Jonah Hill isn’t one of those cagey celebrities who keeps his projects all guarded in secrecy. In fact, he says he’s always more than happy to talk to the press, and during the recent round of interviews promoting his latest film, Get Him to the Greek, he opened up about the movie adaptation of the hip 80s teen cop series 21 Jump Street, in which he’s already been cast and which he is also co-writing with Mike Bacall. In what might seem like a strange choice, the directors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are taking the helm and HIll really likes what they’re doing, although he’s well aware of how skeptical people are going to be about the project.
“I think the best thing that movie has going for it is people’s expectations are so low that our movie is already so much better than what sh*t-talkers on the internet think it is,” Hill says. “For us, we’re just high-fiving because that’s the best thing you could have – people think your movie sucks, and then it turns out being pretty awesome. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I would have written it off before seeing it, but then I saw it, and I was like, “This movie is great!” So I think Phil and Chris just had a great take on the movie.”
What exactly is their take on the idea of fresh-faced cops going undercover as high school students? “I don’t want to get too much into detail because I don’t want to give you the grand-total 45-minute pitch of movie, but basically we want to make a really funny, grounded high school movie with action set pieces in it,” Hill continues. “When they asked me to remake it, I initially went, ‘F**k that. I’m not doing that. That’s stupid.’ Then I thought about it, I watched the show again, and the thing I responded to was the concept because to me, there’s a real Back to the Future element in that you get to go back and relive a very important time period in your life. That’s what I found fascinating. Then the big idea that I had, which Mike Bacall and I cracked, was so these guys are cops in their mid-20’s and they’ve gained all this confidence since high school, and then they go back to high school, and they immediately revert back to insecure high school students again. So that was the big idea that we cracked that I really fell in love with.”
Although you might be tempted to think it’s going to be a complete satire, HIll says otherwise. “It’s not a spoof of the show. It’s honestly not. It’s not a spoof of the ‘80s. To me, it’s great. If I didn’t know about it, I would talk sh*t about it like people on the internet do. In my opinion, that’s the best thing we have going for us.”