Jonah Hill gets in ‘toon with his inner child genius in “Allen Gregory”

Hot off an acclaimed role in the box-office hit Moneyball, Jonah Hill is about to unleash his brand of verbose tomfoolery on the small screen with Allen Gregory, which joins FOX’s Animation Domination block tonight at 8:30. In the series, Hall gives voice to the titular 7-year-old, a spoiled snob who has lived the entirety of his short life in a privileged, home-schooled environment with his two gay dads (French Stewart, Nat Faxon). But the economy forces Allen to attend public school where he must suffer indignities visited upon him by the great unwashed.

Hill spoke with reporters this week about making a transition to TV, and how involved he is in even the show’s finest details:

On getting the chance to develop a character week after week:  “It’s exciting. With a film, it’s over with and that character is done with. And with a show, it’s cool to see them grow and change and what happens to them over time.”

On what viewers might like about his seemingly unlikable character: “I think the thing that they’ll love about him is he has all this false bravado and condescension and arrogance and everything that’s all covering up the fact that he’s just insecure and wants to be accepted by these people. I think that’s my favorite kind of character to watch is someone who acts like they don’t care about anything, but really cares more than anybody else.”

On how Allen Gregory fits in with the rest of Animation Domination: “We want to do our own thing and being unique and different than those was really important as opposed to trying to fit in with them. That being said, I think people will connect it, if you like The Simpsons and Family Guy, you would like our show because it’s irreverent and different and has an original as those two shows were and are. I don’t think you’d want more of the same. I think you want something different, but that’s why those shows are so successful, because when they came out, they were so different.”

On the show’s visual style: “We wanted the whole show to feel like it was ripped from like the New Yorker and we showed the animators like Capote and watch [Wes] Anderson movies to have a feel like across here style of animation. And Allen Gregory, we just wanted it juxtaposed with his awful attitude to have it be juxtaposed by the more adorable looking kid aesthetically.”

On the extent of his day-to-day involvement: “Everything from how a lamp looks to what color someone’s tie should be up to the jokes and Jarred Paul, Andy Mogel and myself and David Goodman who ran Family Guy for a long time, we write the episode and we have a staff and we oversee the animation, the animation company, Bento Box. And it’s such a wonderful process and when I’m off shooting a movie, I’ll write and read scripts at night and give notes and watch cuts and give notes and rewrite and do all that stuff from set.”

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