When comedy and drama stars turn to fist fights and shoot-outs
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Jonah Hill, '21 Jump Street'
One benefactor of Seth Rogen's public campaign to be taken seriously as an action hero in "The Green Hornet" was his (assumed) friend and former colleague Jonah Hill. Like Rogen, the other half of the "Superbad" duo is also a screenwriter and took a hands on approach to bringing the long awaited movie version of "21 Jump Street" to life. Hill also lost a ton of weight to play the undercover cop, but he was smart enough to cast an actor with more action credentials, Channing Tatum, as his on screen partner. Sony Pictures and Hill benefited from an unexpected mix of positive events before the picture's release this past March. Less than six months before release, Hill surprisingly stole the show in "Moneyball" which landed him his first Oscar nomination; Tatum was coming off his first $100 million blockbuster of the year, "The Vow"; there was unexpected audience goodwill and recollections of the original TV series; and, surprise, the movie was actually fantastic. These factors all helped overshadow the fact Hill really looked, um, sort of odd after losing all that weight. Does the success of "Jump Street" mean Hill be beating up bad guys in other films down the road? Probably not, but he'll be back in the already announced "21 Jump Street 2."
-- Gregory Ellwood