Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Genre: Comedy, Action
Synopsis: After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on an athletic team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don't have to just crack the case - they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
22 Jump Street
Release Date: June 19th 2014
They're Not 21 Anymore
In 2012, audiences around the world sparked to one of the year's funniest comedies with the hit film 21 Jump Street. Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, and featuring terrific chemistry between stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street took the classic television series' premise of youthful-looking cops going undercover in a high school and made it all its own. Where the series was an earnest procedural, the film became a subversion of action comedies, with the relationship between the leads taking center stage.
'Schmidt and Jenko are an odd couple," says Jonah Hill. 'They got together because they're partners, but they really worked well together because they brought different things to the table."
That setup proved ripe for comedy – and for Channing Tatum to show off remarkable and unexpected comedy chops. 'I'd never been in a comedy before," says Channing Tatum. 'I learned to trust the process – I mean, Jonah Hill is so good, he can throw out four or five different ways of saying a line, one right after another. I trust him, and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – I'm among friends. If they're laughing, you know it's funny."
As a result, Schmidt and Jenko became an unforgettable screen couple. 'They're like Bogart and Bacall," says Phil Lord, who returns to co-direct the film with Christopher Miller, who adds, 'They had this amazing natural chemistry. They're very different, but they really respect and admire each other. They make a great yin-yang pair."
Now, in 22 Jump Street, the filmmakers take the relationship to the next level. If the first film was about forming a relationship, the new film is about what it takes to make a relationship last.
That idea dovetails nicely with the fact that the film is a sequel. Rather than approach 22 Jump Street by trying to re-create the magic – a re-tread of what came before – the filmmakers sought ways to keep it fresh… which is, of course, what we all have to do with our relationships. 'The thing that struck us about movie sequels is that, in a way, they're like the second part of a relationship," says Lord. 'In a relationship, you can try to recreate the past, but it's never going to be the same; you've got to create new and different experiences that are just as great."
'We came up with the idea of the -seven year itch,'" says producer Neal H. Moritz. 'In the first film, they didn't like each other, but came to be great friends and partners; now, their relationship has become complacent – like a marriage. That became the spine of our story."
'So, that's how we approached the movie," says Christopher Miller, picking up the thought. 'The running gag is that the plot is just like the last one – but in trying to do the same thing again, it doesn't work, and Schmidt and Jenko have to find something new."
With that in mind, it also made sense to the filmmakers that 22 Jump Street would be set in a college. 'We got inspired by the idea that Jenko and Schmidt are each other's -hometown honey' – but they go to college, and the world is opened up to them," says Phil Lord. 'They experience new things and start to wonder whether they're with the right person or not. For those of us who went to college and had friends who went through that, it seemed honest and true."
'College is about finding out who you are," says Jonah Hill, who also produces the film with Neal H. Moritz and Channing Tatum. 'For example, Schmidt has really defined himself by this partnership with Jenko. In college, he's struggling to know who he is."
Jenko, meanwhile, has found somebody with a few more of his shared interests. When their investigation leads them to look into the football team, Jenko finds a kindred spirit in Zook, the team's quarterback, played by Wyatt Russell. Before long, the bromance that seemed made in heaven is in trouble. 'Zook is kind of Jenko's man-crush," says Channing Tatum. 'There are jealousy issues immediately – and those issues get in the way of the case that Schmidt and Jenko are supposed to be working. They end up investigating separately."
Returning to the helm are Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. 'The first movie was so innately theirs; it was distinctively Phil Lord & Christopher Miller," says Channing Tatum. 'The biggest thing for me was that the tone was different – it had a refreshing feel and a tone I'd never seen in a movie before. That's why I was so happy that they wanted to come back and join us for the sequel – I knew they'd make the movie something special."
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller directed the film while simultaneously working on The Lego Movie, which has since become a worldwide hit. With their success on 21 Jump Street and their first film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller are one of the most important directorial voices in today's film comedy genre.
Though it was clear from the beginning that making 22 Jump Street feel as fresh and original as the franchise's first entry would be a challenge, it was just the kind of challenge that appealed to them. In fact, it's easy to forget that 21 Jump Street was no slam dunk until Phil Lord & Christopher Miller showed how it could be done. 'It seems like if there's a project that's really hard and there's only one way to pull it off, that's the kind of project we want to do," says Phil Lord.
'Phil Lord & Christopher Miller are two of the kindest, nicest, hardworking guys. They really know how to instill heart into their movies," says Neal H. Moritz. 'Even in a completely silly comedy scene, they know how to put heart into it and track those relationships from the beginning of the film to the end and make sure that is the center of the story."
For their part, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller were not only excited by the chance to explore the themes of the relationship, but to play with the entire idea of making an action-comedy sequel. 'What's fun about doing this kind of a movie is you get to subvert the genre," says Phil Lord. 'You go see a Neal H. Moritz movie, and you know it's going to have a cool car chase – but we've got Schmidt behind the wheel and he doesn't know how to drive."
'Other movies can do the crazy action stuff better than we can. We have to have a strong comic idea that runs through it," says Christopher Miller. 'We have to do something that has a funny idea, but also looks as badass as possible."
For example: a huge chase scene throughthe madness of Spring Break. 'That seemed really funny to us – to stage a chase scene amidst the complication of a bunch of drunken, insane college students getting wasted and flashing everybody," says Phil Lord.
The Odd Couple - Schmidt and Jenko
Though Schmidt and Jenko forged a successful partnership in 21 Jump Street, in many ways they have not changed. Schmidt remains neurotic and clingy; Jenko is still plagued by the doubt that he's not smart enough to solve a case.
Though the characters are inventions, the heart of the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko is modeled after the two real-life relationships behind the cameras: the one between Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, and the other between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
'The biggest influence we bring is understanding what it's like to be in a long-term partnership where you don't sleep together," says Phil Lord.
In fact, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller's friendship dates back to their own college days, and like Jenko and Schmidt, they had different commitments even as they ran in some of the same circles. In 22 Jump Street, Jenko goes Greek and Schmidt finds friends in the arts. In real life, Christopher Miller notes, 'I was in a fraternity, and Phil was in more of a socially progressive type of society."
Let's not mince words. 'It was hippy-dippy," says Phil Lord. 'And guess which one of those institutions is still standing? The one that's fun."
Still, to get a handle on how much things have changed since their college days, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller visited a UCLA fraternity for research. As it turns out, no research was required. 'It's all the same today as it was when we were in college," Christopher Miller concluded. 'They rage and party and take terrible care of themselves."
Meanwhile, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum became very close while filming the first film, forging a strong friendship. 'So much of the humor and heart comes from the fact that Channing Tatum and I have a rea
lly great friendship in real life," says Jonah Hill. 'Channing Tatm has no boundaries with me, and I feel the same way – I trust his opinion on things."
'Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum love each other," says Phil Lord. 'They're very different, but their instinct is not to compete with each other – they each admire what the other brings. I think that warmth is what makes it gel."
'When I watch an action-comedy – like 48 Hours or Bad Boys – I want to believe that those guys hang out after the movie, chilling at the bar," says Channing Tatum. 'That's how Jonah Hill and I are for the most part."
As anyone who saw the first film can attest, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum share a warm and natural onscreen chemistry. 'Before we shot the movie, some very smart people told us there was no way anyone would buy them as friends – they're too different and they look so strange together," says
Phil Lord. 'So we planned a bunch of scenes that would explain their friendship and we wound up taking them out of the movie because we didn't need it – their chemistry was so strong from the get-go."
'Channing Tatum is a physically gifted Adonis – our stunt guys can't believe he can do the things he does. Jonah, I'm sure, would prefer to do his comedy sitting down," says executive producer Tania Landau. 'They couldn't be more opposite, but they love each other. We try to tap that in the script – it's in there before they even read their lines."
Phil Lord says that despite Jonah Hill's screen persona, the actor shares an off-screen confidence with Channing Tatum. 'Jonah Hill likes to play a lot of underdogs, but he's a movie star," he says. 'He has so much confidence."
In 22 Jump Street, Schmidt is still having trouble forming new relationships and holding on tightly to the ones he has. 'He is so clingy that he drives people away," says Christopher Miller. 'He's the guy who won't let go and makes the people around him feel suffocated. He drives Jenko right into the arms of Zook."
On the other hand, 'Jenko feels like they have done the one big bust, and they're ready for something bigger," Channing Tatum explains, 'while Schmidt is happy as long as they can stay partners, doing whatever they have to do to get by.""
In the first film, as the characters went back to high school, their expectations were turned around – the nerdy Schmidt was now in the popular crowd, and Jenko was on the outside. Landau says that as the guys go to college, 'we wanted to flip it," she explains. 'Like a lot of people who didn't fit in when they were in high school, Schmidt expects that everything will be different in college. And Jenko worries that he's not up to snuff. But their expectations are turned around again."
Maybe those expectations were misplaced – after all, why wouldn't a football god like Jenko find a home in college? As it turns out,Channing Tatum has a real history with the sport: before he became an actor, Channing Tatum had a brief college football career. 'I had a really good school in the SEC that was ready to give me a full ride – until they saw my transcripts. My coach came up to me and said, -They just don't think you can do the work.' I ended up going to a small school in West Virginia, played for a year, and it wasn't what I wanted to do. So I came home and wrapped it up."
Still, that was long ago, and Channing Tatum isn't 19 anymore. 'I hadn't played football in 14 years," he explains. 'I've got a torn ligament in my right foot that has become a chronic thing. And I rolled my ankle two weeks into the football scenes. Even so, I loved it – it was nostalgic for me to get out there and bang heads again. It was interesting and weird to relive that time in my life, but also fun – if I'd ended up going to that school, there would have been great parts, like my parents would have been able to see me play. But who knows if I would be acting today?"
Since working on the first film, Channing Tatum has gained the confidence that he can perform in a comedy alongside Jonah Hill. Jonah Hill was always a believer in Channing Tatum's comedy skills, but says Channing Tatum has even raised his game. 'We always knew he had the ability to be funny and great in this kind of film, but it was great to see him have the confidence of knowing he wasn't going to look bad," says Jonah Hill. 'He went in there and he killed the scenes even harder."
O Captain, My Captain - Dickson
Returning to the role of Captain Dickson is Ice Cube. 'He was my childhood hero," says Jonah Hill. 'When we worked on the first one, the first thing we wrote down was that Ice Cube – the guy who wrote -F" Tha Police' – should play the police captain. It's a true childhood dream to be able to hang out with him."
Ice Cube relishes the role. 'I'm the meanest, nastiest captain of them all," says Ice Cube. 'He hates everybodyequally. You've seen nasty -Angry Black Captains' – I want to be the top notch."
While the audience saw only one side of Dickson in 21 Jump Street, moviegoers are treated to a more well-rounded character in 22 Jump Street. (Sort of.) 'We see him in a lot of different lights," Ice Cube explains. 'He's a little different with everybody, but he's still mean, nasty and angry. Even his wife is mean and nasty."
'A lot of the comedy, for us, comes between the interplay between Schmidt and Dickson," says Phil Lord. 'Schmidt is a guy who seems like he should be low status to Dickson, but considers himself an equal. That's really funny to us."
'Schmidt is that annoying kid in high school, thinking that today is going to be the day he's going to break the ice," says Ice Cube. 'There's no breaking the ice with Dickson."
Of course, when it's Ice Cube playing the role, some of that admiration and intimidation comes from real life. 'It's how we all feel about Ice Cube," says Phil Lord. 'He's iconic. He's a great director, writer, producer, rapper, and actor – we all admire him. We're dying for him to think we're cool. We can all relate to the Schmidt character."
In the supporting roles, the filmmakers cast a variety of up-and-coming actors.
In the role of Maya, who has a fling with Schmidt after the two connect at a poetry slam event at a campus coffeehouse, the filmmakers cast Amber Stevens. 'She's attracted to Schmidt – she's intrigued by his chutzpah," says Amber Stevens. 'His slam poetry is terrifyingly bad, but he's the type of guy who'll get up and do anything, and that's pretty sexy to a girl. She's not the type who just goes after the hot guy – she's interested in someone who has something to offer."
Amber Stevens also got the chance to work closely with Ice Cube, and reports that despite his tough-guy persona, she saw a different side. 'He's going to hate me for saying this, but he's a teddy bear," says Amber Stevens. 'I thought he'd be intimidating, but he's not. He's calm, friendly, and gracious to everyone in the room; he's very prepared and respectful of other people's time. I just love him."
Wyatt Russell takes on the role of Zook, the school's quarterback who forges an instant bond with Jenko. 'It's love at first sight," says Wyatt Russell. 'They develop a bromance that's very different than the one between Jenko and Schmidt. It's a football thing, a jock thing. They hit it off in a way that only people of their intellect can handle."
Wyatt Russell says that much of the humor of the film comes from the characters acting completely sincerely – even in ridiculous situations. 'My favorite scene is a video that Jenko and Zook make to show off their football skills to the big-time schools," says Wyatt Russell. 'We had to do crazy things and be weird, but we also had to be earnest – we had to be in the moment. We had a great time together, shooting that."
Jimmy Tatro takes on the role of Rooster, Zook's frat brother. 'The name Rooster obviously comes from his bright red Mohawk," says Jimmy Tatro. 'He's a jerk – he likes no one and isn't afraid to show it. He's the epitome of that frat-football guy that you would meet at every college party– and he is certainly not welcoming to these new pledges and walk-ons in his territory. His sensitive side shows when his best friend Zook starts hanging out with a new guy and he suddenly finds himself riding third wheel in their bromance."
Jimmy Tatro came to the franchise as a fan of the first film. 'I was a huge fan of 21 Jump Street," he says. 'I remember walking out of the theater with two of my buddies still laughing, we had been cracking up the whole movie and I said, -This is the hardest I've laughed since Superbad.' Then, three years later, I left the 22 Jump Street table read thinking, -If we do this right, this could be even funnier than the first one.'"
Jillian Bell, the rising star of Comedy Central's series 'Workaholics," takes on the role of Mercedes, Maya's roommate. 'Mercedes is a total snot," says Jillian Bell. 'She does not like Schmidt at all and she reminds him of how old he is every time she sees him."
All of that open dislike comes to blows as Mercedes takes on Schmidt in a no-holds-barred (and very uncomfortable) fistfight. 'Jonah Hill is a comic maniac," says Jillian Bell. 'It was such a fun day. We were breaking bottles on each other's heads, rolling around and punching each other."
'We actually met with Jillian Bell for a different role, but loved her so much that we developed this role for her," says Jon Landau. 'She's hilarious – she gave it a spin we never expected, which was perfect for the movie."
Rob Riggle and Dave Franco also joined the cast, reprising their scene-stealing roles as Mr. Walters and Eric, the supplier and dealer who met quite an unfortunate fate in the first film. Now incarcerated for their crimes, Walters and Eric get Schmidt and Jenko pointed in the right direction when they hit a dead end in their new investigation.
One of the hallmarks of 21 Jump Street was the action – all of which was rooted in story, character, and comedy. In planning the sequel, the filmmakers took the same approach, even as they upped the ante.
'It's a joke that sequels have to be bigger and crazier, but then we started filming we realised it's actually true," says Phil Lord. Still, the bigger and crazier action had to rise out of the characters and their relationship. 'We tried to have the moment within that action piece be a great comedic moment. If there is not a joke, it doesn't work in this movie."
Neal H. Moritz, so well-known for his action films, says, that the first film required a delicate balance between the action and the comedy, but this time around – because it's a sequel – they could play around a bit more. 'I don't see this as an action comedy, I see this as a comedy with action," he says. 'But this time around, the characters have already been established, so we can get into the movie a little quicker – we ran with it."
In fact, the movie opens with a chase scene with Schmidt and Jenko atop an eighteen-wheeler (a stunt that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum performed themselves), and Jon Landau says it's a perfect example of the way the filmmakers incorporated comedy into the action. 'Channing Tatum jumps onto the truck, managing to go after the bad guys, while Jonah Hill ends up stuck hanging upside down off the side," she says. 'You've always got to try to tell a story within the action sequence – it's not just about being fast and suspenseful."
Another chase scene is even more ridiculous: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill drive through campus in a football helmet car, chased at breakneck speed by the bad guys in a Hummer.
'The helmet car is funny," says Channing Tatum, 'but it's really Jonah Hill's expressions that make the scene."
Production designer Steve Saklad says that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
were clear in their direction: they wanted a realistic design into which they could drop the madness of Schmidt and Jenko. 'There was a sense that we had to be honest and not an out-and-out comedy film when it came to presenting the college world," says Steve Saklad. 'There was a sense that if these guys are in a real world with recognisable college students around them, the comedy would play much better."
As a result, in creating the college environments, Steve Saklad used sepia-toned images to create a history to the institution – and piled on the gags from there. In naming the on campus buildings, Steve Saklad used names of fonts to create the fictitious Helvetica computer center, Bookman Memorial Library, Garamond Quad, and Clarendon Hall, all based on font names. (Though it should be noted that another building – the Benjamin Hill Center for Film Studies – is the background of a back-and-forth chase that is missing only the familiar strains of 'Yakety Sax.")
In a nod to one of the film's running gags – that sequels have to be bigger and more expensive than the first film – the Jump Street team have big, bold new headquarters. Which means, practically speaking, it's out with Korean Jesus at 21 Jump Street and in with Vietnamese Jesus across the street – a front for their new high-tech and ultramodern headquarters.
For the Jump Street unit headquarters, Steve Saklad and his art department team located a neoclassical church in New Orleans that had been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. After reinforcing and cleaning the building, they transformed it into the Vietnamese church.
In the center of the headquarters is a cube (get it?!) that serves as Captain Dickson's office. 'Surrounding Dickson's office was this shimmery, sexy glass and perforated metal, and a series of cubicles and bulletin boards, and task stations," Steve Saklad explains. 'It was all lit by elegant LED strips that could go any color of the spectrum. Since the rest of the movie is in college frat halls, grubby attics, and back alleys, we wanted the headquarters to have a -Wow factor.'"
The film's biggest set piece is the climax, which takes place in the fictional town of Puerto, Mexico.
The sequence was filmed in Puerto Rico, with the beach party filmed on the sand as hundreds of extras danced to the beats of the world-renowned DJ Diplo.
'We got an installation of a stage and graphics, hundreds of screaming students in states of undress, filling the beach with red cups and other vices, spread out all over the beach. It was quite a sight," says Steve Saklad.
The variety of locations in 22 Jump Street – from a football team to art majors to hundreds of spring breakers in beach party gear – required Leesa Evans and her wardrobe team to design a wide variety of costumes.
"The costumes had to be believable and fun," says Leesa Evans. 'We needed everything under the sun, and had to remain efficient and creative, and still manage to have a good time."
Evans sought to give each member of the principal supporting cast an individual look. Wyatt Russell as Zook took in California surfer casual meets football. Jimmy Tatro as Rooster had a warrior look with his camo pants (and even camo swim trunks).
As Mercedes, Jillian Bell was sweet and preppy in flowered frocks and blouses, and The Yangs, played by identical twins Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas, rocked the trendy pop culture fashion.
The MC State football uniforms were manufactured by Under Armour, based on Evans's designs.
Evans also designed a collection of MC State college sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, caps, and scarves for the students to wear. Evans kept it all real, by taking snapshots on college campuses to see what people were wearing and creating an authentic background for the film.
22 Jump Street
Release Date: June 19th 2014