Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
In case anyone out there was wondering, hanging out with Jonah Hill's family is a total blast. How do we know this, you ask? Well, partly because, duh, it's Jonah Hill. But, also because Amber Stevens, who plays his sort-of girlfriend in 22 Jump Street, told us so when we called her up to chat about the new movie. "The cast was at the MTV Movie Awards, and I mentioned that I really wanted to learn about Passover," Stevens says. "Jonah was like, 'It's tomorrow. You should just come over.' And, he called his mom on the spot to say more people were coming."
As expected, the experience was wholly amazing and laid-back. "It was awesome! I was the most serious about it. I think I was meant to be Jewish," she says with a laugh.
Amber joined Hill and Channing Tatum, among other comedy heavy-hitters in the hilarious (and we truly do mean hilarious) follow-up to the 2012 blockbuster 21 Jump Street. Although the flick is arguably her most high-profile role to date, the 27-year-old is no stranger to the big screen or the college scene — Stevens starred on the sorority life cult classic Greek for four years. She grew up in L.A., and credits her father, Shadoe Stevens, who had a starring role on the '90s series Dave's World, for inspiring her to get into the business. "I grew up watching him do a live show every week, and it was just so much fun."
Her turn in Jump Street is guaranteed to garner her even more fans, but it also brings a lot of pressure. The stakes are high when making a sequel, but the actress insists that this go-round worked extremely well, thanks to a healthy dose of self-deprecation. "The team took everything that worked in the first movie and embellished on it," she explains. "In the first movie they're making fun of making a movie about a TV show, and the second time around they're making fun of the fact that they're doing it again, only with, like, quadruple the budget. I just love how aware it is."
Without giving too much away, Stevens plays Maya, the college love interest of Hill's Schmidt. One of the running jokes is that Maya is, ahem, out of Schmidt's league. Their first encounter involves a slam-poetry performance by Hill, and their next date ends with him initiating an awkward spoon session. But, Stevens insists that's exactly why her character is into him in the first place: "I think she likes him because her first impression was that slam poetry...it's embarrassing, but he's being vulnerable. And, it's funny, and that's what women find sexy...it's all about your character.
That attitude seems to be working for Stevens, as she's currently reveling in her engagement to Walking Dead star Andrew J. West. She's got a busy summer ahead, balancing her personal life with a jam-packed promo schedule with the Jump Street clan, and preparing for the August release of her thriller Jessabelle. After all that, wedding planning seems like a daunting task to add to her to-do list. Luckily, she's gone through Dinner Party 101 with the Hills. Thanks, Jonah.