During a chat on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Jonah Hill openly discussed his fluctuating weight and how it has inspired him to seek messages of community and acceptance in his directorial debut, “Mid90s. “
In the interview with DeGeneres, Hill shared a magazine he created to compliment his coming-of-age film. In the magazine he reflects on his past self as being “this 14 year old kid, being overweight wanting to fit in with these skaters and hip hop kids… not understanding (his) own worth.”
Hill read from his magazine: “I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive.”
Hill said it was only in writing and directing “Mid90s” that made him begin to realize “how much that hurt and got into my head.” He went on: “I really believe everyone has a snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young that they’re ashamed of. For me, it’s that 14-year-old overweight and unattractive kid who felt ugly to the world.”
Hill’s weight has dramatically varied at different times in his career, and it has been covered by tabloid paparazzi.
“I came in goofy comedies…(as) this kind of curly haired, overweight kid,” the actor-turned-director told DeGeneres. “Everyone had their own opinion on what I should be, how they could speak to me, how they could treat me. “
In addition to the film having central message about acceptance and growth, Hill said his work aims to accurately depict the Los Angeles skating scene in the 1990s — warts and all.
Hill included the use of homophobic slurs and adolescent sexual encounters to tell the truth of an environment he knew personally. He told Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer that he had his actors use homophobic slurs to portray ugly and harmful behavior that people growing up during that time period may have to unlearn. “We’re talking about language that is ugly, behavior that is ugly,” said Hill. “I felt it was more important to tell the truth and have that be the lesson, and show it in its ugliness, than to go back and change history.”
Hill also told DeGeneres that the film’s underage sex scene was meant to reveal the use of it as a means of gaining popularity or reputation. The movie, Hill said, reflects on the past and how we face it in the present.
“To me this movie is about learning to love yourself and finding a community of people that accepts you and how imperfect life is,” Hill said. “I’m under construction like we all are.”