Tatum, Hill talk ‘21 Jump Street’
Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube invaded D.C., the third city on the “21 Jump Street” press tour, on Thursday, March 1. Hill and Tatum looked like the real deal, dressed up in their police uniforms with calm and collected attitudes to match.
Considering how the movie makes fun of the fact that it’s a remake of the TV show, Tatum is actually the only cast member who watched the ’80s original.
Hill said he was “aware of its cultural significance” but didn’t want to remake a TV show because he thought the whole concept “seems like a corporate cash grab.”
From the get-go, Hill acknowledged his recent accomplishments, speaking briefly about his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for “Moneyball.” To him, it was funny that, before his nomination, people expected him to prove himself as an actor by trying dramatic roles.
“I felt like when I got nominated for an Oscar I could maybe shit on not having to prove anything,” Hill said. “I don’t worry about proving anything to anyone. I just try and make great movies. I want to have a stack of DVDs I can hand to my grandchildren when I’m an old man and say this is what I spent my life doing.”
Hill and Tatum played off each other throughout the interviews, sharing jokes and completing each other’s sentences. Their friendship is natural, and it’s hard to believe they weren’t friends before filming. They insist that they got lucky and that they would have been friends regardless of acting together.
The duo was also insightful, preaching about choosing movies with good intentions rather than showing people up.
“Anything that has a chip on your shoulder is for the wrong reasons,” Hill said. “If you do anything for an ugly reason, it’s going to end up ugly. If you do things for a beautiful reason, it’s going to end up beautiful. You choose a movie because you think it’s going to be good.’”
Ice Cube shared his own words of wisdom, speaking out about being true to oneself and not conforming to images.
“If I sold out, I’m like, ‘You bought out,’ ‘cause damn, everything I was doing is right there so I must’ve been doing it right,” he said.
If anything, Ice Cube seemed relieved that his future was better than his past, laughing as he reflected on his high school experience as a b-boy. However, he said he would never go do high school all over again like in “21 Jump Street.”
Hill confirmed that the wannabe Eminem version of him from the opening scene was inspired by how he actually looked in high school. (Fun fact: The childhood pictures of him and Tatum are authentic!)
Tatum considers “21 Jump Street” his first official comedy, and credited his strong relationship with Hill, the director and the writers for his comedic success.
Most people don’t realize that this was Hill’s first movie for which he wrote a script. Ice Cube was the only actor who had a part specifically written for him because Hill “wanted the guy who wrote ‘F the Police’ to play the police captain.” Hill even included creative control of the movie’s strong language as a part of his contract.
“I said ‘I want to make a Bad Boyz-meets-John Hughes movie that’s R-rated. And if at any point it’s not that, I’m out, you lose me, and you lose my script,’” Hill said with a shrug.
“Imagine if you went halfway on all those things … it would be bad,” Tatum added.
“It would be bad, it would be soft … it would be not worthy of making,” Hill said. “I think you need go hard or you go home— that’s the only way to do these movies.”