Watch Jonah Hill Transform from Nerdy to Cool in ’21 Jumpstreet’!

Jonah Hill has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, due in part to his dynamic evolution from laugh-out-loud comedy star to Golden Globe, SAG, and Academy Award® nominee for Best Supporting Actor in 2011 for his role in Moneyball, in which he starred opposite Brad Pitt.

Now, he makes a successful return to the comedy genre with Columbia Pictures’ 21 Jump Street, an R-13-rated movie that took Hollywood box office by storm.

In the film, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were enemies in high school who became unlikely friends in Police Academy. While they may not be the best cops on the beat, they have a chance to turn it around when they join the police department’s secret Jump Street unit, run by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). They trade in their guns and badges for backpacks and use their youthful appearances to go undercover…in high school!

Jonah Hill’s character, Schmidt, is a onetime nerd who finds himself suddenly cool for the first time in his life. “It’s one of the more interesting characters I’ve played,” says the actor. “He just wants to be a good cop, but he has insecurities that date all the way back to high school. When he gets sent back to high school, undercover, he gets drunk with power, forgets about police work, forgets about his friendship with Jenko. He likes living this fake high school life – better than the life he has as a guy in his mid-20s.” So in essence it’s the story of a guy who gets lost in his moment in the sun.

Hill, who’s also credited as executive producer of “21 Jump Street,” says that the film started with a simple question: “What would it be like to relieve the most important time period of your youth… high school. You think you have all the answers that you didn’t have then, but then you get back there and realize those answers are all wrong. You then immediately revert back to the insecurities and problems you had when you were seventeen.”

Hill wrote the story with Michael Bacall, who wrote the screenplay. “At first, nothing goes as planned for the characters. These guys treat it like wish fulfillment – ‘Oh, if I only knew then what I know now,’” Bacall explains. “But all of the information that they have no longer applies. Jenko – who was always the cool kid back then – falls in with the nerds, and Schmidt – the nerdier of the two – falls in with the cool crowd. It’s a total role reversal.”

According to Hill, the fact that the show has been off the air for a generation worked to their advantage in devising the story and the tone. “I’ll meet teenagers and I’ll ask them if they know the series – they don’t,” he says. “So I tell them it’s about young-looking cops who go undercover in a high school, and they say, ‘That sounds awesome.’ It’s such a great premise for an action-comedy.”

Opening across the Philippines on May 9, “21 Jump Street” will be distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.

Animation Directors, Tapped to Make ’21 Jump Street’!

Columbia Pictures wanted a fresh take for its new action-comedy 21 Jump Street, so an intense search was held for a director that could make the new vision pop on the screen. They got two for the price of one: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, who had previously helmed the acclaimed animated hit “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

 

Could the directors of a family friendly animated film possibly be the right choice for this R-rated live-action action-comedy? “We felt like we wanted to do something that was the exact opposite of what we had just done – although, to be fair, `Cloudy’ is an action comedy, just geared to a different audience. Still, we had a lot to prove,” Miller explains. “So we made a whole presentation that showed what we would do. We knew we had to do a little razzle-dazzle.”

Whatever skepticism the producers may have had was washed away by the meeting. “When they came in, they were incredibly prepared,” says producer Tania Landau. “They had a PowerPoint presentation. They had created a book with every point of the movie and how it should look. I was blown away. The guys were so creative and enthusiastic – we were all in sync.”

One of the reasons that Lord and Miller were so excited by the material was that they wouldn’t just be directing the movie – they would be living out the themes of the story. “When I was growing up, I watched ‘Jump Street’ because the cute girls in my high school were watching it – I wanted to be up on the storylines. So, this project is like coming full circle – I become a cool person by making this movie,” says Lord.

In “21 Jump Street,” Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) were enemies in high school who became unlikely friends in Police Academy. While they may not be the best cops on the beat, they have a chance to turn it around when they join the police department’s secret Jump Street unit, run by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). They trade in their guns and badges for backpacks and use their youthful appearances to go undercover.

With Hill’s comic sense under Lord and Miller’s direction, combined with producer Neal H. Moritz’ action chops, the project had the perfect mix of talent. “You have Neal Moritz’s `Fast and Furious’ action side, and Jonah Hill style comedy,” says Miller. “Those things combine, explode, and recombine their atoms to make the perfectly formed movie.”

“Neal has produced lots of great and successful action movies,” says Hill. “So I felt that he would be a great partner in making this because I have made a lot of comedies and he has made a lot of action movies and together we could hopefully make a great action comedy.”

“Every time I do an action movie, I feel like we have to top the last one,” says Moritz. “But it’s not about bigger explosions or bigger car crashes – that doesn’t work. The action has to be character-based, it has to be something you haven’t seen before. For `21 Jump Street,’ because it’s an action comedy, we tried to have the action be clever and humorous, to really come out of the characters and their relationships.”

Opening across the Philippines in May, “21 Jump Street” will be distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.

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