Jonah Hill Thoughtfully Reflects On His Fluctuating Weight Issues Since Childhood
By Paige Gawley
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Jonah Hill is opening up about his lifelong struggle with weight and self-acceptance.
The 34-year-old actor stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, where he discusses how his directorial debut, Mid90s, inspired him to release a free magazine called Inner Children. The publication focuses on self-love through interviews -- which he says were "some of the most meaningful conversations" of his life -- with everyone from Hill's therapist to Behati Prinsloo to Michael Cera.
"I think everybody has a version of themselves... at some point in your life the person you're trying to kind of hide from the world," Hill says of growing up uncertain about yourself. "Even if you get success or you grow up or you become good looking or whatever, the things that you think will fix the thing, you kind of carry some part of that with you."
Hill continues by reading the manifesto at the start of the magazine, which he dedicates to his 14 year old self -- a kid he describes as "being overweight, wanting to fit in with these skaters and hip-hop kids, just feeling lonely and maybe not understanding my own worth."
"I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive. And it's only in the last four years writing and directing my movie, Mid90s, that I've started to understand how much that hurt and got into my head," he reads. "I really believe everyone has a snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young that they're ashamed of. For me, it's that 14-year-old overweight and unattractive kid who felt ugly to the world, who listened to hip-hop and who wanted so badly to be accepted by this community of skaters."
The flick -- a story set in the '90s that follows a 13-year-old boy riddled with uncertainty as he navigates growing up in an abusive home and trying to fit in with the skater community -- made Hill want to open up about his own struggles.
"What I found amazing about [the magazine] is it was really a companion piece to writing and directing Mid90s because, to me, this movie is about learning to love yourself and finding a community of people that accepts you and how imperfect life is," Hill says. "It took a long time, honestly until right now, for me to come out as sort of the person, the artist, mind, what I represent, how I feel, how I'd like to be spoken to, how I speak to the world in a way that actually represents who I am as a person as opposed to me trying to be something else that I'm not."
DeGeneres, 60, concurs with Hill's message and speaks to how actors use their career to cover up their true self.
"We enter into this business -- especially actors and actresses -- first of all looking for approval, looking for love, to fill a void and also to kind of become other people to avoid being exactly who we are," she says. "A lot of people get stuck into that role playing instead of just knowing who you are. So it's very cool that you have found who you are and love who you are because you're a brilliant man. I'm glad you love yourself!"
"I'm under construction like we all are," Hill responds.
Most recently, Hill went through a physical transformation of sorts for his role in Maniac, a new Netflix series he stars in with Emma Stone and Justin Theroux. Last September, he was spotted on set looking a thin as ever, while wearing his hair in braids and rocking tattoos.
ET caught up with the actor last month where he gushed about the project, most notably about working with 29-year-old Stone, his long time pal and former Superbad co-star.
"She's so good, so brilliant," Hill told ET's Kevin Frazier. "I get to be friends with artists I really admire, that's pretty amazing. And watching someone I've been friends with for so long become so gifted and so recognized is special."
Watch the video below for more of Hill's on-screen transformation: