Jonah Hill Opens Up About 'Nearly 20 Years' of Anxiety Attacks, Ceasing Promo Appearances to Protect Mental Health

Image via Getty/Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Image via Getty/Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Jonah Hill is taking more steps to protect his health.

On Wednesday the Oscar-nominated actor shared a lengthy statement in which he explained his decision to halt promotional tours indefinitely. Hill penned the letter after he finished directing and starring in Stutz, a full-length documentary named after his therapist Dr. Phil Stutz. According to Deadline, the project will explore the 38-year-old’s mental health journey and highlight resources for people dealing with similar issues.

“The whole purpose of making this film is to give therapy and the tools I’ve learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film,” he wrote. “Through this journey of self-discovery within the film, I have come to the understanding that I have spent nearly 20 years experiencing anxiety attacks, which are exacerbated by media appearances and public facing events.”

Hill went on to say Stutz is slated to screen at prestigious film festivals this fall. In an effort to protect his well-being, Jonah has decided not to promote the documentary or any of his upcoming films in person, including the Netflix comedy You People directed by Kenya Barris.

“I can’t wait to share [Stutz] with audiences around the world in the hope that it will help those struggling. However, you won’t see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself,” the Don’t Look Up star continued. “If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn’t be acting true to myself or to the film.”

Hill acknowledged he was fortunate enough to take time off of work without the fear of losing his job, but hopes his decision will further normalize self-care. I hope the work will speak for itself and I’m grateful to my collaborators, my business partners and to all reading this for your understanding and support,” he concluded.

You can read Hill’s full message below.

“I have finished directing my second film, a documentary about me and my therapist which explores mental health in general called Stutz. The whole purpose of making this film is to give therapy and the tools I’ve learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film. Through this journey of self-discovery within the film, I have come to the understanding that I have spent nearly 20 years experiencing anxiety attacks, which are exacerbated by media appearances and public facing events.

I am so grateful that the film will make its world premiere at a prestigious film festival this fall, and I can’t wait to share it with audiences around the world in the hope that it will help those struggling. However, you won’t see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself. If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn’t be acting true to myself or to the film.

I usually cringe at letters or statements like this but I understand that I am of the privileged few who can afford to take time off. I won’t lose my job while working on my anxiety. With this letter and with Stutz, I’m hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff. So they can take steps towards feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their issues more clearly.

I hope the work will speak for itself and I’m grateful to my collaborators, my business partners and to all reading this for your understanding and support.”

Hill’s letter arrives amid the 15th anniversary of Superbad, his 2007 breakout film co-starring Michael Cera. In celebration of the classic comedy, Vanity Fair published an oral history featuring cast and crew. The piece was filled with all sorts of gems, including Hill’s immediate dislike for Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin) during the audition phase.

Producer Judd Apatow recalled, “In the audition, [Mintz-Plasse] was very caustic and attacked Jonah and did improvs insulting Jonah. … Jonah said, ‘I don’t like that guy. I don’t want him doing it.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly why we’re hiring him. It couldn’t be more perfect. The fact that it bothers you is exactly what we want.’”

Though Hill admitted he didn’t immediately enjoy Mintz-Plasse’s company, he quickly realized he was perfect for the role.

“Chris was really, really amazing off the bat,” Hill said. “And I think he was really annoying to me at that time.”

You can read the full oral history of Superbad at Vanity Fair.

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