And it was there that a young Jonah Hill befriended actor Dustin Hoffman’s son, Jake Hoffman.
Hill, now 30, told The Jewish Journal that the Hoffman family came to be hugely influential in his life — especially his career.
In fact, it was performing prank phone calls for Dustin Hoffman that ultimately led to Hill becoming an actor.
“I used to make crank phone calls for him,” Hill said. Hoffman had friends he’d have Hill call, as well as assorted strangers; the goal was to get the person to buy into the conversation for as long as possible. “I had this bit where I’d phone people, pretend to be a celebrity’s assistant and ask for outlandish things,” Hill said. In one call to a seedy hotel during Oscar season, he pretended to be Tobey Maguire’s assistant and got the owner to agree to install a tank for a pet seal. “I’ve always said crank calls are one of the best improv exercises you can do, because you’re never put on the spot that heavily in a scene,” Hill said. “It’s the most jagged, manoeuvrable situation possible because you’re dealing with a real person.”
Apparently, Hoffman thought so, too, because he helped get Hill a bit part in his 2004 film “I Heart Huckabees” — the break that eventually led to Apatow’s “40-Year-Old Virgin.”
Hill has since gone on to star in more serious films such as “Cyrus” and “Moneyball” alongside Brad Pitt, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
But the Hoffman/Hill storyline came full circle in “Wolf of Wall Street,” in which Hill got to share the screen in a few scenes with his longtime pal Jake, who played Steve Madden in the Scorsese flick.
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