Career Curve: The Rise and Falling Weight of Jonah Hill

Check out Jonah Hill's film career in photos.

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Jonah Hill's career has been a study in hard work and perseverance, as it's taken him less than a decade to transform himself from corpulent clown to a guy who can play it straight--and he's dropped dozens of pounds. How'd he do it?
His first movie role was in "I (Heart) Huckabees", David O. Russell's 2004 mess of a satire starring Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin and Mark Wahlberg. He auditioned for the part at the urging of Hoffman, whose kids were friends of the aspiring actor. Hoffman's kids had been huge fans of the short plays that Hill used to put on in New York City.
Next was a small role in "40-Year-Old Virgin", as the creepy customer who wanted to buy the platform fishbowl shoes for sale in Katherine Keener's eBay store. It was another small role, but the first where he actually made an impression.
Universal Pictures
For the next few years, Hill had minor parts in minor films, until Judd Apatow cast him again as "Jonah," one of Seth Rogen's layabout roommates in "Knocked Up" in 2007. Not a huge part, but his stock was clearly rising in "Apa-town."
Universal Pictures
Hill's big break finally came in 2007, when he was cast as Michael Cera's sidekick, Seth, in "Superbad", which followed our heroes on their final night on the high school party circuit as they make one last bid for beer and girls. Like a lot of Hill's early films, it was a surprise hit. Now they're no longer surprises.
By this point Hill was an established name, if not quite a leading man, but he continued to take smaller roles while waiting for larger ones to come along, most notably in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", starring Jason Segel as a recently dumped man.
Hill stole every scene he was in, playing a panting fanboy blown away by Aldous Snow, the preening rock God played by Russell Brand, a role which would ultimately lead to a much larger part.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Hill stayed bury in 2009, co-starring as Ricky Gervais' suicidal neighbor in <i>The Invention of Lying</i>, and taking roles in <i>Funny People</i> and <i>Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian</i>.
Paramount Pictures
But it was 2010 that saw Hill blow up, first voicing the Viking Snoutlot in the surprise hit "How to Train Your Dragon", which made giant buckets of money and has a sequel in the works.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Hill proved he was more than just a clown with his darkly comic role in the Duplass brothers' fantastic Oedipal love triangle, "Cyrus," in which Hill's titular character finds himself fighting for the attentions of his mother, Marisa Tomei, with a new boyfriend, John C. Reilly.
Universal Pictures
He followed that up with "Get Him to the Greek", a spin-off of "Sarah Marshall", in which his old character gets a new first name and is tasked with transporting a crazy rock star from London to LA in 72 hours, a task that proves far more difficult than he'd imagined.
Reviews were mixed, and the third act was considered a disaster even by those of us who liked it, but Hill showed that he could hold an audience for 90 minutes and go face-to-face with a personality as strong as Russell Brand's.
Paramount Pictures
Hill's fourth and final film of 2010 was "Megamind", alongside Will Farrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt, in which he voiced a man accidentally turned into a super villain. It capped off a year in which his four films made more than $430 million, and each scored a 73% or better on "Rotten Tomatoes".
Columbia Pictures
Now Hill's poised to break new ground all over again, as he's been reunited with Pitt for "Moneyball", an adaptation of Michael Lewis' book about how general manager Billy Beane built the 2002 Oakland A's by sifting through new statistics to identify undervalued ballplayers he could sign for cheap.
For fans of the book, Hill's casting as a character based on Beane's former assistant Paul DePodesta, seemed absurd. Hill at the time was still a wee round, if you will, while DePodesta graduated <i>cum laude</i> from Harvard, where he'd played both baseball and football. But early reviews have been largely positive.
20th Century Fox
But Hill's first year as a full-fledged "movie star" is far from over, with "The Sitter", Hill's riff on/ode to the '80s classic "Adventures in Babysitting", coming in December.
Oh, and he's the voice of the title character on Fox's new prime-time cartoon, "Allen Gregory", about a 7-year-old genius forced to go to school with kids his own age when his father's boyfriend decides he doesn't want to be a stay-at-home dad. The show debuts in October.
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Hill unveiled his new bod at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, during which he joked, "The only thing now is that people keep saying, ‘Now that you’ve lost weight, you’re probably not funny anymore.'"
And in March, Hill's newly svelte physique will get its first screen time in his film adaptation of "21 Jump Street", as he and Channing Tatum play youthful cops infiltrating high schools to fight crime. Yes, Johnny Depp will make an appearance.
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We can also look forward "Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse" in 2012. Jonah Hill's career is in damn fine shape.
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