Jonah Hill thinks the "21 Jump Street" movie he's writing and producing is going to be something special, but he's worried that he might be alone in that opinion so far.
"Apparently, the Internet thinks it's the worst idea ever!" Hill said of his big-screen adaptation of the '80s TV show that starred Johnny Depp. So, when MTV News caught up with him at the MTV Movie Awards, the "Superbad" star took the time to set the record straight and share some new details about his fresh take on the original.
"I just did this article in Complex,
and I don't think they really captured what I was trying to say," Hill said. "They put in there that I thought the show was hilarious, and I was giving an example from the first episode where he's playing saxophone. There's stuff that's pretty cartoony in there. It's an '80s show!"
But that does not mean he'll be spoofing the beloved show that launched Depp's career and a thousand Tiger Beat covers. No, Hill promised his version will be "a hard-core, R-rated movie."
So if the movie is not a parody, how would Hill describe his concept so that maybe the Internet can ratchet down the hatred a bit? "I want to phrase it exactly how I mean it: It's a comedy that is also an action movie," he explained.
Both the comedy and the action will rise from the fish-out-of-water scenario of police officers returning to high school to pose as students and conduct undercover investigative work. "What happens is they get caught up in the high school-ness as opposed to the police work," said Hill. "And whenever they get too caught up in the high school drama, police work comes in. And whenever they get too caught up in the police work, high school drama comes in."
Hill is also hoping to handle the source material with enough reverence and originality that Depp himself will join in the action. "We wrote a really awesome Johnny Depp cameo," Hill said. "I talked to his agent a few times. I've never met the man. He probably won't do it, but if he does, it will be one I think he'd be proud of, and it's a real crowd pleaser. It's not cheesy."
Whether or not Depp's planned part would have him reprising the original role of Officer Tom Hanson, Hill wouldn't reveal. But he did drop one hint about the dearly loved intro from the TV show.
"The theme song is in the film!" he said.
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