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Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad”

Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad” (photo)

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Comedic actor and up-and-coming screenwriter Jonah Hill has brightened every feature Judd Apatow has yet directed (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Funny People”), and would like you to stop thinking he’s the vulgar loudmouth he played in “Superbad.” If anything, he thinks his recent gig as the hapless liaison to Russell Brand’s rock star in “Get Him to the Greek” is probably the closest to himself he’s ever played since, as Hill told me, “he’s ambitious, good-intentioned and works hard.” Let’s give him that one, if only because he’s starring in his second feature to be released this month.

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (“The Puffy Chair,” “Baghead”) have given Hill his most dramatic role yet as the eponymous weirdo in “Cyrus,” a smart indie blend of humor and heartbreak. John C. Reilly stars as a miserably divorced man who finally meets a very special lady (Marisa Tomei), only to discover her grown son (Hill) is a creepy, over-possessive product of too much parental coddling. At the press junket, where I was gifted a funny promotional T-shirt that I’ll unfortunately never wear in public because it says “Seriously, Don’t F**k My Mom,” I sat down with Hill to discuss the music that influenced him on the “Cyrus” set, making his mother cry, and the fact that you already think his “21 Jump Street” remake will suck.

Not to draw such direct comparisons to Cyrus, but are you socially awkward in any way?

If you caught me on certain days, I would be totally different in that regard. My girlfriend always makes fun of me because I’ll say, “I don’t want to go to this party, it’s going to be awkward,” or I just want to hang out at home. Then she’s like, “You end up closing down the party, the last person to leave, always talking to everybody.” Then on different days, I really am uncomfortable in big social settings. I love watching movies and hanging out with loved ones. That’s where my heart’s at and where I usually have the most fun.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus2.jpgHave you ever felt spoiled by your parents, like Cyrus’ mother does to him?

I don’t think so. They were really supportive, hard on me when they had to be, and continue to be loving. My parents saw the movie at Sundance with my girlfriend and other family members, and I think it’s their favorite movie I’ve ever been in. For me, the hardest scene to watch and my favorite I’ve ever done in any movie is in “Cyrus,” when Marisa Tomei and I are on the bed, she’s admitting she made mistakes in raising me, and I’m admitting for the first time — being honest and not manipulative — that my fear is she’s replacing me with this other person. My heart breaks for both of those characters.

My mom was crying after the movie. It broke my heart because I always looked at it from Cyrus’s point of view — obviously, because I was playing that character — thinking, “It’s so sad, this guy’s losing the one person who cares about him and who he cares about.” My mom was touched by it, because she was like, “It made me think about raising three kids, and times I felt I was making mistakes.” You do your best and there’s no guidebook to it. It must be hard to think, “Maybe I messed up in certain ways.”

Do you want to raise children?

Definitely. That’s one of the great joys of life, especially watching Mark and Jay become fathers. Watching them deal with their kids is really inspiring. John Reilly has a great family, as do a lot of people I’ve worked with — Judd [Apatow], Nick Stoller.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus8.jpgThe reason you work so hard is you love making movies, but the reason you work harder is because you want to have a family and want to be able to buy your kids clothes or food and make sure they’re able to live, you know?

If you’re not anything like your “Superbad” role, as you mentioned, has the real Jonah Hill ever come out in any of your characters?

I don’t think anyone knows me that well if they’re just going on my movies. In my job, unfortunately, I don’t think you can control what people think about you. I’m really proud of my family, friends and girlfriend, and I’m very insular in that way of hanging with them. I’m not out on the Hollywood scene or going to nightclubs and stuff like that. I’m just about making good movies, and I’m prideful of what you said because it’s great that all people know about me are the movies I put out. That’s good for an actor. You don’t want people to know too much because it’s that much harder to convince them that you’re somebody else. When people who think I’m that “Superbad” guy see this movie, it’s going to be shocking because it’s so different.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…