Jonah Hill wants to make one thing absolutely clear. “I really don’t want to sound pretentious. That’s, like, my main goal,” he says. “I was like, ‘If I ever do a dramatic movie and people don’t hate it, I’m not going to become one of those people who starts talking about acting all pretentiously.’”
Hill now finds himself in exactly that position, receiving high praise for his performance in “Cyrus” as the title character, an emotionally stunted adult threatened when his mother (Marissa Tomei) falls for a new man (John C. Reilly).
“It’s definitely a dramatic stretch for me,” he says. “It was the first time ever that it was difficult for me to go home at the end of the day and shake off what I was doing earlier and just hang with my friends and be normal after playing such a severely affected guy.”
Known for comic turns in “Superbad,” “Knocked Up” and “Get Him to the Greek,” Hill always hoped he’d get a chance to do something different. “I never knew if I’d get that opportunity,” he says, “which is fine because I love all the movies that I’m known for.”
But moving into a drama — and going up against the likes of Tomei and Reilly — was definitely daunting. “I was very intimidated,” Hill admits. Not that it was going to stop him. “It’s like anything I’ve done in my career. I could’ve not gone for it and could be at home watching this movie on TV, or [I could] take chances and use that intimidation to fuel my performance.”