Jonah Hill opens up about why he got so emotional the first time he showed his directorial debut, 'Mid90s,' to an audience

Jason GuerrasioJonah Hill getting choked up during a standing ovation for his film ‘Mid90s’ at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Jonah Hill was visibly emotional the first time he showed his directorial debut, “Mid90s,” to an audience.
  • He told Business Insider what it was that got him so choked up that night.

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “Mid90s,” is a culmination of four years of his work to hone an authentic story that spotlights his love of skateboarding by telling a coming-of-age movie about a kid looking for acceptance.

So it’s understandable that he would get emotional after showing the movie to an audience for the first time – especially seeing he was given a standing ovation for the work.

That’s just what happened in September when “Mid90s” was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. As the credits rolled, Hill came out to a roaring ovation by the audience, who were all standing. He was clearly taken by the moment, as he turned away and fought back tears before introducing his young cast and having a Q&A with the audience.

A month later, Business Insider sat down with Hill and asked him to explain what was going through his mind that night at TIFF. It turns out, it was a lot more than the love from the crowd that got to him.

“What you guys didn’t see was backstage the kids were all hysterical crying,” Hill told Business Insider of his young cast’s reaction to seeing the movie. “Once I saw them backstage I was a mess, so I was trying to hold it together to go out onstage.”

Moneyball‘Moneyball’/Columbia PicturesJonah Hill (R) said he got emotional the first time he saw his Oscar-nominated performance in the 2011 film ‘Moneyball.’

Hill recalled the emotional feeling he got when he saw his performance in the 2011 movie “Moneyball” for the first time at the TIFF world premiere (Hill would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for the role).

“I had never seen my hard work pay off in that way,” he said.

He wanted the “Mid90s” cast to have the same experience, so he didn’t let them see the movie until that night at the world premiere.

“I realised what they saw, as young people, is if you work hard, here’s what you can accomplish. It tore me up,” he said. “So I walked out there, and of course getting a standing ovation as a filmmaker is pretty much the biggest dream I could ever have. I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker my whole life. But why I got choked up was I was carrying the emotion of those kids. It was the most surreal emotional feeling of my life.”

“Mid90s” is currently playing in theatres and will expand nationwide on Friday.

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