Moneyball’s Jonah Hill on his move to drama: “I’m the underdog. I like being there and I like proving people wrong”

Best known for his portrayal of the goofy guy stuck in wacky positions most of the time, Jonah Hill’s latest role in Moneyball has allowed fans to see a new side of the Superbad star, in a role the actor says required watching a lot of baseball.

“Brad [Pitt] and I would just always have baseball on in the background whenever we were rehearsing,” he remembers. “When I was at home, baseball on. When I was touring, promoting ‘Get Him to the Greek,‘ every hotel room – boom! ‘Sports Center‘ baseball.”

Moneyball comes from director Bennett Miller, and writers Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian.  The movie chronicles famed Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, and his  “successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.” 

On a deeper level the flick is “about being undervalued,” Hill says in his own words. “That’s really what I saw. There are times in life when you feel undervalued and someone is courageous enough to shine a light on you or sees something in you and gives you the courage to execute what you have to say, what you believe in. My character really gets that opportunity through Billy.”   A subject Hill explains he can personally relate to.  “When you say, ‘Jonah Hill is the second lead in a Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman drama,’ I’m the underdog. I like being there and I like proving people wrong,”

Making the move into a new genre, with more serious tones and life lessons, not only does Hill hold his own, he is also grateful for the opportunity as an actor. “I’m so lucky,” he says. “I’ve been so lucky to encounter – I think about Billy Beane and Moneyball all the time. I keep having Billy Beanes. If I’m Peter, I keep having all these Billy Beanes. I’m really lucky to find these people.

“Last night, the premiere, it’s just so surreal and dreamlike.  The Superbad premiere and the Moneyball premiere in Toronto last night, I think were the two best nights of my life. It actually feels like a dream. It does not feel real.”

Jonah Hill was first cast in 2004’s I Heart Huckabees with the help of Dustin Hoffman.  Since, the twenty-seven year old has gone on to score roles in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, before being cast in Superbad, a role that would made him a household name.  Aside from Hill’s transition into drama with Moneyball (in what is the most interesting pairing the movie industry has seen this year), the soon to be Sitter performer has also jumped into the realm of action with his upcoming stint in the remake of 21 Jump Street.

Moneyball opens in theaters September 23rd 2011.

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