These days, Jonah Hill movies are some of the top-grossing releases when it comes to the worldwide box-office. This is quite a feat considering the actor’s humble roots. Hill went from writing and performing his own plays in New York’s East Village to getting included in Forbes’ list of the industry’s highest-paid actors. How did he manage all of that? To better understand his journey to success, let’s start at the beginning of Hill’s colorful career.
Jonah Hill Movies – Early Beginnings in Comedy
What was life like for Jonah Hill before he got to work with some of the most beautiful women in the world?
Hill was born and raised in Los Angeles, and even as a child, he had already been exposed to the glitz and glam of Hollywood. His father, Richard Feldstein, worked as Guns N’Roses’ tour accountant, while his mother Sharon Lyn worked as a costume designer and celebrity stylist. Given the creative environment he grew up in, one might mistakenly assume that he would have dreamt of becoming an actor or a musician, but this is quite far from what Hill initially had in mind.
As a young boy, Hill wanted to become a writer and join the team behind Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. How did Jonah Hill get into movies? After finishing college preparatory school in Santa Monica, he eventually moved to New York where he enrolled at The New School. This marked the beginning of him studying drama, as well as writing and performing in his own plays. After some years of doing this, he managed to gain a small following. It was then that he realized his real passion: acting.
Some might say that he had an easy entry into the industry considering his family’s wealth and connections. After all, we got our first look at Jonah Hill movies through the help of Rebecca and Jake Hoffman, veteran actor Dustin Hoffman’s children. After they were introduced, the Hoffman patriarch asked Hill to audition for the film I Heart Huckabees, and got the part for himself. He managed that through his own talent, of course.
Jonah Hill Movies Directed by Judd Apatow
Following his film debut, Jonah Hill also got the chance to make a small appearance in the Judd Apatow-directed flick, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It gave us some of the most memorable movie quotes and went on to become a blockbuster hit and opened the door to more collaborations between the actor and director. In 2006, the two got to work together in the comedy Grandma’s Boy, where Hill portrayed the role of a virgin video game tester.
This wouldn’t be the last time they’d be working together, however. In Knocked Up, he had a small but memorable supporting role. Some fans of the movie might even argue that Hill really shined in the film. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Apatow finally gave the actor a chance to really show off what he can do in the film Superbad.
In 2009, he starred in Apatow’s third directorial feature Funny People. The film also starred Eric Bana, Adam Sandler, and Seth Rogen. Did you know that he also managed to fulfill a childhood dream of his? He may not have become a writer for the show, but Hill did guest-star in the “Pranks and Greens” episode of The Simpsons!
Jonah Hill Movies – His Versatility Is No Joke
Jonah Hill has some of the best movies on Netflix, thanks to the diversity of the roles he chooses. Did you know that he passed on a lead role in The Hangover so he can do more independent films? It might have been quite a risk, but it did give him the opportunity to work with directors Mark and Jay Duplass in the 2010 movie, Cyrus.
From there on out, Jonah Hill movies became quite diverse. In 2011, we saw him alongside actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Brad Pitt in Moneyball. This was quite a departure from his earlier work, but the change was well worth it. Not only was the film critically-acclaimed, Hill also scored a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.
It’s safe to say that Hill has been making all the right moves when it comes to progressing his career. However, he isn’t the type to turn his back on his roots. This is, perhaps, why he returned to comedy in the film 21 Jump Street. Starring alongside Channing Tatum, they both received favorable reviews and the film garnered an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes! While the film is a satire of 80s movies and the usual teen movie stereotypes, critics saw the wit and thoughtfulness in it.
Foray Into More Serious and Darker Roles
His next role surprised quite a number of people, even long-time fans. Back in 2011, it was announced that he was set to star in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. There was a period of uncertainty as schedules overlapped with his other film at the time, but it eventually worked out for the actor. In 2012, he got to join the movie’s cast, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, and was invited to become part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the same year.
Jonah Hill movies are at their best whenever he works with Seth Rogen. The two collaborated again in the 2013 film This Is the End, which was followed by his role in The Wolf of Wall Street. In between working on all of these serious films, Hill was also able to do a bit of voice-acting work for The Lego Movie. True to his versatile nature, he followed this up with the mystery thriller True Story, which also starred James Franco. This wouldn’t be the last time he’d take on a darker storyline as Hill did star alongside Emma Stone in Netflix’s dark-comedy mini-series Maniac.
As you might have noticed, Hill often works with the same cast and crew. Just take his collaborations with filmmaker Gus Van Sant. He appeared in Van Sant’s film Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot along with actors Jack Black, Rooney Mara, and Joaquin Phoenix. Later on, Van Sant was featured in the music video Hill directed for Danny Brown’s 2017 track “Ain’t It Funny.” Doesn’t it make you wish he’d work with the Coen Brothers and Martin Scorsese more as well?
Jonah Hill Movies and TV Shows
There’s a pretty long list when it comes to the actor’s most notable films, but on this list we’ll look at some of the roles that helped propel his career forward.
Sausage Party, 2016
Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, this animated comedy film with adult themes took over eight years before it went into production. This is because many studios thought it was risky. Nonetheless, once it was finally released, the film became the highest-grossing R-rated animated film in history. This record was only recently surpassed by Demon Slayer Movie: Mugen Train. While it may not be the Oscar-worthy project many actors dream of, it certainly set itself apart and gave Hill a chance to try out a completely different genre.
21 Jump Street, 2012
This one is a classic when it comes to funny Jonah Hill movies. In this comedy-action flick, he stars alongside Channing Tatum as a pair of police officers who are assigned to go undercover as high school students. They are essentially forced to go through the “traumatic” experience all over again, but now have a chance to redeem themselves in the process. The movie opened to positive reviews and great box office numbers, even spawning a sequel. This is a pretty remarkable achievement for Hill, not just as an actor, but also as a screenwriter.
22 Jump Street, 2014
Following the success of the first movie, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprised their roles in 22 Jump Street. The film follows a similar premise as 21 Jump Street, but this time the pair go undercover at a college. It should come as no surprise that this sequel ended up just as successful as the first one. The chemistry between the actors is undeniable, but we also have to give credit to the film’s smart storytelling. Some critics even described it as one of the best comedy sequels of all time. This is another score for Hill as a writer!
It’s safe to say that this coming-of-age comedy from Jude Apatow and Greg Mottola helped launch Jonah Hill’s career along with the rest of the Superbad cast. Aside from being one of the first Jonah Hill movies, which he had a starring role in, the movie also made bank. The most notable thing, of course, is the fact that it was received well by critics. Many of them noted the chemistry between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, which carried the film to success.
Django Unchained, 2012
Jonah Hill’s role in this Quentin Tarantino film might be an “unnamed” one, but his participation in Django Unchained was something the actor really wanted. According to Hill, he saw the role as the “perfect next step” for his career. This proved to be true, considering it helped people see his versatility and the fact that he can work in serious roles as well.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot
In this 2018 Gus Van Sant comedy-drama, Jonah Hill starred as Donnie Green. While he may not have landed the lead role, the chemistry between him and Joaquin Phoenix certainly made the film even more enjoyable to watch. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Hill reveals that he thinks this is his best performance to date. However, Amazon messed up when it came to releasing the film, so very few people saw it.
War Dogs, 2016
War Dogs is one of Jonah Hill’s first forays into dark comedy and is directed by Todd Philips. Unlike other similar films, War Dogs is heavily dramatized, which falls well-within Hill’s area of expertise. While it is one of his lower-grossing movies, it should be noted that the actor received his first Golden Globe nomination for his role in this film. This is quite a lucky turn of events, considering Jonah Hill and Miles Teller weren’t the original actors attached to star in it!
True Story, 2015
Continuing the theme of dark storylines, True Story is a film based upon a memoir of the same name. In it, Jonah Hill stars as the book’s author, Michael Finkel. It is one of his more dramatic roles to date, proving just how talented the actor really is. However, despite the great dynamic between its stars Hill and James Franco, the film received a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for the best Jonah Hill movies, give this one a try.
Hail, Caesar!, 2016
In this Coen Brothers period film, Jonah Hill portrayed Joseph Silverman who is a surety agent working for the fictional production company, Capitol Pictures. The satirical mystery film is a co-production between Japanese, British, and American studios. It also starred George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, and Josh Brolin, among other big-named Hollywood stars. The film was a great success, critically and financially. It even went on to receive multiple Oscar nominations during the 89th Academy Awards.
The Lego Movie, 2014
In this animated adventure-comedy, Jonah Hill lent his voice to the Green Lantern. The film also starred actors Morgan Freeman, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Liam Neeson, among others. Produced by the Warner Animation Group, the film was both a financial and critical success, managing to gross over $450 million globally. While this isn’t the first time Hill has participated in an animated film, this is certainly the most successful one that he has been part of. Note that his character, the Green Lantern, also made an appearance in The Lego Batman Movie.
Jonah Hill worked alongside Emma Stone for this Netflix miniseries, which follows their characters after they meet during a pharmaceutical trial. It continues his dark-comedy streak and also mirrors the success of his other previous projects. While it was Emma Stone who got most of the accolades for her performance, it still is a success for Hill considering he is among the show’s executive producers. Check this series out, among other Jonah Hill movies on Netflix.
Funny People, 2009
Another classic when it comes to the best Jonah Hill movies, this 2009 is a collaboration with director Judd Apatow. Funny People is a black comedy-drama, which also starred the likes of Adam Sander, Jason Schwartzman, and Seth Rogen. The film is loosely based on Apatow’s own experience, back when he was still a struggling performer. One notable thing about Hill’s performance for this film is the fact that he was able to write his own material for the comedy routines, which the actors performed in front of a live audience. Needless to say, what you saw in the movie were genuine audience reactions! So while the actor received a bit of criticism for his routine, it did give him his first taste of stand-up comedy.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008
This is one of those Jonah Hill movies that feature the actor in a small role, but he still managed to leave a lasting impression. He starred as Matthew Van Der Wyk, who audiences will remember as one of the waiters at Turtle Bay and is also an obsessed fan of Russell Brand’s character, Aldous Snow. Hill was equal parts hilarious and charming in the role, so it’s no surprise that many still associate him with the character.
Knocked Up, 2007
This 2007 film is one of the funniest Jonah Hill movies. It is also among the many collaborations Hill and Jude Apatow have had over the years. The film follows the characters of Rogen and Katherine Heigl, following the consequences of a one-night stand between them. Steve Carrell also makes a cameo appearance, in a nod to his role in another Apatow production, The 40-year-old Virgin. Thanks to the hilarious storyline and obvious chemistry between the cast, the film opened to much success commercially and critically.
The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013
In this biographical black comedy film directed by the iconic Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill stars alongside Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Hill stars as Donnie Azoff, who is the business partner and friend of DiCaprio’s character. Upon release, it sparked quite a bit of controversy considering its explicit sexual content, depictions of drug use, and a record-setting number of times characters swore in the film. Nonetheless, it remains one of Scorsese’s highest-grossing films, and helped Hill land his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Many consider this a must-watch when it comes to Jonah Hill movies.
Why Jonah Hill Has Been Inactive in Films
After enjoying quite a prolific career for years, the sudden lack of Jonah Hill recent movies might seem sad to some. He did not quit Hollywood, however! The actor has merely taken a step back from acting following the conclusion of his Netflix series, Maniac. You’d be surprised to learn what Hill has been up to outside of starring in movies!
He’s Been Working Behind the Camera
We know how great Jonah Hill movies are. This time, let’s appreciate his work as a writer. After all, as a child, this was his first love and he is now getting to pursue it as well. We’ve seen how great he can be when producing material for movies, such as in both Jump Street films. But did you know that he has also written for the TV series Allen Gregory?
Movies with Jonah Hill are great, but what about one he wrote and directed himself? His debut film Mid90s is a coming-of-age comedy drama about Stevie and his journey toward finding brotherhood among a group of skateboarders. As a testament to his skill, the film was a critical success, ensuring more future work in the same field for Hill.
Aside from writing, he has also served as producer for other films, including the documentary Beastie Boys Story and the film Richard Jewell. He has also continued to direct music videos, with the most recent being Vampire Weekend’s 2019 release “Sunflower.”
Jonah Hill Weight Loss and Collaboration with Adidas
Jonah Hill weight loss news also made headlines after new photos of the actor surfaced online. Following this, he was approached by Adidas to collaborate on a product. Of course, Hill jumped at the chance even though the process was time consuming. It took two full years before the line became available to the public. What’s in store for Hill as a clothing designer? Well, we know that he’s looking to pursue launching his own brand! Needless to say, with so many other ventures on his plate, the Jonah Hill net worth won’t be dwindling anytime soon.
New Jonah Hill Movies
Following his split from Gianna Santos, it’s no secret that Jonah Hill has had quite a rough few years. There have been many changes to how he works as well. The actor now opts for smaller studios and is becoming pickier with the roles he chooses. Hill is looking to pursue more serious roles and is willing to pass up comedies in order to achieve that. The actor also wants to work with more female directors in the future.
What we do know is that he is working on his next project for Netflix. Don’t Look Up is written and directed by Adam McKay, and is set to star some of Hollywood’s heavyweights. Hill will once again be working with Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and Cate Blanchett.
Jonah Hill movies are definitely entertaining. They also provide us with great insight into his journey as an actor and as a creative. Keep that in mind when you watch his work and you’ll find yourself amazed at just how much talent he truly has.