When it comes to writing about movie rumors, there’s reasonable speculation, and then there’s leaps into the impossible. IESB.net got their hands on a tidbit about Jonah Hill’s casting/not-casting in Transformers 2, and while the anecdote is definitely interesting, the conclusion they draw from it seems a little out-there.
Their tipster wrote, “Apparently, Jonah was more or less offered the part in the room, but then had to go into Bay's office to read the script - because it's so super top secret and the plot is so extra-specially complex, you know.”
“Jonah sits down, opens the script. The character of the chubby sidekick is named "Jonah." How perfect. Jonah reads 20 pages of the script, puts it down, and silently walks out of the room. Wants no part of it. Next thing you know, his reps call Bay, he's off the project.”
OK, first things first: Damn, Jonah Hill, that is bold! Walking out on one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful (well, financially at least) directors requires major cajones, and might have been a move a bit too ballsy for an up-and-coming actor like Hill. But, speculating on why Hill had an issue with the script, IESB suggests “the character of Sam Witwicky's (Shia LaBeouf) sidekick, Jonah (aptly named - someone assumed too much) was written like the same ol' tubby bastard comic relief roles Hill has been playing for years now i.e. Strange Wilderness, Knocked Up, Superbad, Grandma's Boy etc. A stereotype I think he would want to break sooner rather than later.”
It’s a decent theory, but it goes at odds with what Hill said about turning down the role last month: ““I'm not proven yet. I've only been in one movie that people have seen that I've been the lead in so like, um, I could still suck in people's minds, they don't know yet!” Sure, he might be making things nice for the reporters, but he’s right—he doesn’t have the established career yet to move away from the roles that made him famous. Playing a chubby sidekick named Jonah in a movie like Knocked Up is really different from playing a chubby sidekick named Jonah in Transformers 2-- the difference between a PG-13 and an R rating alone could change the character entirely.
I can’t exactly figure what made Hill turn the role down—maybe he thought it was too small? Maybe the script just sucks in general? But I have a feeling we’ll see him play a chubby sidekick or two before his career either transforms into something bigger, or just fades away. When you’re 24 and quickly establishing yourself as a star, you don’t kill the golden goose until you know you’ve made it for good.