Monday, June 16, 2014

DESPITE OSCAR NOMS, JONAH HILL WILL ALWAYS THRIVE IN COMEDY


Two-time Academy Award® nominee Jonah Hill possesses an acting prowess that has allowed him to exist at the forefront of Hollywood, in both the comedic and dramatic realms. Now, two back-to-back dramas (“Moneyball,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”) he gets to showcase his funny chops anew in Columbia Pictures' comedy “22 Jump Street” opposite Channing Tatum.

“22 Jump Street” is the highly awaited sequel to one of 2012's funniest comedies “21 Jump Street” directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, and featuring terrific chemistry between stars Hill and Tatum. The film took the classic television series’ premise of youthful-looking cops going undercover in a high school and made it all its own.

“My character, Schmidt, Channing's Jenko, are an odd couple,” says Hill. “They got together because they’re partners, but they really worked well together because they brought different things to the table.”

As a result, Schmidt and Jenko became an unforgettable screen couple. “They’re like Bogart and Bacall,” says Phil Lord, who returns to co-direct the film with Christopher Miller, who adds, “They had this amazing natural chemistry. They’re very different, but they really respect and admire each other. They make a great yin-yang pair.”

With the sequel, the filmmakers take the relationship to the next level. If the first film was about forming a relationship, the new film is about what it takes to make a relationship last. “The running gag is that the plot is just like the last one – but in trying to do the same thing again, it doesn’t work, and Schmidt and Jenko have to find something new.”


With that in mind, it also made sense to the filmmakers that “22 Jump Street” would be set in a college. “We got inspired by the idea that Jenko and Schmidt are each other’s ‘hometown honey’ – but they go to college, and the world is opened up to them,” says Lord. “They experience new things and start to wonder whether they’re with the right person or not. For those of us who went to college and had friends who went through that, it seemed honest and true.”

“College is about finding out who you are,” says Hill, who also produces the film. “For example, Schmidt has really defined himself by this partnership with Jenko. In college, he’s struggling to know who he is.”

Meanwhile, Hill and Tatum became very close while filming the first film, forging a strong friendship. “So much of the humor and heart comes from the fact that Channing and I have a really great friendship in real life,” says Hill. “Channing has no boundaries with me, and I feel the same way – I trust his opinion on things.”

“Jonah and Channing love each other,” says Lord. “They’re very different, but their instinct is not to compete with each other – they each admire what the other brings. I think that warmth is what makes it gel.”

Lord says that despite Hill’s screen persona, the actor shares an off-screen confidence with Tatum. “Jonah likes to play a lot of underdogs, but he’s a movie star,” he says. “He has so much confidence.”

Opening across the Philippines on June 18, “22 Jump Street” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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