While Jonah Hill's comedy buddy Seth Rogen struggles to bring The Green Hornet to the screen, Hill has enjoyed smooth sailing developing The Adventurer's Handbook, based on Mick Conefrey's self-help-book about lessons from history's great explorers. Hill co-wrote the movie, about buddies discovering the book and going on a real-life adventure.
Tonally inspired by The Goonies, Handbook will star Hill alongside his Forgetting Sarah Marshall co-star Jason Segal and Jason Schwartzman as regular guys who try to survive situations that Indiana Jones would face with ease. "I've actually had the greatest time ever working with Universal on that movie," Hill said in a group interview Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was promoting the comedy Funny People. "Literally, it's been the most wonderful experience of my life so far."
Universal production executive Donna Langley has shepherded Hill's career, casting him in Accepted after seeing his cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She bought the script that Hill co-wrote with Matt Spicer and Max Winkler.
"I wrote it with two of my best friends," Hill said. "Immediately, we wrote one part for Jason Segal and one part for Jason Schwartzman, and they both are in it, so that worked out. We wanted our friend Akiva [Schaffer] to direct it, and he's directing it. We wanted Working Title to produce it with me, since it was my first movie."
Hill sought assistance as much for production know-how as to ensure an aesthetic vision for the film. "We wanted to bring in a more independent producer to make sure stylistically it wouldn't get too big and Hollywood," Hill said. "She let us bring in Anthony Bregman, who produced Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Working Title produced all the Coen Brothers movies. It's honestly been a dream."
Perhaps Hill feels a little guilty that his buddy Rogen is struggling to make his blockbuster? Hill's adventure movie is right on track. "Sorry that it's so overwhelmingly positive, but we're going in April," Hill said. "It's incredibly fun and interesting. We worked for three years on the script before we sold it, so it wasn't like we had a tremendous amount of work to do. It wasn't like we got hired to write a script and had to go from there. We optioned the book three years ago and started writing it, so it's been wonderful. Schwartzman and Segal said yes, so that was incredible, and I said yes. It's been wonderful."
The Adventurer's Handbook is scheduled for a 2010 release.