Earlier this year, some somewhat surprising but nonetheless exciting news surfaced in the form of actor Jonah Hill setting up his directorial debut. The 32-year-old is getting behind the camera on an original project called Mid-90s, which boasts Scott Rudin as one of its producers and is a coming-of-age drama set in the skateboarding scene of mid-90s Los Angeles. Given that Hill’s resume boasts work with directors like Martin Scorsese, Judd Apatow, Bennett Miller, Phil Lord & Chris Miller, and Quentin Tarantino, he’s had a pretty fantastic prep course in filmmaking, and so it’s with considerable anticipation that we await Mid-90s.
As such, during the press day for Hill’s new film War Dogs, Collider’s own Steve Weintraub asked the actor for an update on Mid-90s. He revealed that filming starts in February, and not only is Rudin producing the film, but so is Foxcatcher and Moneyball director Bennett Miller. He declined to reveal any of the cast just yet, and while Hill knows full well that the premise of the picture sounds generic, he cited some curious influences on the movie:
“It’s sort of like a coming-of-age drama—it’s the most boring elevator pitch in the world, but it takes place in a skateboarding scene in the mid-90s in L.A…. Skateboarding’s always been put on screen as a joke or an 80s cowabunga kind of trope, and it’s more in the tone of Kids or This Is England. Those are kind of the movies that I’m influenced by the most.”
Filmmaker Harmony Korine’s 1995 teen drama Kids was a breakthrough indie in the mid-90s that took a “day-in-the-life” approach to a group of sexually active teenagers during the height of the AIDS epidemic, while Shane Meadows’ 2006 British drama This Is Englad took a similarly specific approach to chronicling the life of a group of young skinheads in 1983 England.
As Hill cites both of these films as influences on Mid-90s, we can reasonably expect something much more dramatic and unflinching than, say, a teen skateboarding comedy. Not to say there won’t be humor, but it sounds like Hill is more interested in understanding these characters on a foundational level, which is an exciting angle. And given the fact that Hill wrote the script for the A24 film himself, it’s no doubt a personal project. Color me intrigued.