Jake Johnson’s new comedy, ‘Self Reliance,’ hilariously explores how getting ahead can be murder


The new Jake Johnson movie Self Reliance is a trip. It premieres on Hulu Friday and starts with Jake’s character, Tommy, being propositioned by Andy Samberg — playing himself — to get into a limo. Things get wildly weird from there.

Johnson, who wrote and directed the movie, tells ABC Audio the movie is about “a guy [who] gets an opportunity to play a dark web hunting game where he’s being hunted for his life in 30 days. If he wins, he gets $1 million.”

However, Tommy finds a loophole — he can’t be killed if he’s with people.

The movie is based on the popular yet bizarre Japanese game show Susunu! Denpa Shōnen, about a guy forced to live by himself to see what he could endure. It’s a premise Johnson found “really fun and comedic.”

“I wanted the audience to want to get to the ending enough so that they wouldn’t be checking Instagram during the movie,” he explains. “And I wanted to mess with tone and have a score that kept driving, and I want it to be building and building and building. And then I wanted a surprise and a surprise and surprise.”

It also gave Johnson a chance to explore some social issues — specifically, “That idea of how far are we going to push with entertainment. … And then when, like, Survivor came around and you’re watching people starve. You know, Billie Eilish has the great line about like, I like watching Survivor to see people suffer.”

“I’m like, man, culture is changing,” he adds. “And my kind of take on it is, like, what’s a fun version of that?”

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