Jonah Hill has dominated this week’s Hollywood news cycle, after a TMZ video leaked over the weekend of the actor using a gay slur when confronted by a paparazzo. On Tuesday, an emotionally distraught Hill appeared on the “Tonight Show” to apologize. Earlier that day, the 30-year-old actor expressed similar remorse for his homophobic remark on Howard Stern’s radio show.
But attendees at Wednesday night’s world premiere in New York of Hill’s upcoming release, “22 Jump Street,” were surprised to see a scene in the movie eerily resembles the actor-producer’s real-life scandal.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead.
Midway through the film, the undercover cop characters played by Hill and his co-star Channing Tatum are in a university library, trying to eavesdrop on a gang of drug dealers. When it looks like their cover is about to be revealed, Hill shoves Tatum to his knees, suggesting a sexual act. A drug dealer spots them in the stacks, and believes they really are a gay couple, at which point he utters the same slur that Hill was heard saying on the tape.
But instead of ignoring him, Tatum’s character loses his temper.
“In 2014, you can’t say the word ‘faggot,’” Tatum’s character says in a lengthy diatribe. As a result of the outburst, the drug dealers realize that Hill and Tatum are undercover cops, and a violent chase ensues. The heroes of the film don’t seem to mind. “22 Jump Street” argues, as Hill did on TV, that gay slurs must be eliminated from our daily vernacular.
At Wednesday’s premiere, Hill showed up for press photos but ditched the red carpet, refusing to answer any questions from journalists. He also didn’t attend the afterparty, although he was a large part of chatter about the film.
People close to Hill say he is emotionally devastated over his remarks and that family members and reps have been consoling him ever since the weekend incident.
Officials from Sony Pictures, which bankrolled “22 Jump Street” and will release the movie June 13, say Hill plans to participate in the film’s press junket in New York this week.