What it also was, was incredibly self-aware. That was one thing that struck star Amber Stevens (who plays Jonah Hill’s love interest) the second she read the script.
We caught up with Stevens for an exclusive interview where she dished the genius of writer-filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, how working with Hill can be hazardous to getting through a scene without cracking up laughing and how filming the spring break scenes had her feeling that she couldn’t believe she was getting paid to have so much fun.
Movie Fanatic: The word I keep saying over and over after seeing 22 Jump Street is “smart.”
Amber Stevens: It is so smart!
Movie Fanatic: Was that something that was evident from the first script you read and what struck you the most about it?
Amber Stevens: It was there that first time I read through it. Phil (Lord) and Chris (Miller) are utter geniuses as you have seen from their work on the first movie and The LEGO Movie. I love how self-aware they are that they are making a sequel and how many times it is literally thrown in the audience's face that this is a sequel. When Ice Cube talks about how much larger the budget is and how he just expects them to do the same thing, it’s crazy good.
Movie Fanatic: Most of your scenes are with Jonah Hill. Can you name one where it was hard to keep a straight face?
Amber Stevens: Yes, I don’t even have to think about it. After we spend that first night together and we realize that Jillian Bell, who plays my roommate, was there the whole time, and the way she digs into Jonah and calls him out on his age and they go back and forth with the insults, that killed me. I almost had to pull a sheet over my face while that scene was being shot so as not to ruin it because I was laughing so much. I hope more of that scene is on the DVD because I swear those two went off on each other for like so many minutes.
Movie Fanatic: You also got to go on the spring break scenes. That looked like fun, but chaos…
Amber Stevens: What so impressed me about that, and makes me even more impressed with Phil and Chris, is that that is no green screen with a CG crowd. All those people were really there that entire time we filmed those spring break scenes. Diplo was really there deejaying and it just felt like a huge party. I had to keep reminding myself that it was work. It was like I was at real spring break, and getting paid for it [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: Chris and Phil must have a talent for herding cats, because handling all those people…
Amber Stevens: I know! [Laughs] That was it exactly. There had to be thousands of people, and these two guys had control over the whole situation. And we actually got the shots we needed for the movie, and I think they came out so good. I don’t want to give away too much, but I even got in on a little action too! The entire experience was just too much fun.
Movie Fanatic: And you know what they say. If the performers are having fun, the audience does too. And that is so true with this.
Amber Stevens: 22 Jump Street just ups the ante from the first film, and I am just so proud to be a part of it.
Get ready for the big sequel and watch 21 Jump Street online.