Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara in Talks to Join Joaquin Phoenix in Gus Van Sant Film

Variety – Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill are in talks to co-star with Joaquin Phoenix in the Gus Van Sant-directed drama “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” the long-in-development biopic on quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan.

Iconoclast and Anonymous Content are producing the film, which is based on Callahan’s autobiography of the same name. Callahan became paralyzed following a car accident at age 21, and turned to drawing as a form of therapy. The artist’s work raised eyebrows for its depiction of taboo topics, leading to numerous boycotts in his hometown of Portland.

His art was published in the New Yorker, Penthouse, and Playboy before his death in 2010.

Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Mourad Belkeddar, and Nicolas Lhermitte will produce the movie for Iconoclast, while Steve Golin produces for Anonymous Content.

Hollywood has been trying to adapt the book since its publication in 1989, with the late Robin Williams circling the role of Callahan for years.

The film would mark another dramatic turn for Hill, who was just nominated for Golden Globe for his comedy “War Dogs.” Hill will next star in the upcoming pic “The Ballad of Richard Jewell” with Leonardo DiCaprio which Hill will produce and he is also set to star in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s TV series “Maniac” with Emma Stone. He is also developing his directorial debut, “Mid ’90s” with A24. He will not star in the pic.

Mara is no stranger to awards-friendly features, as she currently stars opposite Dev Patel in “Lion,” which has received love from both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. She recently wrapped production on The Weinstein Company pic “Mary Magdalene,” which is sure to fare well during next year’s awards season, and is set to star in the pop star drama “Vox Lux.”

Hill is represented by WME and LBI Entertainment, and Mara is repped by WME and Management 360.

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Jonah Hill Prepares for His Roles by Prank Calling Best Buy in Character

Vulture – On Saturday night of the New Yorker Festival, David Remnick sat down with a sweaty Jonah Hill, who made a point of assuring the audience that he was ill, not recovering from a drug binge. Across the 90-minute conversation, Hill charted his rise in Hollywood, and explained the secret methodology behind much of his character work: making prank calls to Best Buy.

In college, Hill was in the habit of making and recording prank calls, sometimes for an audience. He recounted the time he impersonated Tobey Maguire’s assistant during awards season, making a request for a hotel to house the star in along with several dog-sized aquatic animals. He continues to make slightly more mundane prank phone calls today in the effort to develop roles.

“What’s interesting is that I still do it now all the time,” Hill said. “I do it to get into character. I’m now recognizable in some ways, so I can’t really try out a character in real life, [and] the closest version of trying out a character in real life is playing a version of it over the phone.”

“Customer service is the best because they talk to you with real patience,” he continued. “I’ll just ask about different products, and complain about different products in the way that I think the character would complain about those products.”

“I usually buy something at the end,” he noted, before changing topics. “I feel bad.”

From there, the interview moved to Hill’s career arc. He’s long since transitioned from his breakout in Superbad to distinguished dramatic roles, but people still think he’s that goofy nerd (and also offer him pot all the time, even though he doesn’t smoke anymore).

“It wasn’t, like, this big drastic thing for me, it was more drastic for other people,” Hill said of the switch. “People have a hard time with change especially in their consumption of things, right? So, if I’m a product, I’m this one thing, and then I started to try other things, I think [that’s why] people had a challenge or issue with it.”

Of course, the most prominent of his dramatic films is Wolf of Wall Street. It was Hill’s childhood dream to meet Martin Scorsese, and yet working with the director still managed to exceed his expectations.

“A lot of times when [directors] are incredibly technical, their movies lose a lot of humanity,” Hill said of Scorsese. “He’s the most technically gifted, and his movies have a complete sense of freedom at the same time. It’s like a controlled chaos.”

For his role as Donnie Azoff, Hill wore a set of prosthetic teeth, which changed the way he spoke and added a noticeable lisp.

“I had to learn how to re-talk with them, and then it helped it just sound like this very specific way of speaking, which I really liked, and which we ended up using,” Hill explained. “I don’t have many props, but I still have those teeth.”

“You can use them to call Best Buy,” Remnick joked.

“I did!” Hill exclaimed, excited and totally serious. “That’s how I got used to talking with them on.”

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Peter Berg Wants Jonah Hill Opposite Dwayne Johnson in ‘The Rundown 2’

Collider – The year was 2003. Peter Berg was directing his first feature film since his debut effort Very Bad Things in 1998. Dwayne Johnson was in the very earliest days of his Hollywood film career, having appeared in 2001’s The Mummy Returns, starring in the spin-off film The Scorpion King in 2002, with a bit part as a mugger in 2001’s Longshot sandwiched in between. Berg and Johnson collaborated for the first time in the action/comedy The Rundown, with The Rock as a bounty hunter tasked with tracking down his boss’s troublemaking son (Seann William Scott) to haul him out of the jungles of Brazil. It was a wild ride, and a fun one at that, with supporting turns from both Christopher Walken and Rosario Dawson. It was such a fun experience, in fact, that Berg has been trying to get a sequel off the ground for a number of years now.

Now in 2016, Berg and Johnson still want to get The Rundown 2 up and running, and as Berg himself reveals, he wants to have none other than Jonah Hill star opposite The Rock. The writer/director told our own Steve Weintraub as much during an interview at TIFF for Berg’s film Deepwater Horizon, starring Mark Wahlberg. Berg’s proven himself to be a competent and accomplished filmmaker over the years and Johnson’s star has never burned brighter; to see Hill completing this trio would be a pure delight.

Here’s what Berg had to say when Steve brought up The Rundown 2:

Do you foresee yourself taking a bit of a break or can I get you to do The Rundown 2?
BERG: We’ve been talking about it. You know, I wanted to do it with Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. If I could get Jonah Hill, I’d do it tomorrow. If I could get Dwayne and Jonah Hill, I’d do it tomorrow.

Do you think that’s even possible?
BERG: Anything’s possible. We want to do it, it’s just hard to get everybody, you know. It’s on our minds. We actually wrote a script. But I want Jonah Hill, so reach out to Jonah. Pressure Jonah to do it. If Jonah Hill would do it, I’m in.

I’d love to know what’s in that script: Will the team be heading back to the jungles of Brazil or to some new locale altogether? What role would Hill play in the sequel? We won’t find out unless we get the word out!

If you’d love to see Berg return to direct Johnson in a sequel to The Rundown, and especially if you’d love to see Hill join the party, put some social media pressure on old Jonah. It’s bound to be more effective than any online petition you’ve ever signed.

In the meantime, Berg’s Deepwater Horizon will open in theaters September 30th. His next film, currently in post-production, is Patriots Day, a dramatic retelling of the events of the Boston Marathon bombing, also starring Wahlberg. That film opens in limited release on December 21st before opening wide on January 13, 2017.

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