"The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Moneyball" star Jonah Hill says he will no longer promote his upcoming projects in person to avoid anxiety attacks he often experiences at such events.
Hill, 38, revealed in an open letter Wednesday that he has suffered anxiety attacks for nearly two decades and is stepping back from what appears to be the trigger. But he's not retiring; he just won't be out promoting his second directorial film "Stutz," a documentary about him and his therapist that explores mental health and features candid discussions about mental health and his own experiences.
"The whole purpose of making this film is to give therapy and the tools I've learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film," Hill said in an open letter, first published Wednesday by Deadline. "Through this journey of self-discovery within the film, 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."
The Oscar-nominated actor, who launched to stardom with the raunchy comedies "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" in the aughts, said that he's retreating from public appearances related to his work to protect himself.
And while he is eager for audiences to see "Stutz" debut at a film festival this fall, he won't be there.
"I can't wait to share it with audiences around the world in the hope that it will help those struggling. However, you won't see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself. If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn't be acting true to myself or to the film," he said.
The "Don't Look Up" star acknowledged that he's among "the privileged few who can afford to take time off" and that he won't lose his job "while working on my anxiety." He also thanked his collaborators and business partners for their understanding and support — as well as those reading the letter.
"With this letter and with 'Stutz,' I'm hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff. So they can take steps towards feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their issues more clearly," he said. "I hope the work will speak for itself."
After "Stutz," Hill is slated to appear in the Netflix comedy "You People," which he stars in and co-wrote with first-time director Kenya Barris. He's also credited on the documentary "Albert Brooks: Defending My Life."
Hill is the latest high-profile entertainer taking a beat to focus on mental health. Earlier this week, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" star Tom Holland said he's taking a break from social media because it's "very detrimental" to his mental state. Last month, singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes canceled his world tour to focus on therapy and spend time with family. The mental health conversation has also been a hot topic in sports, with gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka announcing last year that they're prioritizing their well-being over their careers. Earlier this month, tennis icon Serena Williams announced that she would be putting her family ahead of her career.
A representative for Hill did not immediately respond Thursday to the L.A. Times' request for further comment.
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