Jonah Hill is getting back in the director’s chair for his second feature, a documentary coming soon to Netflix. Hill is no stranger to helming projects of all sizes. The actor/writer/director made his feature directorial debut with 2018’s Mid90s, which he also wrote, and has also directed music videos. Since Mid90s, Hill has been more selective about where he pops up in front of the camera, with a one-episode guest role on Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 and a brief appearance in Harmony Korine‘s The Beach Bum among his most recent credits.
Hill announced his next project on Instagram earlier this week. The director shared behind-the-scenes set photos featuring the subject of his untitled doc, Dr. Phil Stutz. Stutz previously worked as a prison psychiatrist on Rikers Island before moving into private practice in the early ’80s (via goop). Stutz is also best known for The Tools, which he co-authored with psychotherapist Barry Michels.
In addition to the photos, Hill included a lengthy caption detailing the new project and revealing his Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot co-star Joaquin Phoenix would serve as a co-producer. Hill writes,
We started production yesterday on my second directorial feature for @netflix . It is a documentary on my brilliant therapist, Dr. Phil Stutz, and therapy in general. The idea is to make a film that frames therapy and Phil’s tools for dealing with life in a way that isn’t corny or cheesy. Everything I saw growing up about therapy I rolled my eyes at. Thank you @netflix, our crew, Joaquin Phoenix and the rest of our producers, and most of all Phil for providing an opportunity to make a dope film that democratizes therapy for private use on Netflix. If you can’t afford therapy or there is stigma in your family and life, the idea is that you can privately use these tools on based on the feelings you are having (depression, anxiety, regret etc), and use them in the privacy of your own home on Netflix. Sending you all lots of love. We all need it.
While it’s certainly attention-grabbing to see Hill choose a documentary as the genre of his next project as director, his comment that the big idea behind this documentary is that “you can privately use these tools on based on the feelings you are having” is just as attention-grabbing. There’s no explanation on how that noble goal will be fulfilled by the documentary, but it seems Hill may be pushing himself as well the conventions of the documentary format to help achieve it. This is new territory for Hill, so it will be a welcome change to see how the multi-hyphenate star pushes himself creatively as he continues to tackle deeply personal material.
We’ll keep you posted as Hill’s Netflix documentary progresses.