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Jonah Hill says he needed to 'hit pause' and take 'three or four years' after rise to stardom

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Jonah Hill needed to ‘hit pause’ and change direction after his quick rise to fame.

The 37-year-old actor, who became a household name around the world after starring alongside Michael Cera in 2007’s Superbad, admitted he found himself ‘running toward success’ instead of focusing on other areas of his life.  

‘I was really advanced professionally but really behind personally,’ Jonah told director Adam McKay in an interview for GQ magazine.

Taking a break: Jonah Hill says needed to 'hit pause' and change direction after his quick rise to fame in a new interview for GQ

Taking a break: Jonah Hill says needed to ‘hit pause’ and change direction after his quick rise to fame in a new interview for GQ

He continued, ‘All my 20s, I wasn’t really looking inward. I was just running toward success. Or trying to find success.

‘And when I was 30, I was like, I’ve always wanted to be a director, but if I don’t get off this train now and write Mid90s, I’m not going to do it.

‘And I hit pause. I took three or four years to reshape things.’

Reflection: The 37-year-old actor, who became a household name around the world after starring alongside Michael Cera in 2007's Superbad, admitted he found himself 'running toward success' instead of focusing on other areas of his life. Seen in 2018

Reflection: The 37-year-old actor, who became a household name around the world after starring alongside Michael Cera in 2007’s Superbad, admitted he found himself ‘running toward success’ instead of focusing on other areas of his life. Seen in 2018

‘I was like, I could just do this for 10 more years and I’m not going to evolve as a person.’

The War Dogs star’s directorial debut was loosely based on his own personal experience growing up in 90s skate culture. Jonah spent six years every day at the skate shop Hot Rod in Los Angeles.

He told McKay, ‘I am not a representative of skate culture. But the two gnarliest environments are skateboarding and comedy, and I grew up in both of those environments. 

Making a change: Hill said, 'I hit pause. I took three or four years to reshape things.' Pictured in 2019

Making a change: Hill said, ‘I hit pause. I took three or four years to reshape things.’ Pictured in 2019

‘I was an insecure, overweight kid, which in both of those communities is like having a scarlet letter on you. You are a target for abuse. But also in both of those communities are the smartest, most interesting, most damaged and beautiful people, as we know.’

He went on to explain, ‘That’s how I came of age, and that’s what I wanted to show in my first film. I really wanted to make this movie that expressed the movies I want to make, which are movies that are really funny but have a deeply human sadness to them as well.’ 

He added, ‘That’s how I feel. I feel like I’m really funny and I have a deeply rooted human sadness, like we all do. I don’t want to ignore either one. And that’s how I got there.’ 

Jonah admitted a big part of him struggling to adjust to his new life was because it came ‘overnight’ when he was in his early 20s.

Skyrocketing to fame: Jonah admitted a big part of him struggling to adjust to his new life was because it came 'overnight' when he was in his early 20s

Skyrocketing to fame: Jonah admitted a big part of him struggling to adjust to his new life was because it came ‘overnight’ when he was in his early 20s

He added: ‘It was very overnight for me. Michael Cera and I talk about it all the time. We just had this really rare experience: One day life was one way, and then one day life was a different way.

‘I was a kid. I had probably too much power for a young person, and too much autonomy, and not enough life skills.’

However, the star admitted now he realizes why people ‘go to college’, whereas he previously saw it as ‘idling’. Jonah attended the New School in New York City and the University of College at Boulder but did not graduate.

Life in the spotlight: Jonah explained, 'It was very overnight for me. Michael Cera and I talk about it all the time. We just had this really rare experience: One day life was one way, and then one day life was a different way. Seen in 2007

Life in the spotlight: Jonah explained, ‘It was very overnight for me. Michael Cera and I talk about it all the time. We just had this really rare experience: One day life was one way, and then one day life was a different way. Seen in 2007

He said, ‘I dropped out of college, and I used to not get why people would go to college. Because if you’re ambitious, why would you spend four years just idling?

‘And then I didn’t realize until I turned 30 that what those four years gave all my friends was this wobbling period of how to be a person,’ he concluded.

During the interview, Adam asked Jonah about potentially toxic impact of social media. Jonah said, ‘I have a real theory on this, if you want to hear it. It might be too real for the people, dude. Okay?’

Hill went on to say, ‘So, Instagram. Instagram—as I smoke a cigarette—is the cigarettes of this time. It is the biggest killer.   

He continued, ‘It is death. And I fully participate in it, like I smoke cigarettes. Again, it’s a spectrum of what you find healthy. I have to have really limited interaction with it. ‘

Honest: Jonah said that he views social media as 'the biggest killer' but acknowledged,  'And I fully participate in it'

Honest: Jonah said that he views social media as ‘the biggest killer’ but acknowledged,  ‘And I fully participate in it’

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