Though he’s already had a long career as an actor, 34-year-old Jonah Hill is finally making his debut as a writer/director in the new film Mid90s.
But stepping behind the camera has always been the goal for Hill. Positive feedback from acting teachers early on lead him on a path that would bring him two Oscar nominations and the status in Hollywood to make the film he’s always wanted to make.
Mid90s takes place in Los Angeles in the 1990s and follows a 13-year-old kid named Stevie, who is navigating his tumultuous home life with the struggle to find where he fits in the social hierarchy. Hill says the story isn’t autobiographical, but is instead pulled from observations and experiences he had as a kid growing up skateboarding and listening to hip-hop in 1990s L.A.
“It’s personal in the sense that I felt lonely and alone and needed to find connection outside of my house. But that’s not my brother, that’s not my mom… So it’s more just like characters I wanted to create, things that I noticed about people growing up and feelings about growing up.”
Hill joins What’s Good for a lively conversation about how hip-hop influenced his life, how experiences from his own life inspired the film and why his first LL Cool J concert didn’t go quite as planned.
On Wanting To Do Right By The Subject Matter:
With skating and with hip-hop, it’s important to do it correctly. Twenty years from now I know I showed respect and I did something that was important for me to do. And people hate on everything and that’s life … All the OGs that have seen it in rap or skateboarding are like, ‘Dude thanks.’ They don’t want the kid from Superbad making, like, the skateboarding and hip-hop movie and I get it, bro. I get it. I would roll my eyes so bad they roll back in my head and I’d see the back of my skull. But I’m not an authority, I’m a fan. So