When he blasted onto the movie scene in the 2007 comedy Superbad, Jonah Hill had everyone whispering one name -- Chris Farley.
The industry had been lacking a funny fat guy persona and Hill fit the bill completely. In the roles following Superbad, Hill, now 28, established himself as a major player in the movie industry, and in an astonishingly short amount of time. Making his mark in the same class as actors like Seth Rogen, Emma Stone and Russell Brand, Hill had become a fan favorite with his outlandish roles, taking a path similar to Farley's.
In the past year, the once husky Hill has dropped much of the weight that many said added to his comedic appeal. But the recent Oscar nominee doesn't seem to be bothered by the noise about his new physique, as he is apparently trying to step out of the Farley shadow and take his career down a different path.
Hill recently explained that his highly publicized weight loss was actually bought on by an intention to get more serious roles.
After so many blockbuster comedies that made him recognizable on the big screen -- Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, to name a few -- Hill began to turn down roles that resembled ones he had portrayed before.
I'm almost 30 years old. I'm not a foul-mouthed 17-year-old kid who's trying to get laid . . . I'm an adult man who takes his work really seriously, Hill told ABC.
I'm an actor, I'm not a comedian, I never was a comedian, he added.
Hill's attitude towards his career path has paid off, thanks to an Oscar nomination for his role in Moneyball. Hill is up for Best Supporting Actor for playing the Oakland A's young assistant GM Peter Brand. Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Nick Nolte and Max von Sydow are also up for the prize, to be handed out Feb. 26.
I came out in comedies when I was first introduced to people, and very few people, like Tom Hanks and Robin Williams, have been able to transition . . . To have this kind of recognition -- it means I should do more dramas. I don't know if there could be a bigger sign, Hill told the Los Angeles Times following the nominations announcement in January.
Hill is right.
And after kicking his career off by playing to the Farley persona -- and having much success doing it -- the star with a bright future has diverged from that façade and found a new path to travel down -- one that hopefully will involve more Oscar nominations.