'Guardian' Journalist Endeavors to Find Out if Jonah Hill's Reputation as a Douche Is Accurate

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrities Are Better than You | June 6, 2014 | Comments ()


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In an interview by The Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman — which took place before Jonah Hill lost his temper and used a homophobic slur against a paparazzo but was published after — asked the question: Is Jonah Hill as big a douche in person as his reputation suggested.

That reputation, actually, was news to me, although I suppose it’s not entirely surprising given the kind of characters he often plays. Still, the first I’d ever really heard about it was in this paragraph preceding Freeman’s interview:

But then I started to research him and instead of looking forward to meeting him, began to dread it. “He does this weird psycho staring thing at you,” warned a colleague who had interviewed Hill a few years ago. An infamously bad-tempered interview he gave to Rolling Stone last year, in which he came across as obnoxious and, most damningly of all, a fan of the word “prideful”, compounded this image of Hill as a pain. Even his friends seemed a bit unsure of him. Apatow once described him as “an angry nerd”. When one journalist asked Rogen for tips on how to interview Hill, Rogen replied: “He is serious, he is, which I’m not … I don’t know [how to approach him]. It’s a good question.” Was Hill actually kind of a douche?

So, I checked on that Rolling Stone article, and holy shit: He IS a douche. The interview, during the press tour with This is the End, clearly just wanted to have a good time with him, as they had with Seth Rogen and James Franco, who have a sense of humor. Jonah Hill clearly does not.

Just to break the ice, we ask about his day, what he did this morning, what a typical Jonah Hill morning would be. He says one thing he does is ride the elliptical. We wonder how long he rides it for. He says he doesn’t know, maybe about 30 minutes. We ask if he does pushups and stuff like that or what?

He stiffens and says, “My workout routine is of little relevance.”

Blithely, we continue. Does he have any survival skills that he’d bring to a crisis?

“I care a lot about people, especially the people I value in my life, so I’d be thoughtful and not just look out for myself.”

This is nice, but it isn’t exactly the kind of answer we’re looking for. Has he ever done anything that might be called heroic?

“I’ve definitely tried to make people’s lives better when they’re going through really hard times, and I think that’s the most accessible form of heroic behavior.”

This is not going to be easy. But, OK. Has he ever been in a fistfight?

“I fought a lot when I was younger. Some were good, some were bad. I don’t fight anymore, though. I’m an adult man,” he says, kind of laughing and sneering at the same time. “I use my words.”

In that same interview, they ask him about a joke that was in This is the End that he reportedly didn’t want to repeat twice in the film (‘God, I will suck your dick if you kill Jay.’) They ask Hill about it and he says, “I’m a religious guy, I do believe in God and I’m Jewish, and I just couldn’t imagine being happy with that later in life. I just didn’t want to say it.”

I bring this up because in The Guardian interview, Hill completely contradicts his own statement in RS, saying that he didn’t want to do the joke not because of religious reasons but because, “I just didn’t think it was funny!”

More from the RS interview, after he was asked what kind of “farter” he was:

“I’m not answering that dumb question! I’m not that kind of person! Being in a funny movie doesn’t make me have to answer dumb questions. It has nothing to do with who I am.”

That’s a strange, humorless answer for a guy who gets anally raped by Satan in an apocalyptic comedy, but whatever. When asked about his masturbation habits, a topic that Seth Rogen speaks about freely, Hill shut that down, too.

“No! We’re completely different people. You know that, right? It seems to be a big part of Seth’s life. I imagine maybe it’s because he’s married.”

Ouch.

As for the Guardian interview, and how it went? Hill was mostly sweet in the way that I often personally think is fake sweetness (i.e., his apology tour this week). The interview was mostly humorless and not particularly interesting, except for the one moment in which he bristled:

I’d noticed on Hill’s imdb.com page that he was born Jonah Hill Feldstein, and his parents and brother still go by the family name. So I ask why and when he dropped his original surname. This is when everything goes weird and his palpable self-control breaks down. For a full 15 seconds Hill is silent aside from his breathing: it’s so heavy, I think at first he’s having an asthma attack. Eventually, he laughs ruefully to himself.

Is this a difficult question?

“Can we just not?” he whispers.

I didn’t realise this would be awkward.

“Just … don’t,” he hisses.

Huh.

I don’t know if Jonah Hill is a douche, but he’s clearly not as fun and easy-going as most of the comedy actors he works with. He clearly takes himself very seriously. He seems intense, and maybe not the best guy in the world to interview. It also puts his homophobic slur in a weirdly different context.

Source: The Guardian



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • He, is like Seth Rogen.
    The new generation, of "fat slobs, who do not shave", yet, supposedly, "get the girl".

    That, is nonsense.
    No girl, could stand, next to those two.

    To become a joke?

    Un tucked, unkempt
    Bowery boys.

    Life
    Show up.

    Shave
    For God's sake.

  • AudioSuede

    As a fat guy who doesn't shave and is married to a great woman, fuck you.

  • You are "abusing your woman".
    And
    "You will die at 50".

    The reason fat guys, get impotence, is that "your own spirit, is repulsed by you".

    Your Guardian Angel.

    Must like you.
    And a guy who does not shave.

    Is a bowery bum.

  • AudioSuede

    I just dug into some of your comments and your existence on the internet, and I should apologize. You are clearly the most dedicated, consistent, and focused troll in the history of the online community. I've never seen someone take a joke so far and for so long. I should never have doubted your prowess for trolling, and I wish you a good day.

  • JustOP

    This entire thread made me laugh. What the hell.

  • Insults?

  • AudioSuede

    If you, "type like this"
    Anything, can look, like poems.

    Just ask.
    Your mom, I "gave her,"
    An English lesson.

    Last night.

  • In the year
    7510

    God
    Will raise
    His mighty hand

    And say

    Excuse me?

    Try again.

  • AudioSuede

    I......I don't know wtf....is this a poem? Are you....are you William Burroughs?

    Or, you know, his mentally deficient third cousin or something?

  • Look up.
    Who I am.
    My dear.

    The problem is
    You look up
    Who I am?

    You find out.

  • Kate

    There's been constant stories about him being incredibly rude to wait staff, valets etc. for absolutely no reason ever since he became famous, and some of those incidents actually took place before his fame, so he's always been an entitled asshole. There's also lot's of stories about him pulling the 'Don't you know who I am?' card, and again these stories have been popping up since he was just the weird guy with the show fetish in 40YR Old Virgin.

    If it wasn't for that, I'd almost feel sorry for him because more than anything he just comes off as spectacularly insecure.

  • e jerry powell

    Is that header cap really Jonah Hill or Chaz Bono after a bender?

  • barlowjk

    Lainey Gossip called this years ago.

  • Berry

    Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    (Is that too mean? Sorry. I just don't like that site.)

  • JustOP

    Too mean? The site's full of vitriolic bullshit. I'm sure she can handle it, she gives it out enough.

  • barlowjk

    No, not too mean. I get the feeling she could take it. But then, I like the site.

  • Cowtools

    I have no strong opinion on Jonah Hill, though I do see those interview response as more about calling Rolling Stone on the bullsh*t forced wackiness of their softball interview questions.

    However, what bugs me is that while Hill has (rightfully) apologised for his homophobic slur, in a very public and open-to-critique way, the goddamn paparazzi scum who pushed him to react by insulting him and his family is allowed to go about his business, and in fact has likely been rewarded for instigating this tabloid scandal.

  • Debra Kessing

    did anyone aside from Hill hear said scum insulting anyone? In the video I saw there was no sign of anything like that.
    NOT defending paparazzi because I don't know the facts. Just wondering if everyone is accepting Hill's claims about his reason for lashing out, without any sort of confirmation? Maybe because he wore a suit and brushed his hair and tried for sincere & heart broken when he apologised ?

  • Cowtools

    I dunno. Occams Razor. Why assume Hill is lying instead of the man who makes his living invading people's privacy and provoking them?

  • Debra Kessing

    I tend to assume Hill is lying because he is desperate to whitewash his words, which could be clearly heard by anyone who saw the video. Also, I have a fairly low opinion of the man - quite aside from this one incident. And, I still can't find anyone online saying anywhere that they heard the pap "insulting" him.

  • Cowtools

    Well I don't know Hill personally. All I know is that he's been in some films I like and he's made me laugh on occasion, so my opinion of him skews positive. He said something hurtful and he took responsibility for it and apologised, and (crucially) didn't try to act as if what he'd said was no big deal.

    On the other side is a man who works for one of the worst, most debased, least socially progressive, least useful, most contrary-to-all-forms-of-basic-human-decency, most harmful to the wider cultural zeitgeist, kinds of profession that a man can practice legally. So I don't really care if that man insulted Hill. He deserved a lot worse than being called hateful words.

  • manting

    and yet there is a huge market for the paparazzi's product even though everyone knows where its coming from. Also when comparing paparazzi to say, a lobbyist for the oil industry or a wall street trader of mortgage backed derivatives, or the Joel Olsteens of the world his job really isnt that bad because he only negatively affects a very small group of very privileged people whereas the people I mentioned fuck up everything for everyone except themselves and a very small group of privileged people. So while the paparazzi are not "good" they certainly arent on the list of the 10,000 things we need to worry about.

  • Cowtools

    Why is it an 'either/or' situation? Do you only have a limited amount of 'worry' to portion out? If you care about your supposed bigger issues, you can't care about anything else?

    Besides which, I do consider paparazzi to have widespread negative social impacts; just impacts that take longer to play out and aren't as immediately worrisome: from reinforcing body image problems to contributing to the devaluation of privacy.

    Also, just because actors are 'privileged' - which is a weird word to use considering many of them attained their status through hard work and talent - does not mean they should put up with their privacy being invaded. No one is entitled to infringe on anybody else's basic right to privacy, and the market that supports the paparazzi industry by buying the gossip rags or clicking on click-bait stories such as this (and yes, I'm aware of the irony), are just as much a part of the problem, and are just as disgusting.

  • manting

    I dont worry about things that effect .00001% of the population. Maybe if they were the poorest most marginalized .00001% of the population but they are not, they are the .00001% of the richest, most entitled, and extravagant of our population. They really dont need your sympathy or your defense. I would also argue that actors/celebrities are much more detrimental to our society than the paparazzi. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have done infinitely more damage in the past ten years than the paparazzi have done in their entire history to our social fabric especially concerning young girls. I would also add that the two aforementioned "celebrities" have tight relationships with the paparazzi as do many other celebrities. Jenny McCarthy is an anti-vaxxer who uses her position as an actor/celebrity to advance her insane views which have helped lead us to the return of measles, smallpox, and the mumps. Sooo. . . yeah the paparazzi are bad but in the scheme of things they dont rank in the top 10,000 of things to worry about.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Also, there are a whole myriad of abusive terms that aren't a gay slur, like asshole or shithead , so even if he was being called names, why go with a slur? Is his vocabulary limited?

  • Jim

    The writer should have called the article "Heart of Arse-ness."

  • LL

    How did anyone NOT know about that RollingStone interview.

  • manting

    because i stopped reading magazines in 1998 and that was only at the doctor or dentists office.

  • LL

    Everything is published online, too-- free.

  • idiosynchronic

    This reminds me strongly of the press shitting Harrison Ford got back in the post Star Wars 90's. I'm not defending Ford, but simply pointing out the parallels.

  • JustOP

    For some defense - those questions man.
    Asking a fat guy how much he works out.
    Asking how he farts.
    Asking if he masturbates.

    I mean, c'mon.

  • It's all about context. Promoting Moneyball or Wolf of Wall Street? Totally out of bounds. Promoting a movie with Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, James Franco and Channing Tatum as a cannibal sex slave? Questions like that are par for the course.

  • Except he lost the weight for Moneyball, so I'm not sure it's entirely off target there, either.

  • Mook

    God, those questions asked by those "reporters" are inane. No wonder journalism is a dying art.

    I'm more surprised that Jonah's costars actually went along with those questions rather than doing what Jonah did.

    It's not a question of taking yourself seriously vs not seriously but rather just calling someone out on asking stupid-ass questions by declining to answer them.

    Also, regarding answering that question about the joke in This Is The End differently to two different reporters, I think his responses aren't antithetical to each other. One is more thoughtful and insightful than the other but if you think that something is sacrilegious and that same thing is not funny, I think that makes sense.

    If I don't want to make a throwaway joke about rape, the holocaust, slavery or anything that appropriately should not be joked about lightly, it's likely because it's both offensive AND not funny. And to some folks, religion falls into that same category.

    Maybe the qualifiers for "being a douche" have changed but this doesn't seem that bad.

  • manting

    In the movie he makes fun of the christian faith. So is he like Issac Hayes where its ok to make fun of others faiths but not your own?

  • Berry

    Lately I've come to hate gimmicky journalism as well, so I'm not completely unsympathetic to your point. I especially hate seeing American TV personalities try to substitute two minutes of research with perky enthusiasm "OMG! We love you! You have a new movie coming out. It's so exciting, it's the best thing ever! I have no idea what it's even about! Who are you again? We love you!" If you know your job, you should at least be able to pretend you know something. But that was not the case here. The gimmick, inane as it might have been, was linked to the movie. There was some kind of point to it. He could have at least tried to play along.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Eh...making a movie that features you getting raped (for laughs) by the devil and then being like "oooh I don't like that line about sucking god's cock because...religion!" is a little silly to me.
    Look, I don't want to defend the RS article too much, I don't think it deserves a Pulitzer or anything, but come on - it was a silly profile of the four main actors in a crude comedy. The whole premise of the piece was to rank the actors based on who you would have on your survival team. This, by the way, would have been a premise that publicists pre-approved, so it's not like Jonah came into the interview completely blind.
    Was it Shakespeare? No. But neither was This Is the End, which featured giant penises and plenty of silly humor (I loved the movie, but it's not like it was about anything that warrants a serious think piece).

  • So we hate him because he's not Seth Rogen?

  • Debra Kessing

    no, we dislike him because he is self important & humourless (and talentless IMO but that is subjective). Certainly not because he is not Rogen. Rogen has a sense of humour, granted, but that's about all the good I can say about him

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    He's not Seth MacFarlane...so there's that.

  • Debra Kessing

    1000+ for that ! Years ago I used to confuse the 2, until my kids educated me ^.^ Perhaps some of my McFarlane loathing rubbed off on Rogen. Nah that can't be it, I adore Seth Green so it isn't the name ...

  • manting

    I would love to punch Seth Green. How the fuck does he have a career?

  • Debra Kessing

    apparantly by being quick enough to dodge your fists

  • manting

    he is quite nimble.

  • Maddy

    Do people like Seth Rogen?

  • JustOP

    What's not to like?

  • Debra Kessing

    where should I start?

  • JustOP

    Wherever you want love. I can't find myself to hate the guy because he isn't the person he plays in the movies. Nor can I hate him because he's a little too serious.

  • Debra Kessing

    are you speaking about Rogen? "A little too serious"? Really?

  • JustOP

    Total brainfart there. Talking about Hill. Although... what's not to like about Rogan? Great guy.

  • Debra Kessing

    clearly we have polar opposite ideas on what makes a great guy. No use wasting energy typing out our reasons, I doubt I would change your mind and I know you won't change mine.

  • JustOP

    Fair enough. I was interested as I've only ever heard & seen good things. Oh well.

  • Debra Kessing

    LMAO my question exactly

  • I don't. I mean, I don't precisely dislike him either. I just really can't be bothered.

  • carrie

    I hate Seth Rogen .I can't stand his voice and his laugh

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I hate a lot of people because they're not Seth Rogen.

  • I don't know if I could handle more than one person with that laugh (it is a delightful laugh, and Ken was ever my favorite on Freaks and Geeks.) I've never been a Jonah Hill fan, mostly because he usually plays an asshole with such fluidity that I assumed he must be one, but it must suck to be so heavily compared to Rogen because there is a physical similarity and Apatow hires him. He fills a different role in the ensemble.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    True, I like Rogen, but I'm not sure I could live with the laugh.
    I feel Hill is completely humorless about himself, which is a personal peeve of mine.
    I don't think he kicks puppies and I certainly don't think he drags down movies (though the two Oscar noms were...let's say generous), but I just find him to be kind of an ass and "prideful". Also, he needs to stop with the name dropping it's sad.

  • BWeaves

    After you've been asked the same stupid questions 100 times in a row, and then even more inane questions, I think I'd be grumpy, too.

    Then again, he's an actor. It's his job to repeat the same line or joke over and over again, even if it's to journalists. Interviews are part of the game. Learn to play it.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I can see that at a press junket (though not really, because answering the same question in a hotel room still beats an office job where I answered my boss' question 100 times without fame, fortune or free drinks), but when Rolling Stone takes you out to lunch for a feature interview, buck up and play the game.
    Hugh Jackman is my gold standard, every reporter I've ever spoken to about him says he's wonderful and will answer the same question all day without ever getting annoyed or losing his energy.

  • Repo

    You can compare any man to Hugh Jackman and he will always come up short. Let alone Jonah Hill. You're not playing fair.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    OK, that's true, but I meant it as a general statement. I've interviewed Russell Crowe at one press junket, and it was late and he was a total ass.
    And I get it, I'm not exactly breaking a story that he has a movie coming out, but dude, it's my job...just like it's your job to answer the questions.
    So yes, I agree, Hill is never going to give good ole Wolverine a run for his money, but I just wish the whole "well he answered the same questions all day" excuse was dropped.
    Yes, I can see where it's not mentally stimulating, but if I'm writing 500 words on something, I HAVE to ask you these questions to get the quote or I'm getting screamed at by my editor. Work with me, at least.

  • Maguita NYC

    It is quite simple: Clerks do boring filing at the end of the month, Accountants do boring income taxes at the end of the year, sales people do boring reports at the end of the month, and actors do boring interviews at the end of filming.

    A boring process that is part of the job description, which you are PAID to do. So do it nicely, and make it painless for everyone.

    Doesn't their performance during boring interviews and junkets directly impact movie grossing? Hadn't Russell Crowe learn anything?

    http://oi49.tinypic.com/2regpy...

  • Lee

    *Gets momentarily distracted by Jackman gunz*

    Plus, actors like Crowe and Hill get amply more well compensated for their boring work than the rest of us, so the bad 'tude is pretty inexcusable.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I had a well thought out response agreeing with you, and then I saw that gif...

  • stella

    Huh. Now Im vaguely curious about the name thing.

  • Emily Smith

    I'm incredibly curious about it! I would've just assumed he was either Anglicising his name, or that there was already an actor with that name, but apparently not.

  • Ley

    Wait, my sarcasm meter is broken. Isn't that just a joke? I'm sorry, I don't really read interviews and public appearances, but from what little I've seen (SNL, the James Franco roast), isn't the whole serious artist thing he has just a joke? Or was that a little closer to the truth than I expected?

  • LL

    it is not a joke, though he does make jokes about it in front of his comedy buddies.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    He seems utterly humorless (which, in my mind is a HUGELY unlikable quality), but what gets me is his casual mentioning of A-List people to prove he belongs. In that RS interview (and in basically every other interview I've seen of him) he name drops "Leo" and "Marty" and "Brad and Angie", talking about how they like totally come to his parties because they know how cool he is.
    I feel like if he could, he'd change his name to Jonah Hill, Friend of Marty.
    To me he's more of a try-hard than Anne Hathaway, but has so far seen little to no backlash for it.
    The gay slur thing and subsequent "BUT I HAVE GAY FRIENDS!!!!!" apology just sort of cemented my disdain.

  • Maddy

    It's weird I've never really got the whole Anne Hathaway as a tryhard thing. I think she's just very earnest. It never really bothered me. But this guy is SO MUCH MORE ANNOYING.

  • Berry

    Years ago, and internet acquaintance thought me a method to evaluate celebrities, historical figures and fictional characters by asking myself a simple question: would I like them to sit next to me on a very long bus ride? In Jonah Hill's case, the answer is absolutely no. I can't say if he's a douche or not. But no.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    That's a great system!

  • Berry

    Isn't it? And apropos of your avatar thingy, both Bea Arthur and Dorothy Zbornak would definitely be yes.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I highly recommend Bea's one woman show, which I listen to on road trips along with Eddie Izzard.

  • Berry

    Where might one find such a thing?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Bea Arthur on Broadway, available on iTunes. The Angela Lansbury story is worth the price

  • Berry

    Because I still live in the Dark Ages, I've never actually bought anything from iTunes. This could be a good time to start.

  • emmalita

    He was charming on the Colbert Report, but then, he would be.

  • StellaOliver

    It was post-slur, so I interpreted his behavior as trying really hard to come off likable. For me, it didn't work. But then again, I too am a sensitive artist...

  • emmalita

    I've never felt one way or the other about Jonah Hill, so I haven't paid attention to him off screen. He was charming on Colbert, and had several incentives to be charming: post-slur, promoting a movie, and making sure he doesn't piss off Colbert.

    We played Sensitive Artist a lot in college. I was in a theater conservatory, so it was on the nose.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I went to the the most artsy-fartsy school and that song described EVERYONE on campus, including professors and my 18-year-old pretentious ass.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    But Colbert just makes everyone seem better, doesn't he? Isn't that his magical power?

    http://sli.relay.im/h/S/W/hSWL...

  • Parsnip

    That gif is truly sterling.

  • Sterling's Gold, even.

  • emmalita

    +1000000 for the gif.

    Yes, it is his magical power, that and his next job which promises even more eyeballs.

  • Zirza

    I knew my irrational and completely unfounded yet strangely intense dislike for Jonah Hill had a reason! Now I have one! Thanks, Guardian!

  • Lee

    I suspect the persona he mostly embodies in movies (the idiotic douche who thinks he's hilarious) comes through a little too strongly, making it hard to like him, or want to like him in real life. I was disappointed when he got 'Academy Award nominee' next to his name.

  • Parsnip

    Always a nominee, never a winner.

    Edit: I know, tres early to nail that coffin lid down but...

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    From your lips to the Academy's ears...

  • Merski

    TWO TIME Academy Award nominee. Ugh!

  • Temmere

    So he's as good an actor as John Malkovich. It's just science.

  • Maddy

    I DON'T UNDERSTAND. I know lots of random people have been nominated for an Oscar and it's not necessarily even about talent but WHAT.

  • This blast from the past rang through my head as I read this

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O...

  • manting

    I was always more of a "detachable penis" fan myself.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • ed newman

    Is Animal the drummer for King Missile? I swear I hear him in there at the end.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I thought I heard him as well, but the drumming in this lacks Animal's, um... enthusiasm.

  • emmalita

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

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