed to be the guy who’s going up to everybody and making sure that everyone is in a good mood but I’m kind of the guy who sits down and hangs out. I’m not really good at that yet. I’m trying to force myself to be like, “What’s up, everybody,” and I don’t know how. I’ve had times where people look to the lead actor, and I’ve never really noticed it before, but they really look to me to set the tone of what the environment is like at work. I’m just sitting around bullsh*tting with Nick or Judd or something but it’s really my responsibility to kind of go and have conversations with everybody and make people laugh and stuff. I’m trying to settle into it and I hope that I get better at it.
Q: It’s kind of like you’re the host of a party? Hill: It really is. It feels that way, which I’m terrible at. Don’t come to one of my parties, ever. I always throw parties and then every time I’m like, “Why the f*ck did I do this? I have to talk to everybody.” At other people’s parties you can just kind of hang out and get drunk and relax. I’m making sure that no one is touching my sh*t. It’s like that everyday now. Usually, like on “Funny People,” I’m the fifth lead or something. I’m like, “Let Sandler do all that stuff and Seth and I will just bullsh*t with each other.”
Q: Is there talk between you and Michael Cera working together again that’s not “Superbad”? Hill: Yeah. We’re figuring it out. I imagine that we’ll work together again at some point. I just think we will.
Q: In the future, would you imagine that it’s… Hill: We’re remaking “Back to the Future II.” I didn’t want to say.
Q: Don’t pretend that you have Crispin Glover in it. Hill: We won’t. We’ll hang him upside, it’s true.
Q: But you even liked that part, didn’t you? Hill: I loved it. I love when he comes in from outside and he goes, “Hey, Grandpa.” I love him as the f*cking daughter. It’s crazy. What? I love that sh*t. Flea with that super racist version of an Asian dude’s boss, where he’s like, “McFly!” I was offended as a white Jewish man at that part let alone how Asian people must’ve felt during that, this crazy racist thing in the middle of the movie.
Q: What did you think of part three? Hill: I personally did not get emotionally invested in part three. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t like to say mean things about people’s hard work, especially people that have been given me so many millions of hours of joy. They shot them consecutively because I remember at the end of two in the theater there was the trailer for three.
Q: So that might’ve compromised the integrity of the “Back to the Future” trilogy? Hill: I’m just saying when you create something you’re free to explore it however you want to do it. So, for me as a fan I love the first two. They’re two of my favorite movies. For some people, three might be their favorite of the three. You never know. If you want to talk about any movie I could go for like ten hours. I just like this interview and I didn’t want it to end. I like when you can have a conversation with people and it’s not just stock questions. I’ve probably answered all your stock questions, hopefully.
Q: We’ve done a lot of set visits and you really stepped up to the plate today. Hill: Oh, cool. You guys are awesome but part of me just doesn’t like huge crowds and doesn’t want to have to go out there and talk to a lot of people. It’s a lot more fun down here than five thousand people out there. That’s the worst part of my personality. I don’t mind going up on stage in front of five thousand people. I just don’t want to have to actually talk to anybody. I wasn’t nervous at all hosting “Saturday Night Live” but if I was in the audience at “Saturday Night Live” I’d be super bummed out because I’d have to talk to the people next to me. I’d be nervous and scared that I’d make an idiot out of myself and say something stupid.