tonight on "nightline" -- murder most rare. a successful executive and mother from one of america's safest and toniest neighborhoods found strangled in the back of her mercedes. we'll tell you who police named as a shocking person of interest. the nominee is. from the chubby awkwardness "superbad." >> i wallace the guy -- >> to his role opposite brad pitt in "moneyball." this actor has taken a dramatic turn. the academy has noticed. tonight, jonas hill on transforming his body and his body of work. it's less than a week till the super bowl. the biggest brands are leaking commercials feetering the likes of david beckham and matthew broderick. tonight, we preview the best and the buzziest. >> no pens yip for you.
no wednesdayy for you. good evening. we begin tonight with the worst kind of crime in the best kind of neighborhood. a place where pedestrians wave and kids ride bikes and residents take comfort in the almost complete lack of violent crime statistics. all it took was one murder to up-end this community. to eject fear and suspicion and spark a debate on whether the threat came from outside or within. here's abc's dan harris. >> reporter: it is an unlikely place for a murder. >> a tow truck driver made a grim discovery. >> reporter: gross pointe michigan. where the auto barons built their stately mansion. >> last seen at 4:00 p.m. -- >> reporter: this is one of the
wealthiest and safest communities in america. >> what happened to jane and who may have killed her? >> reporter: a place where there hasn't been a homicide since 1992. >> detroit investigators say they do not believe this was a random act. >> reporter: an unlikely venue for violence and an unlikely victim. jane bashira, mother of two, successful executive, active community volunteer. >> i was being shoulded and devastated. >> she was a mentor and friend and leader. just a tremendous loss. >> reporter: this community has watched in horror not only as details of her death have spilled out but also as her husband, bob bashira, known as big bob, a former rotary club president, has gone from an object of sympathy -- >> i love you. >> reporter: to one of suspicion. >> he is a person of interest with our investigation. >> reporter: this mystery began late last tuesday afternoon when jane told her husband she was
going home from work. >> i got home at about five after 8:00 and she wasn't around. i, you know, relaxed and figured she was running an aerrand. i became much more concerned. i was calling her cell phone. as time got on, i involved the police. >> reporter: the next morning she was found dead. strangled in her mercedes suv. abandoned in an alley in a poor neighborhood of detroit eight miles and a world away from the couple's elegant suburban side street. tonight, we're learning that when she was found, she was wearing a green blouse and blac slippers were on the floor of the vehicle. her body was apparently lodged between the front and back seats. she had several broken nails. and there was a prescription bottle, police say, on the passenger side seat. the night his wife's body was found, bob bashara received hugs
of condolence at a candlelight vigil. >> god bless you all. >> it's just unthinkable what happened to her and she had to suffer. i am so upset about it. >> reporter: the next day, he was called in for questioning by police. >> i'm doing what i need to do to cooperate with the authorities to find who did this to my wife. >> reporter: a day after that, more questioning and a search of the family home with cadaver dogs. police took away computers. they also administered a polygraph on bashara which according to our local abc affiliate wxyz, he failed, although his family members say they still do not believe he did it. however, it was after that failed polygraph that police started to describe bashara as their only person of interest in this case. >> person of interest tends to be a euphemism. it means he's a suspect. and since there's only one person of interest, that means there's only one suspect. and that's him. >> reporter: the questions starting to mount publicly.
both from jane's family members, who say they suspect bob is hide something, and also from the police who tonight confirm that bob's version of events does not add up. he has insisted he never saw his wife the night she died but the evidence apparently showed otherwise. if this was really a robbery or a car jacking, police are reportedly asking why would the killer or killers have left jane bashara's body here in this alley without taking her credit cards or her suv, which would be worth potentially tens of thousands of dollars. >> when you've got valuables left in the car, you've got a body that may have been moved into the back seat, and you've got a cause of death that appears to be strangulation, those are facts that tend to be inconsistent with a stranger car jacking for example. >> reporter: as the heat ratcheted up, bob stopped talking to reporters. but his family, including his sister, started to push back
aggressively in his defense. >> everybody knows my brother and knows he's incapable of this act, and we're totally supporting him, family, community, friends. >> it simply doesn't make any sense. >> reporter: neighbor patrick jones tells abc news there were no obvious problems in the bashara's marriage. >> what makes the least amount of sense is what motive bob would have to be involved in something like this. >> reporter: the big fear now is this might, in fact, be random. >> everyone's eager to figure out what happened and hopefully buy the perpetrators to justice. >> reporter: late today, hundreds of people poured into a funeral home for visiting hours. and tomorrow jane bashar's funeral will be held. even as her violent death remain, a mystery and her husband shrouded in suspicion. for "nightline" this is dan harris in gross pointe, michigan. >> dan harris, our thanks to him. just ahead, he's up for an oscar for a star turn along side brad pitt in moneyball."
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who among us first saw "fast times at ridgemont high" in '82 and thought, you know, that stoner kid, that sean penn, he's going to win a few academy awards. this is why no one is allowed to then scoff at the world's oscar-nominee jonah hill. he too may have started his career in the horny teen genre but a serious turn in "money ball" has hollywood raving. he tells me tonight, oh, he's just warming up. >> i grew up down the street so my folks literally lived down the street. >> reporter: when getting acquainted, it's always helpful to go back to the old neighborhood. >> i feel the most at home at this place. >> reporter: for jonah hill, that neighborhood just happens to include a hollywood movie studio. >> that's where our apartment
stage was in "knocked up," like that stage is where sleeping bag scene in "superbad" was filmed. >> i just love you. i love my best friend. >> reporter: thanks to his youthful work in this neighborhood, a lot of people think they already know jonah hill. lovable slacker. one of those guys who wise cracked a way into a fabulous life with fabulous friends. >> brad pitt gave me this watch as a token of his affection. as a joke what we called the movie on the inside is says -- >> reporter: "moneyballs." that's very nice. nothing like a little testicular human from brad pitt. but here's a twist. jonah hill is enjoying a slew of nominations for a drama. >> i'm peter grand. >> first job in baseball? >> it's my first job anywhere. >> reporter: "moneyball" was just the second serious role of his life. proof that funny is just part of the package. >> i'm almost 30 years old.
i'm not a foul-mouthed 17-year-old kid who's trying to get laid or whatever, you know. i'm an adult man who take, his work really seriously. >> reporter: right. >> and, you know, i'm an actor. i'm not a comedian. i never was a comedian. >> reporter: what kind of kid were you? >> i was a entertaining kid i would say. maybe some would say annoying. i think that's why i'm an actor. >> reporter: high school plays kind of thing? >> no. >> reporter: no? >> i didn't know i wanted to be an actor till i was 18. >> reporter: yep, decided to act at 18. oscar nominated at 28. how does that happen? well, it starts with a healthy dose of confidence. did you ever doubt yourself? >> no. i never doubt myself. i don't do thingings if i doubt. >> reporter: combine that with obsessive focus and the lucky breaks become life changerings. like his friendship with dustin hoffman's kids which helped him land his first role in "i heart huckab huckabees." >> he was so skinny when he
moved in here. >> reporter: and the time he randomly met seth rogen at the movies. never imagining their friendship would lead to "super bad." >> i think maybe -- what the [ bleep ]? >> help me. >> reporter: "knocked up." >> you're embarrassing me and company. >> you embarrass yourself! >> reporter: "forgetting sarah marshall." "get him to the greek." >> sorry, excuse me. >> reporter: and his career had the makings of a would-be belushi. just as he became the darling of comedy, jonah hill started saying no to comedies. >> the times when you said no and it turned out to be an awful film are more gratifying than when you say no and it turned out to be an amazing film. does that make sense? >> reporter: of course. >> so -- >> reporter: whew, dodged that one. >> exactly. >> reporter: "cyrus" gave him his first crack at drama. help was so convinced it would lead to meatier roles, he staged an elaborate screening just so he could invite the director of
"moneyball." >> i had this big fake "truman" show. had people come. and then the next day i got the part. >> reporter: he applied that same determined focus to the role of peter brand. a statistics nerd out of yale. hired to help brad pitt's character defy baseball convention and turn the lowly oakland a's into winners. >> excuse me, carlos. >> yeah. >> can i speak with you? >> that to me is the favorite scene i ever shot in a movie. >> carlos, you've been traded to the tigers. >> and it's also the most difficult scene i've ever shot as an actor. because it's rare that a character gets to grow up and in a 30-second period of time he has to see all the repercussions of responsibility by telling this man that his whole life is negatively affected based on my ideas. >> reporter: there's so many metaphors going on with you in this role, in your career. people who are pigeon holeded for one thing. striving to break out in another. i'm curious about your physical transformation, because you
dropped a lot of weight. >> i tried, yeah, yeah. >> reporter: and was that part of this career deliberate decision? >> i just had a moment in my life where i said i want to become a man. and that means with my career. that means with my life. that means with my health. >> reporter: now, would you put on 100 pounds for a role? >> yeah. >> reporter: if it was important to you? >> yeah, i would do anything for a part that i felt could be great. gaining 50 pounds would probably be more fun than losing 50 pounds for a part. >> reporter: you will next see the slimmer jonah in "21 jumpstreet." the old johnny depp cops in high school drama that jonah rewrote as a comedy. >> i'm not going to be nominated for it but it is a crowd pleaser, yeah. >> jonah hill. >> reporter: then he says he's anxious to get his teeth into the kinds of parts reserved for oscar nominees. you know, the serious stuff. >> that's what's kind of amazing about our business, as much as our business is crazy, but one audition, one five-minute
performance, one moment, could change the course of your entire life. >> likable cattle, that jonah hill. thanks for his time. coming up next, dogs that bark. the music from "star wars." we've got a sneak peek at the best of this year's super bowl commercials. how's it going? good afternoon. don't feed that meter. this meter's on me. with all the hundreds i've saved at progressive, this meter's on me. thank you. de nada. with all the hundreds i've saved on car insurance this year, this meter's on me. there's a catch? there's no catch. nothing but savings. thank you very much. have a great day. you, too. you're sexy. [ laughs ] are choosing advil. i'm keith baraka and i'm a firefighter. and it's very physically demanding. if i'm sore i'm not at my best. advil is my go-to. it's my number one pain reliever. [ male announcer ] make the switch. take action. take advil.
it used to be that the super bowl had a little something for everyone, right? football for the football fans. commercials that cost $100,000 a second for everyone else. this year, if you haven't seen all the best ads before the game, you're not paying attention. to explain why and free up some bathroom breaks for you on sunday, here's abc's david wright with tonight's "sign of the times." >> reporter: it all started with a little boy and his darth vader costume. the blockbuster ad of the super bowl. in part because the folks at volkswagen and their ad agency used the force of the internet, releasing their big ad online before the game. >> you get people excited about watching the ad. they'll watch the ad. and then post it, tweet about it.more marketers are trying to horness. >> reporter: this year, not only is vw reprising its "star wars
theme," this time with dogs, 10 million couhits and counting. every other car company you can name is also following vw's strategy. releasing their ads early too. most of them just like volkswagen playing on movies. >> i guess i'll be okay. >> reporter: honda brings back ferris bueller. >> you're not shooting today. >> reporter: taking another day off. >> he bought it! >> reporter: only this time he's joy riding not in cameron's dad's ferrari but, rather -- >> can i get my crv brought up, please? >> broderick, broderick. >> reporter: much cooler when it was a ferrari. >> that's correct, yes. >> reporter: the crv, i don't know. >> not the same thing. >> reporter: audi goes with a "twilight" saga theme. what's killing all those vampires? powerful headlights on that a i audi, that's what. ♪ up against the wheel
the most original super bowl car ad this year may be suzuki. it features an eskimo upgrading his dog sled and giving his huskies a break. super bowl ads don't necessarily have to be original. this model was such a hit in the 2008 victoria's secret commercial, this year she's back, with flowers and cars for kia. sex always sells. >> she stands out like a hot new dot-co. and for the ladies, as well as the not so straight men, there's this bit of candy. david beckham body wear. the shorts. not the tat. to what extent are they trying to sell shoes and soft drinks and cars and to what extent are they going for the cleo award?
>> most of the best ads in the year are seen during the super bowl. they have celebrities. they have stunts and special effect, you wouldn't normally see. does it translate into revenue? it's a hard way to make that link. >> reporter: pepsi put out an electronic press kit of their elton john ad. >> no pepsi for you. >> reporter: including behind the scenes footage. yeah, will there be any surprises on super bowl sunday? >> i think there still will be. some companies go old school and stay mum till the day of. >> reporter: these days, that's the exception? >> that's the exception. >> reporter: this year the rule seems to be get it out early. j generate some buzz. by super bowl sunday the only new thing may be the game. and maybe the halftime show. >> do you have anything better to do? go on, get going. >> reporter: i'm david wright for "nightline" in new york. thank you for watching abc news. do hope you check in on "good morning america." they're working all night. jimmy kimmel's coming up next. we'll meet you b