After years of working in critically beloved feature films, Jonah Hill is returning to TV with Netflix’s new dark comedy, Maniac, about an experimental drug trial gone somewhat awry. As one of the titular "maniacs," fans are wondering, who does Jonah Hill play on Maniac? Alongside his Superbad co-star Emma Stone, Hill's character will experience some major psychological trips.
In Maniac, Hill plays Owen Milgrim, the son of a wealthy New York family who has struggled under a (disputed) schizophrenia diagnosis his whole life. Along with Stone’s character Annie Landsberg, Owen becomes the subject of an experimental drug trial where the two wind up in a laboratory supervised by Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux). Mantleray invented the drug therapy and promises to "cure" the pair's brains. The drug trials send Annie and Owen down a psychological rabbit hole where they must confront their issues head on (sometimes while dressed like '40s gangsters).
Fans of Superbad have been waiting to see Hill and Stone reunite on screen for a long time now, but this cast reunion in Maniac is no coincidence. In an interview with Digital Spy, the Maniac director Cary Fukunaga explained that Stone was the one to recommend Hill play her counterpart in the series.
"Emma was the first person I spoke to about the show, and then that very same night, we ended up speaking to Jonah. Because I was friendly with Jonah, and Emma mentioned that they had always wanted to reunite since Superbad,” he told the outlet. “So we called up Jonah, pitched him a story... [we said] that we had no idea what we were doing, but that we would all work together, and it'd be [about] delusions, and it'd be a lot of fun. He said yes, and that was it.”
In Maniac, Hill’s character will enter into various manifested scenarios as a result of his delusions, and will take on different characters throughout the series. According to Vulture, the Annie and Owen’s reactions to the drugs send them into altered states of reality, but due to a glitch in the system, somehow they end up being connected. In one reality, Hill is playing an Austrian government official, and in another Stone and Hill are a married Long Island couple who end up stealing a lemur named Wendy and go on the run.
In the trailer for the series, you can see some of the different realities Stone and Hill inhabit. In one scene, Hill sports pigtails and dirty teeth and in another he is rocking a mullet in a sports jersey. You can also see Stone in a Lord of the Rings-ish get-up.
As a fan of Superbad, I have to say that I’m really excited to see Hill and Stone back together on screen. But aside from the nostalgic reunion, I’m really interested in seeing how these two dynamic actors portray their complex characters, especially given their fantastic on-screen chemistry.
Maniac premieres on Friday, Sept. 21 on Netflix.