Jonah Hill Gets Honest About Body Issues In Netflix Doc ‘I Have No Self-Esteem’

Jonah Hill in Stutz
(Image credit: Netflix)

Jonah Hill has always been such a talented comedic actor with his great movies like Superbad, The Wolf of Wall Street, Moneyball, 21 Jump Street movies, and more. But just because a comedian is capable of making people laugh does not mean they aren’t going through struggles of their own. The 38-year-old actor directed his own documentary where he gets honest about his body issues and having “no self-esteem.”

Following his directorial debut Mid90s, Jonah Hill documents his therapy sessions with renowned psychiatrist Phil Stutz delving into his cognitive-behavioral therapy methods and their working relationship together. As told in the Netflix documentary Stutz (opens in new tab), the triple-threat actor/writer/director spoke about having “no self-esteem” due to his body issues.

I had no healthy self esteem. Having grown up overweight was something that sounds like not a big deal, or like, 'Poor you' or whatever. But for me, personally, it intensely fucked me up.

Stutz introduced the Superbad actor to the concept of a “shadow” which is the version of yourself you want to hide from the world. Jonah Hill recognized that he couldn’t get over growing up being overweight. We’ve seen Hill’s weight fluctuate as he was transforming into an adult. A noticeable change in his weight was his appearance at ESPN’s ESPY Awards in 2011 saying he lost 40 pounds. We were able to see him show off his slimmer figure for the first time when he was in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 trailer along with Avatar’s Sam Worthington. 

According to Total Shape, the secret behind Hill’s weight loss was by replacing all of the beer and pizza he used to consume with a lot of sushi instead. He was also recommended by his 21 Jump Street co-star Channing Tatum to get a personal trainer. He dabbled in jiu-jitsu, boxing, and trained at Gotham Gym for at least eight hours. Hill then had to gain weight to be in the intense and hilarious movie War Dogs but dropped a ton of weight in 2017 after seeing a nutritionist who recommended he keep a food journal to track his calories. 

Another concept introduced by Stutz was a “snapshot” of the perfect experience you seek out. While looking at a large cardboard cutout of his 14-year-old as an overweight teenager, Hill continued to talk about the illusion of believing success and fame would take away the inner pain he was going through.

[I had] no confidence as a human being. I just didn't invest in myself and understand how to like myself. I just worked to achieve this thing, which is your idea of the snapshot[… ]I think success and awards will absolve me of the pain of life, so I work so hard to get to that snapshot.

The greatest relationship any person can have is the one with themselves as you can’t escape yourself. It’s inspiring that Jonah Hill was able to get to that place of recognition. If you just now started hearing about the Oscar-nominated actor’s documentary Stutz, it’s because he refuses to promote his movies due to his anxiety. The Sitter actor spoke about experiencing anxiety attacks for the past twenty years when making media appearances and in-person events. It makes sense if he suffered fat-shaming remarks from the media only focusing on his weight instead of his talent. 

With Jonah Hill no longer promoting his movies, he can continue focusing on making good films in front or behind the camera without worrying about media attacks. This comedic actor went candid about the pain he went through because of the media.

It made me beyond depressed. At the same time, the media kept being really brutal about my weight. It was just kind of free game for anyone to sort of hit my sore spot. I'd be so angry. It kept me from feeling any sense of being able to grow past negative feelings about myself.

In his new documentary, Jonah Hill spoke about making this documentary not for the purpose of glamorizing his therapy appointments, but to put the focus on the therapist that saved his mental health and spread awareness of the tools he learned that can help others too. If you would like to discover these life-saving mental health tools yourself, you can see Stutz on your Netflix subscription.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.