It’s hard to think of a higher-pressure work environment than Hollywood, where your job isn’t just to show up on set and act, but it’s also to promote whatever TV series or movie you’ve shot after it’s completed, going from red-carpet event to interview to party (and being expected to ooze charm the whole time). Sure, movie stars are compensated better for their time than, say, teachers or nurses, but it’s easy to see how a life of LA obligations could quickly become damaging. That’s exactly what actor Jonah Hill communicated in a recent open letter published in Deadline, saying that he would no longer promote his movies out of concern for his mental health.
“I have come to the understanding that I have spent nearly 20 years experiencing anxiety attacks, which are exacerbated by media appearances and public facing events,” Hill wrote, adding, “I usually cringe at letters or statements like this, but I understand that I am of the privileged few who can afford to take time off. I won’t lose my job while working on my anxiety. With this letter and with ‘Stutz’”—Hill’s forthcoming documentary about mental health—“I’m hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff.”
Hill has been candid about his mental health journey before, taking to Instagram last October to ask people to stop sharing opinions on his recent weight loss (and, indeed, to refrain from commenting on his body in any way, as he wants “to politely let you know it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good”). Hopefully, his pattern of speaking out will help to set a new standard of honesty and accurate self-reflection within the industry.