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Film

The reason why nobody saw Jonah Hill's greatest acting performance

Jonah Hill‘s career has seemingly come in two separate waves. First came Hill’s brilliant comedy roles in the 2000s, beginning with minor performances in Grandma’s BoyAccepted and Click. These appearances famously earned him a supporting role in Judd Apatow’s 2007 comedy Knocked Up, alongside Seth Rogen.

Hill’s hilarious portrayals of tragic teenager characters came to the fore in his first lead acting role in Apatow’s Superbad, where he starred alongside Michael Cera and the film’s writers, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. 

Superbad shot Hill into stardom, but he soon grew tired of comedy roles and sought work in more serious acting positions in independent films. The second wave of Hill’s career primarily began in 2011, when he starred alongside Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the sports drama Moneyball.

Hill’s move into a more serious style of acting was widely celebrated, particularly in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street, the latter of which Hill received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. However, Hill still regularly featured in his primary craft of comedies, including the brilliant This Is The End, in which he played himself in an apocalyptic version of Hollywood.

Despite all of Hill’s highly acclaimed performances in both comedies and dramas, he claimed that most of the public has not actually seen his best performance, which he argues was in a film directed by Gus Van Sant.

Hill said, “Gus Van Sant is one of my mentors, one of my favourite people on the planet, and a pioneer of queer cinema. He made a film with myself and Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara two years ago called He Won’t Get Far on Foot, and nobody saw it because Amazon completely fucked it up. But it’s the best acting I have done and will ever do.”

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a 2018 comedy-drama directed by the critically acclaimed Van Sant, known for his films Drugstore CowboyMy Own Private Idaho and Good Will HuntingDon’t Worry is based on a memoir by the American cartoonist John Callahan, whose work primarily dealt with peculiar subjects and those with physical disabilities.

Hill’s performance as an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor for Joaquin Phoenix’s John Callaghan was widely praised, with phrases such as ‘revelatory’, ‘marvel’ and ‘nuanced’ being thrown around by critics at the time. 

However, according to Hill, Amazon Studios failed to release the film properly, and it ended up being a box-office failure, grossing just $4.2m worldwide from a $3.5million budget.