Mid90s is one of the few recent '90s-set movie that's more about people who live in the era than about the decade itself. It's a period piece about teens, skaters, and complicated families, finding its focus in a young boy named Stevie, who aches to build a pack of his own and falls in with a group of boys who fly down the streets on their boards when they're not competing to ask each other the grossest Would You Rather? question.
It's also the directorial debut of Jonah Hill, who first rose to prominence as a side character in Judd Apatow films before becoming an Oscar-nominated mega-star playing roles opposite Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Hill talked to Thrillist about his first foray into directing, how he found his movie's fantastic young stars, and the immortal anti-establishment creed of skating. But first, he needed to tell me how much he dislikes Pepsi.
How did you know that this was the story you wanted your first film to tell?
Well-- [phone cuts out]
Are you still there? Oh boy.
Sorry, I had to look around for my phone.
OK, it's no problem.
Oh my god. I'm in a hotel that has Pepsi?? You know when you're in an establishment that's just full of Pepsi? It's insane. Do you know what I'm saying? Is that singular to me?
I -- yeah, that's very frustrating.
You know what I mean? I obviously would rather have a Diet Coke than a Diet Pepsi. Anyway. Never mind, I'm off topic. It's like the whole hotel is a Pepsi hotel. I always knew skateboarding would be a part of my first film. Originally, I wanted to be a filmmaker my whole life, like a writer and director, and then I fell into this accidental, amazing 15-year acting career and got to learn from so many amazing filmmakers. If I looked at my heroes, people that came from comedy that had amazing filmmaking careers, like Mike Nichols or Barry Levinson or Rob Reiner, if I look at their first films, they all waited to make something that really meant something to them, really came from their heart. So I took four years and waited 'til I was emotionally mature enough to have my own voice and was confident enough to have my own voice, and not make what other people thought I should be making, and that turned into Mid90s. 'Cause it comes from my heart. It is my heart.