Actors are often part of a star-studded ensemble for a movie because of which they might have to go the extra mile to stand out. It looks like this is exactly what happened to actor Jonah Hill when he played Donnie Azoff in The Wolf of Wall Street. Surrounded by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Bernthal, Martin Scorsese, and more, Jonah Hill just had to stand out.
That’s exactly what he did when he had to fire a guy for cleaning his fish bowl on an important day. Jonah Hill talks about the time he had to “swallow” a live goldfish for a scene in the movie. As disgusting as it sounds, it was a necessary evil. However, worry not as Jonah Hill didn’t actually swallow the fish. He couldn’t. The goldfish had bought bodyguards from PETA with it!
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Jonah Hill ‘Almost’ Swallows a Goldfish
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The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir written by former stockbroker and trader Jordan Belfort therefore the film had to be true to life. Jonah Hill plays Donnie Azoff who, in real life, ate a goldfish and Hill just had to bring that to the screens. In an interview with Grantland, Hill stated that while he didn’t want to eat the goldfish for his “Personal joy”, that was just what the role demanded from him.
He added that everyone on the set was giving it their hundred and ten percent and he didn’t want to be the only one not doing so. He just had to up his game. However, PETA wasn’t going to let it slide easily. They sent three animal wranglers for the goldfish and Hill was allowed to keep the fish in his mouth for only three seconds tops before he was told to spit it back in the water.
“They wouldn’t let me eat a real goldfish. I didn’t want to for my own personal joy but I want everything that could be real to be real. We couldn’t do drugs all the time because that wouldn’t have been healthy, but everyone was going so hard on this movie, you didn’t want to be the person who wasn’t. PETA wouldn’t let me eat a real goldfish so they had a real goldfish and, on set, they had three goldfish handlers. Three real human goldfish wranglers. And I could keep it in my mouth for three seconds at a time and then we had to put it back in water.”
In an interview with Conan O’Brien, Hill stated that it was a three-cent carnival goldfish who would’ve probably died an hour after it left the set, as goldfishes are known to do. However, Hill respected PETA’s wishes and the fish’s “Life and honor” and was ready to do the necessary. As if putting a live fish in his mouth wasn’t disgusting enough, Hill recalled that the moment he put the fish in his mouth, it went bathroom.
“And I’m not kidding, in the first take it went bathroom in my mouth…I would like to hope it was pee.”
The things actors have to do, right? The scene was almost equally as difficult to watch as it must have been for the 21 Jump Street actor!
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In the scene where Brad Bodnick (Jon Bernthal) had to punch Donnie, the takes with fake punches were just not making the cut. Martin Scorsese wasn’t a fan of those scenes as the punch simply didn’t look realistic enough. His solution? Hill must get punched by Bernthal for real. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hill recalls the entire incident.
“I had stayed in character that whole time with him, and had kind of been talking sh*t to him in the makeup trailer every day. And I was like ‘Oh, it’s just acting.’ […] We go back in the room. Marty’s in there going, ‘It looks stupid. It looks fake.’ Leo and I are sitting on a tiny little couch, and Jon is pacing back and forth, and I’m not scared because, you know, it’s just a movie. And Marty’s like, ‘Why don’t you try hitting him for real?'”
While he looked for some reassurance from Leonardo DiCaprio, getting punched by Bernthal was inevitable. However, all’s well that ends well as the team got their perfect shot and the scene became one of Hill’s favorites that he has acted in. Regardless, from getting punched to almost swallowing a goldfish, Hill certainly gave the role his best!