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  • >>Interviewer: Good afternoon and welcome to YouTube Headquarters in San Bruno, California,

  • if you're joining us from somewhere on the internet. Our guest today at YouTube is an

  • actor who has appeared in some of the comedies that defined the last decade. I'm talking

  • about movies like 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the

  • Greek, Funny People and more, but he's here today to share with us some of his experiences

  • working in a dramatic role on a movie that opens this weekend. The movie is Moneyball.

  • Please welcome me or please join me in welcoming to YouTube, Jonah Hill.

  • [applause]

  • >>Jonah Hill: Hello.

  • >>Interviewer: How're you doing? How're you doing?

  • >>Jonah Hill: I'm well. How are you?

  • >>Interviewer: Good, good.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Thanks for joining internet if you're watching this. Haven't seen you

  • in awhile. I hope your hair still looks as good as last time I saw it, internet, and

  • why'd you break up with me? That wasn't nice. OK. How are you guys doing?

  • >>Interviewer: Excellent. So Jonah, I, I could explain what, what Moneyball is as a movie,

  • but I'm sure people would rather hear you tell 'em about it.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Moneyball is a drama about baseball, but, you know, it's about the 2002 Oakland

  • A's and Billy Beane and my character, Peter Brand, using this technique called sabermetrics

  • or moneyball as they call it. And they use this technique of a different way of finding

  • value in players to, to build a team with very little money that ends up winning 20

  • straight games in a row, which breaks a lot of records. Now on paper this sounds like

  • the most boring movie ever made.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: About, a movie about baseball statistics. But Aaron Sorkin, who wrote The

  • Social Network, and Steve Zaillian, who wrote Schindler's List, wrote, wrote this movie.

  • And Aaron Sorkin, and I'm paraphrasing here, said about it, just as how The Social Network

  • on paper sounds very boring, you know a movie about someone inventing a website, maybe not

  • to the people in this room, [chuckles] [audience laughs] but to me that sounded very boring.

  • And, and, and you know you watch that film and it's riveting and really groundbreaking

  • and cool and a great drama, and it's the same thing about Moneyball because the filmmakers

  • really use baseball as a really beautiful aesthetic backdrop to tell a really moving

  • story about underdogs and being undervalued. And that's the story I connected to and also

  • it stars Brad Pitt and myself and Philip Seymour Hoffman, so the three most handsome guys in

  • the world, obviously they, they found us all and paired us together finally.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: And for me it's exciting because it's you know you're used to seeing me in

  • comedies and this is, you know I love comedy movies and dramatic movies, and for me it's

  • a really big opportunity to show you guys what I could do in a dramatic role and I hope

  • you like it, that'd be nice, yeah, sure.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Interviewer: Now it's not as if you only done kind of one particular style of comedy

  • over the years, I mean, The Invention of Lying had a very kind of specific tone to it. And

  • then even Funny People was a very kind of naturalistic movie, but still this is a big

  • step up for you, kind of being head to head with Brad Pitt?

  • >>Jonah Hill: Well, I made um, I made a movie last year called Cyrus, which was a smaller

  • movie that not a lot of people saw. And it was myself and John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei,

  • and that was kind of good, like it was a good bridge way in between some of the comedies

  • I made and, and, and dramatic work because it was funny and it was a drama, it had both

  • things in it. And yeah I mean the thing about the comedies I've done is to me at the time

  • when, when I had met Judd Apatow and all these guys you know like and we all started working

  • together, it did feel very punk rock and different than what was going on in comedy. It felt

  • like a different thing that was happening and we all kind of have the same energy and,

  • and, and take on what we wanted to do, led by Judd obviously. And you know but now it's

  • years later and those movies have been copied now to death and you know in my mind I'm always

  • like, what's next, how do I evolve and how do you evolve and then you watch the way that

  • Judd is evolving as a filmmaker and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberger evolving as filmmakers,

  • and now my evolution involves doing movies like Cyrus and Moneyball and that's stuff

  • I'm really psyched about, you know, so hopefully I could get to do both of those things, the

  • comedy and drama.

  • >>Interviewer: Now, I've, I've heard some actors say that it's very intimidating to

  • work opposite someone like Robert De Niro because it's Robert De Niro and obviously

  • Brad Pitt is just so damn handsome. Do you have to just like stay around for 20 minutes

  • to see if it goes away? Or how does that work?

  • >>Jonah Hill: No, you know, honestly, like

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: To what?

  • >>Interviewer: To just, you know, get past the initial shock?

  • >>Jonah Hill: This guy.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: Calm down.

  • >>Interviewer: I have more questions like this, so.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah, yeah. It's the accent mixed with the tattoos mixed with the stare

  • mixed with the smile, it's, it's.

  • >>Interviewer: We'll be fine.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Alright. If anything happens to me, um, I'm in northern California, in

  • a really weird professor auditorium?

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: I don't know where I am. But, no, I mean you know obviously I was intimidated

  • when I got this part because it was myself, you know I'm the second lead in this movie

  • with Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman's in the movie and you know Bennett Miller's

  • directing it who directed Capote, and Aaron Sorkin wrote Social Network, and Steve Zaillian,

  • who wrote Schindler's List, and it just is this really surreal dream-like experience

  • from day one and so you know the first day of rehearsals I was really nervous, but I

  • was like, I can either be really freaked out or I can kick my nerves to the curb for a

  • second and try and deliver for these people who took a chance on giving me an opportunity

  • to do something truly different, so. I just wanted to come through for them and if I was

  • sitting around being nervous about how talented everyone was, I probably would of just thought

  • about that as opposed to doing a good job.

  • >>Interviewer: Sure. Now obviously Moneyball really is a, it's a number of things. It's

  • a human interest story, it's the story of Billy Beane, but I don't want to underplay

  • the role of statistics, obviously we probably have some you know programmers and engineers.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Well you guys are nerds, so it's like

  • >>Interviewer: Yes, exactly.

  • >>Jonah Hill: really exciting for you.

  • >>Interviewer: There are some people here I'm sure

  • [laughter] >>Jonah Hill: Wrong crowd, wrong room, wrong

  • room. The internet liked that more than this room.

  • >>Interviewer: They don't like being called nerds.

  • >>Jonah Hill: I'm leaving, no.

  • >>Interviewer: But I mean how did you deal with, did you method act your way through

  • the, the statistical stuff?

  • >>Jonah Hill: No, well, honestly, I, you know, I realized I had never played a character

  • with a skill before, of any kind.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: And now the character I was playing had to be a brilliant statistician

  • and mathematician, so I had a statistics tutor and a mathematics tutor and I think that was

  • probably the hardest job on Moneyball was teaching me how to count past 10 probably,

  • because I'm very poor at math and science, I was always really good at history and English

  • and acting and stuff like that in school.

  • >>Interviewer: Now I did read somewhere that apparently you were kind of suggest, it was

  • suggested that you should deal with statistics the same way that you, you kind of talk about

  • other actors in Hollywood and their strengths and weaknesses, so.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Or filmmakers or.

  • >>Interviewer: Sure.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah, movies themselves.

  • >>Interviewer: So I was kind of wondering, could you maybe give us an example and maybe

  • give us like two of Seth Rogen's strengths and one weakness.

  • >>Jonah Hill: [laughing] I'm not gonna do that.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Interviewer: He'll never know.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Why would I want to? Next question.

  • >>Interviewer: Well, what's his strength? What is a strength that you gained from working

  • with him?

  • >>Jonah Hill: Ask him. I don't know. What the hell.

  • >>Interviewer: Alright. I'll, I'll ask him.

  • >>Jonah Hill: I flew down to northern California. Don't ask me about Seth. He's great. He's

  • getting married in a couple of weeks, I'm gonna go to his wedding.

  • >>Interviewer: Excellent. OK now, Brad is obviously playing very much the character

  • of Billy Beane, I mean he, there's a lot of Billy in the book, it's a really interesting

  • read. You're playing maybe more of a composite character and maybe a bigger character that

  • >>Jonah Hill: Do you work for YouTube?

  • >>Interviewer: Yeah.

  • >>Jonah Hill: I thought this was for people who were on YouTube to ask questions.

  • >>Interviewer: Well I, we're gonna get to that.

  • >>Jonah Hill: [laughing] I wanna hear your guys' questions, right? We should hear the

  • people's questions.

  • >>Interviewer: Alright.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: I thought we were gonna do some Moneyball questions.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah, we can do it, keep going. But I wanna hear the, I wanna hear the kids

  • that are on the computer, that's exciting to me. Right? Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: OK. Sure.

  • >>Jonah Hill: OK, cool.

  • >>Interviewer: Shall we skip to the questions that we got from the internet?

  • >>Jonah Hill: No, no, keep going.

  • >>Interviewer: Well, I was just kind of interested in

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: obviously Billy, as I say Billy is a real character, you're playing more of

  • a composite character maybe and it's a bigger part perhaps than it is in the book. Because

  • in the book you know the character of the statistician isn't drawn out as much and I

  • maybe thought that would have been an interesting opportunity to have that a little bit grounded

  • in reality, but then you get Aaron Sorkin writing out the role?

  • >>Jonah Hill: Well I think, you know, my character in this movie is a guy who would blend into

  • a wall, right? So he's never had a light shined on him before. He's never had someone empower

  • him in any way. He's someone who is doing the busy work on a computer, no offense, [audience

  • chuckles] and you don't usually see that person's story is what I'm saying so for me I found

  • it really unique to get to play a character where you're getting to play someone who you're,

  • you're hearing their story who you don't usually get to see. And a guy like Billy, like Brad

  • Pitt's character, is the guy's character who you always see in a movie, the main protagonist,

  • but the cool thing is Brad's character was overvalued. He was told he was gonna be this

  • big sports star because he was handsome and he was good at baseball and he turned down

  • going to Stanford and he turned down getting an education and he fizzled out and he didn't

  • become this big sports star. And my character is undervalued. He's taken at face value,

  • taken as a guy who can just do busy work on a computer, but he has these really brilliant

  • radical ideas and Billy's the first person, Brad's character, Billy, is the first person

  • who sees him and goes, you're, you're, you're something special, you have something special

  • to offer. And it's really cool to see that guy's story. So that's what I found really

  • interesting. And it's kind of like seeing a baby use his legs for the first time, you

  • know, because he's never been empowered before, so he's metaphorically wobbling around, you

  • know, trying to learn how to walk, or trying to learn how to deal with some sort of power,

  • and that's exciting. Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: And obviously a lot of this was filmed at the Coliseum in Oakland.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: And again, that's a little bit of a character in the book. You read about

  • the video room and just the atmosphere, it's certainly not the most palatial stadium in

  • sports.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Right.

  • >>Interviewer: Did that help to kind of soak up that atmosphere?

  • >>Jonah Hill: Yeah. I mean honestly, when we shot there, I mean there's no more really

  • place you could actually go than where you're shooting is where it took place. And then

  • when you walk out on the field, it's just the coolest thing ever, because it's empty

  • and then you know you can run around the bases and throw the ball around and stuff and then

  • when we shot a lot of the games that are really factual about what actually took place, there

  • were real A's fans in the stadium, some of whom were at those actual games and that was

  • really cool, you know, that was really exciting.

  • >>Interviewer: So if you were to kind of apply the theories of Moneyball to the kind of movie

  • roles that you take and you know Moneyball being kind of looking for things that are

  • maybe undervalued or people don't put enough emphasis on and really kind of leveraging

  • them, is, is that something that you look for in roles? Or you like name big on the

  • poster and a lot of lines?

  • >>Jonah Hill: I just look for name biggest on the poster. Most amount of free stuff I

  • can get. No, I've, that's silly, I mean the only thing I care about, you know, the only

  • thing I care about is when I'm older and I have grandkids and I've spent my life doing

  • this, if I'm lucky to keep getting to spend my life doing this, that I'll have a few DVDs

  • or whatever that will be then, it'll be like watched on your palm or something, I have

  • a few movie cartridges I can implant into my grandchildren's brain space. And say you

  • know this is what I spent my life doing and I'm really proud of these few things. And

  • that's, that's all how I look at it because if you're gonna go away for a few months and

  • you're gonna go dedicate your life to something, I mean you guys know, you, everyone in this

  • room is someone clearly really special and smart or you wouldn't be working here. And

  • you could be doing anything with that intelligence, but it has to be something you're incredibly

  • passionate about if you're gonna dedicate not sleeping and working really hard at it

  • and we're all lucky enough to get to work on stuff we really care about, if we're lucky,

  • but the only thing that could be the impetus of that is thinking it could become something

  • really special.

  • >>Interviewer: So obviously you know comedy, some of the films you've been on, could be

  • described as about ensemble casts

  • >>Jonah Hill: Right.

  • >>Interviewer: a bit of a team sport kind of thing. How different is working with Judd

  • to the kind of the Billy Beane character, I presume Judd's not throwing chairs around

  • to get you to, to work.

  • >>Jonah Hill: Uh, well, um, no I mean Judd has been, you know, there have been four really

  • major Billy Beane figures in my life, people that shined a light on me and gave me the

  • opportunity to get where I'm at now, which is YouTube.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Jonah Hill: I feel like I've worked my way backwards from movies to YouTube. Aren't you

  • supposed to start at YouTube and then get a movie deal or something when you make a

  • video of yourself like getting hit in the nuts with the Frisbee or something, right?

  • But no, Dustin Hoffman was the first person who encouraged me to become an actor and got

  • me my first audition in what ended up being my first movie, which is I Heart Huckabees,

  • and then after that I met Judd, who, you know, gave me countless opportunities in things

  • you know to show what I had to offer. And the next person would be the Duplass brothers,

  • who gave me Cyrus, which is a movie that I was able to show a little bit more of a different

  • side and then finally Brad Pitt and Bennett Miller, who made Moneyball to give me this

  • big opportunity and then fifth would be YouTube, who gave me the opportunity to be here, which

  • is really cool. Yeah.

  • >>Interviewer: Excellent.

  • [whoops from the audience]

  • >>Jonah Hill: I'm here. I'm at YouTube. I'm in, while you guys are watching YouTube, I'm