Jay Baruchel Resented Having to Exploit His Personal Beef With Jonah Hill for ‘This Is the End‘
Forty-one-year-old Baruchel has had an admirable career arc as a skinny-dweeb-turned-snarky-hipster-softboi over his two decades in the movie business, but that last part — the business — has never sat well with him. As the latest film to feature Baruchel’s talents, BlackBerry, continues to draw rave reviews, the actor took time to talk to The Last Laugh Podcast about his love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with “the industry” and all its ego and consumerism.
Specifically, Baruchel addressed how the 2013 hit comedy This Is the End required him to exploit his real-life acrimony with his in-film antagonist Jonah Hill for on-screen sparks. “Jonah and I don’t get along super well, or at least didn’t back then,” Baruchel admitted of his Knocked Up, How to Train Your Dragon and Night at the Museum 2 co-star. When told that his distaste comes through in the comedy film where celebrities are supposed to be playing a fictionalized version of themselves, Baruchel’s response was a curt and concise, “Yeah, no fucking shit it does!”
“It was this weird thing of mining personal shit,” Baruchel said of filming This Is the End with his archnemesis. “But not for catharsis, just for comedy.” Baruchel and Hill’s scenes stick out as the most memorable and enduringly quotable moments 10 years after the comedy grossed $126 million on a $36 million budget, but, for Baruchel, that success came at a price. Baruchel says that the humor between them came about “in just the most commoditized, capitalist way of like, we’re going to dig up real personal shit, but nobody’s going to go home feeling better about it. We’re just going to turn it into a fucking product.”
Baruchel says that, during filming, he thought that This Is the End would end up being one of his worst films, saying, “I was convinced it was going to be terrible. And I had to eat a bunch of crow about it, which is good, because I’d rather be in a good movie than a bad movie. I don’t want, just for the sake of being proven right, to be in a shitty movie, that would be fucking terrible.” Ironically, the turning point in Baruchel’s opinions of the project came when he was watching footage of Hill.
“I saw the first rough cut and I was like, ‘Holy fuck, this is funny as fuck. And Jonah is very good in it,’” said Baruchel. “That’s when I knew it was a good movie, was when I was laughing at Jonah’s shit that I never once found funny on set. And then in the movie I actually found myself laughing.”
This isn’t the first time Baruchel has hinted that the discord between him and Hill didn’t need much scripting — when Larry King asked Baruchel about his and Hill’s relationship in 2017, he was slightly softer in his response, saying, “It was contentious once upon a time. But I think now, we’re each the devil the other one knows.”
Clearly, This Is The End was much less fictionalized in the representations of its star-studded cast than we realized. Steer clear of Michael Cera when he’s on coke, everyone — and don’t share a porn mag with Danny McBride.