In December of last year, Colombia Pictures announced that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller would direct a big screen adaptation of the beloved '80s teen/cop drama 21 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill. He would also help develop the script and would executive produce. Today we had a moment to chat with the busy actor at an event for DreamWorks Animation, for whom the actor has two films coming out this year: How To Train Your Dragon and MegaMind. We asked Hill about his plans for the upcoming remake and to give us an inside scoop on some of his other upcoming projects.
Jonah Hill discusses his plans for the upcoming remake of the popular '80s show
First thing we wanted to know from Hill was what stage of production the 21 Jump Street project was in at this point? "We're going to shoot it this year," answered the actor. "We hired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller who directed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and are friends of mine. They are incredible. Their take on the movie is incredible and I actually didn't write the script. Mike Bacall wrote the script," Hill clarified. "He wrote Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with Edgar Wright and Mike and I came up with the story together. I'll get a story credit and I'm executive producer as well on the film," he explained. Hill went onto explain the project further. "I think everyone is going to be excited. I think they're not expecting what it's going to be like. It's not a parody of the show. I'm not playing Johnny Depp's character," the actor stressed. "I think it's so funny that people can't get over the fact that Johnny Depp was in the show. I'm not saying I'm like Johnny Depp. I'm not playing his character. It's a group of people that go back to high school to deal with a drug problem, to deal with crime in High School. That's fun. I really like the Back to the Future element of it. It's like getting to relive a certain period of your life, you know?"
Hill went on to talk about the tone he hopes to achieve with the film. "It's a comedy with really cool action in it. It's not like Miami Vice or anything like that. It's not a parody. It's a funny movie with a lot of great action and a real story. I would say it attempts to be like a John Hughes movie with Bad Boys style action. Which I think sounds really fun and cool. Not that it's going to be as good as a John Hughes movie but the tone is like Fast Times At Ridgemont High and then action comes in because they are cops. I'm going to be one of the cops in the film."
When asked if casting had begun for the film, Hill had this to say. "No, we're more working with Phil and Chris to nail the story and get the script ready for this year and then we'll concentrate on filling the rest of the pieces." When asked if all the characters in his film are original or if there are any from the TV show, the actor stated, "There might be a couple surprises in there but I'm not playing Johnny Depp's character in the movie," Hill assured us again. "It's about young looking cops that go back to high school. I think that is a really interesting and clever idea as apposed to saying, no, that didn't happen in the show so it can't happen in the movie. But the Chapel is there and I think people will be excited about that, so there is stuff from the show. Honestly, I wouldn't do it if it wasn't going to be awesome," finished Hill.
Finally the actor gave us a quick preview of three of his upcoming projects. "I wrote a movie called The Adventurer's Handbook that we're going to try and shoot this year with myself, Jason Segal and Jason Swartzman, directed by Akiva Schaffer. I'm one of the executive producers of that for Universal. And I have Get him to the Greek coming out this summer, which is really exciting. I think it's the funniest movie I've been in since Superbad, for sure. I think it's a true, weekend, go on a Friday night, rock concert type of movie. I'd say it's like Almost Famous but like a hard R-rated comedy. It's an undeniably awesome movie. It's rock solid. We've been testing it and it's been testing like the same as Superbad did."
21 Jump Street was released March 16th, 2012 and stars Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Ice Cube, Dax Flame. The film is directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller.