Entertainment Weekly reported in 2008 that Jonah Hill was entering negotiations to join Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox in Michael Bay’s “Transforms” sequel. Hill’s profile was on the rise after his breakthrough role in the 2007 comedy blockbuster “Superbad,” and the second “Transformers” sequel was one of the hottest studio tentpoles in development. Hill turned down the role, and it might have had something to do with his “Superbad” co-star and writer Seth Rogen. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Rogen shared the advice he gave Hill about passing on Bay’s sequel.
As The New York Times reports: “Rogen recalled his friend Jonah Hill’s approaching him for advice after being offered a part in a ‘Transformers’ sequel. ‘I can see if Steven Spielberg’s calling you, asking you to do something, how that’s hard to turn down,’ Rogen told an interviewer, recounting the exchange. But in this case, he told Hill: ‘You want to make a movie about fightin’ robots? Make your own movie about fightin’ robots. You can do that. That’s on the table now.'”
Rogen’s advice comes from his mentality of only booking Hollywood jobs that he is interested in doing. As he writes in his upcoming book “Yearbook,” he once turned down an offer from Steven Spielberg to collaborate on a film inspired by the 1984 sci-fi movie “The Last Starfighter” because Rogen realized that he and his creative partner Evan Goldberg could just make their own movie without Spielberg at that point in their careers.
Hill must’ve taken Rogen’s words to heart as he turned down “Transformers,” opting instead to appear in a cameo role in Ben Stiller’s family comedy “Night at the Museum 2.” The comedian told MTV at the time, “I just think like I have to prove myself more in what I’m doing now, making comedies and stuff before I do the big action movie or something, you know? I’m not proven yet.”
Bay was most likely courting Hill for the “Transformers” sequel role of the LaBeouf character’s college roommate Leo Spitz, which ultimately went to actor Ramon Rodriguez. Hill followed “Superbad” with more comedic roles in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Knocked Up,” and “Get Him to the Greek,” plus indies like “Cyrus.”