Jonah Hill, the preeminent Big Mood of 2018, hasn’t released many projects over the past seven months (don’t worry, he still had a great time participating in the second annual Jonah Hill Day). But it’s just a matter of time before the on-again, off-again prestige actor takes off in front of the camera. Hill will be starring alongside his Superbad costar Emma Stone in Maniac, a hotly anticipated Netflix series directed by Cary Fukunaga that will be coming out later this year. However, the real treat from Hill this year might be in the form of his work from behind the camera.
The first trailer for Mid90s, Hill’s directorial debut that doubles as a love letter to Los Angeles skateboarding culture set in—you guessed it—the ’90s, dropped Tuesday, and it has all the trappings of another A24 indie Oscars contender.
For starters, there’s Lucas Hedges—from Manchester by the Sea to Lady Bird, he’s becoming the human embodiment of Oscars bait—subverting his typically wholesome image as the douchey older brother of an aspiring skater. In this movie, apparently he can wear only tight-fitted tank tops and punch things. His younger brother and the star of the film is played by Sunny Suljic, whom you probably know as Colin Farrell’s really unfortunate kid from The Killing of a Sacred Deer. There’s even a sampling of Kanye West’s “New Slaves,” and if the buzzy reception to The Wolf of Wall Street trailer taught us anything, it’s that Yeezus-era Kanye is still ripe for prestige-inclined cinema.
Hill said in 2016 that while making a coming-of-age drama is a cliché in and of itself, he’s hoping to give fans a skateboarding movie that avoids the “’80s cowabunga kind of trope,” and instead takes cues from the films that inspired him to tackle the subgenre, like This Is England and Kids. First appearances can be misleading; trailers aren’t always sincere reflections of the art itself. But Hill is clearly mining from a very personal place, and if nothing else, Mid90s looks like an aesthetically pleasing piece of childhood nostalgia for his generation.
And who knows? While Hill has bounced between some really fun, absurdist comedies, he’s also a two-time Oscar nominee. Perhaps his first grasp of Oscars gold will come from the director’s chair. It certainly wouldn’t be the wildest thing we’ve seen from Jonah Hill. Mid90s hits theaters October 19.